Big Bad Brown Book

by | Mar 31, 2024 | English, Non Fiction, Stories

My mom’s cousin gave me this book when I was 7. I loved reading it as a child because it had so many pictures on every page and was easy to read. One day, I took it to school, and I wanted the teacher to read a story or two in class. I remembered the teacher looking funny at me. She said she’d read a story if there was time. Surprise, surprise, there wasn’t enough time. I was disappointed.

Nobody told me that it was “prohibited” to take that book to school

When I got home to my grandmother, I told her I had taken the book to school. I remember her getting upset at me as if I just read the Book of the Dead, which brings back Imhotep (and Anck-Su-Namun?). Yes, I had to Google her name. Now, keep in mind that I was attending a catholic school back then. It also felt as if she was embarrassed. I didn’t understand. I did a good thing, right? I brought a book with tales of the Bible in it (I mean, I had just reached Piaget’s concrete operational stage, so I didn’t question why baby Jesus wasn’t mentioned that much in the book or at all).

I started to ask her why I couldn’t take the book anymore to school. She explained to me (well, at least try to) that the book is based on a different religion and beliefs. She mentioned Jehova, but I didn’t know what, or who that was. I was still confused, especially since the book had stories similar to the ones we read at school or heard in church. She made me promise not to take it to school anymore.

Just a girl who liked Bible stories

I have returned to this book occasionally during my teenage years, although I felt different reading it after my grandmother’s speech. After her scolding, I always felt like I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to, like a sin. You can say that this book is responsible for some of the “Bible” knowledge I had while growing up—the knowledge that my tutors praised while taking confirmation classes.

Now, 20 years later, my thoughts have returned to this book. I can’t remember why now; I have such horrible short-term memory. Well, who knows? Maybe it’s because Easter is coming up, or perhaps it was the Easter mass they were broadcasting on the radio. My parents were listening to it while my mom was decorating for her birthday tomorrow.

Like dust in the wind?

It was on the shelf with many of my childhood books. In it, there were four A4-sized notes folded in 4. At first glance, I thought they were my sisters. We had the same writing when I was a teen, but not anymore. It confused me for a second; I had such pretty handwriting. I also saw the name of my former high school. It was a checklist of everything I should know about ‘De Mens’ for Centraal Proefwerk 2. And then, of course, I saw the date on another note, 19 May 2006. The note was about puberty and being in love. Ironically, I was crazy in love at that time.

Now, why those notes were in my bible storybook, I don’t know. It seems like school was under control since the list was mostly checked out (with hearts for some reason), but I was a goodie two shoes then, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I were to ask God for some extra help.

Just human

Anyway, hope you enjoyed my little anecdote. And now my mom is scared that I’m becoming a Jehova witness. If you were wondering, I don’t consider myself to be Catholic anymore (it’s a good thing my grandmother won’t read this unless she somehow manages to log in to a device, which I don’t think will happen, not even with the help of Jesus Christ (not mocking).

Now, I believe in being a good person, or at least trying to. Everybody makes mistakes, but at some point, we have to learn to be accountable, like any responsible person. I happen to like Bible stories, not all of them of course, because who are we kidding there are some problematic ones between the few good ones.

Happy Easter, peeps!


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