Forgotten literary favorites of my youth

A routine flipping through the channels on a windy Friday night yielded some surprising results. And a trip down memory lane.

Passing the regular channels, I skyrocketed towards the movie channels. It's Law and Order night on the Sundance channel. Nope.

Fury was on IFC. It's a great Brad Pitt movie but I had already watched it earlier in the day. Maybe TCM has something...wait. What's this?

My Side of the Mountain.

I began watching and memories of my youth flooded in. My Side of the Mountain was my favorite book in my formative elementary school years. By rough estimation, I read this book 15 times. Did I own a copy? If my memory serves, I did. Traveling to the far reaches of my brain space, I not only wondered if a copy of the book was still at my parents house somewhere, but I also began to piece together the story.

Watching the movie -- based on the book -- I recalled also wanting to be like the boy in the book. I wanted to live off the land; to live in a hollowed out tree trunk and enjoy the cozy confines of nature. A few minutes into memory lane and thinking this boy simply ran away from home while adults he encountered simply looked the other way, I had to go look up the full synopsis of the book.

Wikipedia here I come...

...and it's amazing how much one's favorite book as a child can leave a subconscious imprint. (And how I was a little off in the fact the boy ran away from home.)

My Side of the Mountain is a young adult novel written by Jean Craighead George and was published in 1959. The novel tells the story of a young teenager named Sam who, deciding that living with his large family in a small apartment is too crammed, goes to live on his grandpa's abandoned farm. Finding the home uninhabitable, Sam instead begins to live off the land, learning to live with nature and be independent, much like Thoreau did.

The deeper I went into the plot, the more the story came back to me. Every piece of information unlocked an old memory, an old feeling attached to how the story with Sam progressed. The training of a falcon. Christmas spent in the dug out old tree trunk. Becoming one with nature and exploring how life is symbiotic. Suddenly, I was transported back to my fourth grade self and wanting to see the world through these eyes again.

And of course I wanted to read My Side of the Mountain and some of my other favorites from those days. 

A pen pal excursion with Dear Mr. Henshaw.

Catching up with Peter Warren Hatcher, his little brother Fudge and other Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

Solving crimes with Frank and Joe Hardy or living on the lam with The Boxcar Children.

Tracking down the name of the books of the fictional baseball team I spent reading about every summer. It was a series of books, with I believe each book focusing on a different player/position. I've tried putting my Google search skills to use, but I don't think I have enough to go on to track down their titles. (I wonder if the Elko County Library has a record of what books I checked out in the late 1980's)

Time passes and a simpler time puts the brain at ease, if only for a few hours.. Unlocked all because of the simple act of channel surfing on a Friday night. Leaving me feeling nostalgic, with a sense of hope of one day finding my own private side of the mountain.