The Long White Month

by Pamela Palmer

#80, 23 October 2006

A Personal Retrospective

With the first reading, The Long White Month became my future. Every week my mother took me to the Amory Public Library, housed in two small rooms of City Hall. Soon after graduating from picture books, I ran across the sole Dean Marshall book in the place and checked it out. And kept checking it out.

Eventually Mother noticed it came home with me at least once a month and wrote a bookstore in Birmingham, asking about availability. Though I saw the package delivered and missed out on a birthday surprise, I never minded. I had my book.

Priscilla had long blonde braids; I wore them too.

Mother approved of old-fashioned dresses to fit my name and made sure I behaved properly down to the last detail. Yes, I was Priscilla, but it didn't stop there. When cousin Susan Newell took Priscilla to her cabin in the woods for a month, I was entranced. Not only did Priscilla get two snowsuits that weren't at all old fashioned, but also her cousin was a writer! That's when I saw my future. The cabin was negotiable; writing was necessary.

Even now, half a century since The Long White Month became mine, I read it at Christmas and feel the thrill of knowing what I want all over again. I smile at the few spots and never wish it pristine. Of all the books read and treasured, this one is me, down to the last splash of hot chocolate on the page.

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