As a parent, I received Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as a free gift with a purchase from a now defunct online company. I took the book out from the box and looked it over, reading the blurb and wondering if I should read it. My oldest was only four and still content with characters named Sam I Am, Max, and George. All it took was my perusal of the opening chapter and I kept on reading, only stopping because I had to. Thank you, Ms Rowling for giving me back my love of children's stories. I loved the book and was delighted a family member gave my daughter the book on tape for her birthday the following year. Yes, you read correctly. On tape. I believe the box held six or seven cassette tapes. While I made dinner, she would listen to the story. We both adored Jim Dale's lively narration. Is there any character he cannot bring to life? After that, she was hooked.
After the first movie came out, her room reflected her love for all things Harry. A border stretched across her walls, toys and figurines were proudly displayed on shelves, a Gryffindor banner hung above her bed sporting a comforter with a wand-waving Harry, while a movie poster adorned her door and a clock with a flying Harry told her the time. There was more than one book now kept on the top of her bookcase--placed in high esteem where only 'truly adored' items were allowed. At Halloween, she traipsed around the neighborhood as though ready for the Sorting Hat herself, complete with broomstick and wand.
When the books exploded in popularity here in the States, each publication date was treated with the same importance as any important event in our lives would. We planned what bookstore to go to and what to wear. The costume came out, now there were more accouterments added on, and a better broomstick--why, it was a Nimbus 2000--to carry. Over time, the costume itself was replaced with one of a larger size. By then there was one more person at these events with us--her younger sister. Even though she didn't understand at her younger age why her sister HAD to go to Barnes & Noble at midnight to pick up some book, she went too. Watching her face as she entered a bookstore full of Harry Potter fans all dressed like big sis, was a magical moment all by itself. Each yearly event the books grew in size, the crowds overflowed the establishments they were held in, but one fact remained constant: those books were like gold, held securely in our hands until the last page was read.
I won't bore you with all of our Potter moments--there are too many--and I know Meg won't be crazy about sharing this on our blog (but she was the one who wanted to celebrate her Sweet 16 at Universal Studios islands of Adventure, sipping a butterbeer in The Three Broomsticks restaurant.) What I want is to thank Ms. Rowling for helping to instill in my kids a profound sense of reading, a quiet respect for the written word, and of never forgetting the power of our imaginations. She has given families countless hours of cherished memories, hours spent with a growing bespectacled boy named Harry, a wizard attending the most spectacular school ever at Hogwarts, and with whom, along with his various friends, have taken so many of us along on their magical journeys both in print and at the movies. It has never felt better to be a Muggle.
So I will keep these ticket stubs, scan them and include them in a special scrapbook I've decided to create for my kids who have grown up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. They are a cast of characters we will certainly never forget. With the advent of Pottermore--and the hope of millions that the author will continue on with something Potter oriented--we still have the books to crack open or a dvd to watch when the need arises. When we need a boy named Harry Potter.
How about you? Have you said goodbye to Harry too? Want to share your thoughts and memories with us? Please do!