When I was a young girl, just turned 7, my Mama gave each off my four sisters, two brothers and me, a copy of her very most favourite book in the whole wide world – Mr J.M. Barrie’s wonderful tale of Peter Pan. She’d reckoned there was something special about a Mama giving her children a little piece of her heart in the form of classical literature. Sort of like Mrs March had given Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg The Pilgrim’s Progress in Miss Louisa May Alcott’s famous Little Women, only the lands into which we all entered upon turning the front cover of Peter Pan, were far more magical and colourful than the lands in The Pilgrim’s Progress. Least so I suspected, because although I never read that masterpiece, I knew all about the hard knock lives pilgrims had once led, and didn’t think much of them.My older sister Georgia had helped me read Peter Pan the first few times I’d wanted to ‘read’ it. I’d a sat cross-legged and curious, while she’d read out loud the hard words I hadn’t known how to pronounce or understand. Mama never had used to have much time for reading, but she’d said she remembered the story of Peter Pan real well – almost as well as if she’d a written the book herself! She’d said she’d read it at least a million times by the time she’d turned fifteen and had become more interested in ‘other things’ to care about Peter, Wendy and The Lost Boys any longer. I hadn’t known what those ‘other things’ had meant til I’d turned ten and had overheard my other older sister Elisa making out with Bobby Fulton, her copy of Peter Pan stuffed so deep in her school-bag, it wouldn’t re-appear till Bobby Fulton had disappeared three months later. But only for a short while, because after Bobby Fulton had come Ian Horace and Kevin Jenkins and Michael Noels, and well I can’t remember no more names because there were so many, but by then Elisa always had a bunch of ‘other things’ on her mind.Georgia and I hadn't understood how Elisa could've betrayed Peter Pan like that, for in all fact, it'd really been a most awful betrayal! – we'd been so shocked about our older sister's preference of Ian Horace's mouthful of horrible metal braces over Peter's little 'gnashing pearls', we'd refused to talk to her for a whole week. Our younger brothers hadn't seemed to appreciate Mr J.M. Barrie's marvellous book very much either.
They preferred to play their best game of make-believe instead, the game of 'Pirates, Cowboys and Red-Indians'.“Boys don't read!” Aaron had wrinkled his nose at me, while Nick had pulled a most digusted face from under his beloved cowboy hat. He’d got his cowboy hat on his birthday 7 months earlier, and hadn’t taken it off since. It was beginning to fray at the edges, and smell too, awful bad, but if anyone ever tried to tell him so, he'd use his horse Chestnut - Mama's best broomstick - on us.“Yeah, readings for sissy girlies...like you Georgie-Porgie- ““ - and you April. Pooh, reading's crummy! I wanna go be a pirate, I don't wanna read about one!”
“And a cowboy, yeeehaaa! Giddy, giddy-up boy, I wanna gallop, I don’t wanna sit and read cause -!”“That's boooo-ring -”“Yeah, cause that's boring with a capital B-O-R-R-I-N-G! Now go away or, or, or you're gonna get it with my tomahawk!”
“And I’m shoot you’s, bang-bang!”
Nick and Aaron had given Georgia and me earfuls. Without a smidgen of thought and scholarly knowledge, because if they'd a had any, they'd have known reading warn't just for sissy girlies, and you spelt the word 'boring' with one 'r' not two.