When I was fifteen years old, I had a mad crush on a twenty year old young man who was a junior in college. I was only in tenth grade, but I completely believed I was a full adult, capable of making all my own choices in life. This was not a pleasant time in my dad's life. And that is an understatement. This young man, whose name was Ricky Martinez, was a summer coach at a nearby playground. He was of Spanish descent and I thought he was the most unique and brilliant individual I had ever met. Every day during the summer, I would walk over to this playground to be with Ricky. One day he told me he was coming over to my house on his day off and when the day came, I sat on the front porch, waiting. Eventually, he pulled up and got out of his car. I jumped up and walked toward him. But before I could even say hello, my father raced out of our front door, went right past me and up to Ricky.
"She is only fifteen years old!" he angrily said. "And if I were you, I would leave right now and never even think of coming back here."
"Yessir." was all he said before he turned and skedaddled out of my life.
You can just imagine the furor this caused in our house. It took me weeks to get over this. My dad could have cared less how much I wailed and carried on. He wanted this guy out of my life and out of my heart and he didn't care how much I hated him for it.
But this entry is not about Ricky Martinez. It is about a book. Ricky loved to read and so did I, so part of the draw to him was that he would introduce me to books that I had never heard of before. One of these books was called 'Soul on Ice" by Eldridge Cleaver. I had never heard of Eldridge Cleaver but Ricky considered this an important book that I needed to read. So, on a trip to the mall with my dad, we went to the bookstore and I picked it up. My dad walked over to the register where I stood, waiting to make this purchase.
"What are you buying?" he asked as he took the book from my hand. I watched my father's face turn absolutely purple. He tossed the book on the counter and sort of gave me a little push toward the door.
"You are not reading this book."
My father was not one to censor my reading, as a rule. As I mentioned in my online book club, the only other book he had ever forbidden me to read was 'Peyton Place.' But that was NOTHING compared to his complete disdain for 'Soul on Ice.' I cannot tell you how many times I tried to get my hands on this book but my father, in his determination that I not read it, squelched each and every attempt I made. And do you know what? My father made such an impression on me that, to this day, I have not read it. Not only that, but I get this slightly nauseated feeling whenever I happen upon it in a bookstore.
Fast forward to the present; I sat on the front porch this morning, and as I drank a cup of coffee, I thought of this book. And I thought to myself, why have I not read it yet? I decided I would purchase it today and see for myself why my dad hated it as much as he did. I don't really know what it's all about but I have an idea what it might be about. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my dad's disdain for it would probably say more to me than Eldridge Cleaver ever could. And it became clear to me that I will never read it. Never. I think it might say too much to me about my father.
Week Three Summary
3 years ago