A Legacy of Words

by Mary Ann Diorio, Ph.D.

Wide-eyed with delight, I listened intently as my father read the lilting verse. How his voice danced with the rhythm of the words! Up, down, round, and through. Over and under each syllable he sailed, propelled by the wind of poetic joy. Like a master violinist, he played each syllable with all of his heart, pouring into it the essence of his being.

As was often the case, we sat side by side on the large, comfortable sofa in our modest living room as my father read to me from the musty, second-hand copy of The Oxford Book of English Verse. He had purchased it at an old book sale.

At nine years of age, I watched his smiling face as he shared with me his great love of words. I was mesmerized by their power to enchant and to enthrall.  In awe of their beauty, my mind followed every nuance, breathing in and breathing out the cadence of their melody. Despite my tender years, I experienced an epiphany. Words held power—the power to transport one out of the mundane and into the sublime.

What struck me most about those special times together was the realization that my father was having great fun. That realization proved to be the seed that would later blossom into a call to write. Indeed, the old, red-covered volume became my training ground, the place where I learned that words could create mystery and dreams, sunshine and joy, laughter and love.

Words were the instrument my father played. And words became the instrument I, too, learned to play.  

Today, as I fulfill my call to write, I am reminded that a gesture as seemingly insignificant as reading to one’s child can, in God’s grand plan, be the catalyst for inspiring His dream in that child’s heart. Each act of love expressed to our children may be the seed in which lies their future. Each gift of time may be the seed in which lies our own.

Copyright 2003 by MaryAnn Diorio. All Rights Reserved.