What was your favorite book as a child? Did it influence the person you are now?
I had a number of favorite books as a child. As a small child, I loved to read The Bobbsey Twins and Heidi. As an older child, I love the Nancy Drew series of mystery books. I used to borrow my friends’ copies and we would trade them back and forth. I also read The Lives of the Saints that my mother subscribed to; one new book came each month and I read those biographies each month.
But my favorite book, and one that I still have, was called All About Archaeology. My parents gave my this book for Christmas one year. I had never shown any interest in archaeology up to that point so they must have thought it was just an interesting book for me. But it soon became my favorite book. It transported me to exotic places and cultures. It took me to far-off ancient Egypt, to the land of the pyramids and the ancient pharaohs. I learned about the death and burial rituals in ancient Egypt and the finding of the tomb of Tutankhamen by Howard Carter. I learned about the discovery of the ancient city of Ur in Mesopotamia. I also learned about pyramids and the ancient culture of the Mayas in our own hemisphere. This book opened my mind to the world of archeology and the study of ancient cultures, and by doing this, it also sparked my interest in the study of other cultures in general. That led to my interest in anthropology and sociology, which I went on to study in high school and in university.
I had originally planned to go to graduate school to study archaeology in graduate school after graduating from university, but I ended up getting married instead and that put an end to my graduate student plans. I had a child and then was divorced and became a single mother and never saw my dreams of becoming an archaeologist fulfilled. But I never lost interest in archaeology. I have many books on archaeology in ancient Egypt and in the ancient Maya kingdoms, particularly. Those are my two major areas of interest. I have travel extensively in Mexico to visit archaeological sites. I have not been to Egypt but I watch an television program on excavations in Egypt at the ancient sites.
That book my parents gave my has sparked a life-long interest in archaeology. I am still an archaeologist an heart and always will be.