I have seen the movie A League of Their Own at least fifty times. On Sunday nights during my growing-up years, my dad would make a homemade pizza, and our traditionally around-the-table daily family meal would migrate into the living room for Movie Night. Sometimes we would rent the latest blockbuster, sometimes we would finally give in to my mom's requests for a "classic", but more often than not, we would turn to a beloved favorite. As a result, there are a handful of movies that I can recite from memory. A League Their Own, Top Gun, When Harry Met Sally: these were the soundtrack of my childhood Sunday nights.
On the other hand, I rarely reread books. It is significant, then, that from the ages of 8-16, no matter what else was stacked on my nightstand,The Secret Gardenwould be somewhere near the top. To this day, I can close my eyes and picture Mary Lennox creaking open the garden door into a newfound world. It is the story of one girl's transformation from an unpleasant, ugly creature into a girl filled with joy and life. It is a testament to the restorative power of nature, something I have experienced in my own life. It is a tale of friendship, and of the joy of creating something with your own two hands that wasn't there before. I couldn't find a copy of the book around the house as I was writing this, so I googled some quotations from the book, and each one was both familiar and newly revelatory. Twenty years after I first encountered this gem of a book, I can still smell the flowers, and the pages, of The Secret Garden.
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