I was reading Dailyangst’s blog on Reasons to Love New York when a few New York-based memories started flowing.
When I was a boy living on Long Island in the early 70’s, I used to go to my Mother’s work every weekday after school. Nothing is more boring for a 5-6 year old than sitting in a small dentists office with the radio playing the a-DULLt sounds of the 40’s & 50’s (non-rock and roll).
The three or four hours sitting there every day were boring. My two friends in the office were 1) the huge grey adding machine for which you had to pull the lever with a significant force to record an arithmetic function and 2) a Sesame Street book, “The Monster at the End of this Book”, starring lovable, furry old Grover.
Warning – The Rest of This Blog Post Contains Spoilers – Read on at your own risk
I don’t remember the experience of any other books from my childhood with the level of detail associated with this one.
The book was based on Gover’s fear that there was a monster on the last page of the book and Grover did everything he could to stop the reader from turning the pages. He started with rationale arguments about why the reader should not turn the page. Then he used ropes and ultimately brick walls to bind the pages together, yet still the powerful reader was able to turn the page. Every attempt Grover made to stop me from turning the pages failed and left me giggling.
I remember reading that book over and over again, sometimes, back to front, sometimes skipping every second or third page.
As it turns out, there was no monster at the end of the book, only Grover. I remember wondering why Gover, a monster himself would be afraid of the monster at the end of the book. Maybe he was scared of a different kind of monster, a big scary one. Ultimately, the decades has shown that it was not a big scary monster that undid Grover, but that little red whippersnapper, Elmo.
What was your favorite book growing up?