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Long Lost Treasure ...
on December 4, 2012
I'm finding that having kids of my own often satisfies a nostalgic yearning for my own childhood. As a Generation X'er, born in the late 60's, I had the luxury of experiencing my elementary school years in the glorious, care-free, child-friendly 70's. In lieu of video games, electronic gadgetry and cable/satellite, we had Wacky Packages, Sears Christmas Wish Books, Koogle Peanut Butter Spread and a choice of three television channels to choose from (actually, five ... if you could adjust the ears for a UHF channel or two). We also had those wonderful Scholastic Book Fairs back then that offered awesome books like STRANGELY ENOUGH.
While appearing somewhat dated (originally published in 1940), STRANGELY ENOUGH reads as good now as it did so many years ago. The book is comprised of a multitude of chapters that each represent a short tale. What makes the book so great is that the stories only average about two-and-a-half pages each ... meaning there are a lot of stories. The sheer number of stories allows a broad range of topics to be covered: chilling tales ("The Whistle" has remained vivid in my memory for almost 40 years), UFOs ("The Cigar in the Sky"), history ("The Disappearing Army") and a myriad of other provocative subjects. The stories are short enough to maintain interest and detailed enough to be thought-provoking ... perfect for kids (and adults). I remember teachers reading some of the stories to us after lunch and the entire class would sit spellbound as we listened to every detail. Those simple readings prompted most of us to urge our parents into buying a copy of STRANGELY ENOUGH (in addition to another book: "Strange but True").
While the stories remained with me for decades, the name of the book that housed them eluded me until recently. Now, I am sharing the same creepy, adventurous and thought-provoking stories to my children and notice the book's spell-binding quality hasn't dissipated after so many years. My re-discovery of STRANGELY ENOUGH is like finding some lost treasure from my childhood. Now ... if I could only stumble upon a copy of an old Dynamite magazine ...