Nils Peterson: Talk in the Reading Room
About Nils Peterson

 The Reading Room
 Xmas Eve at the Big House 
 Christmas Mysteries 
Summers in Long Island 
 Father Arrives in the    Triumphal Car 
 Yankee Stadium Gone 
A Thing of Beauty 
 Learning From My Father 
 Learning From My Mother 
The Bus


 Next Stop 
 Going to College
 My Lecture on Romanticism 
 A Story 
 Go Way From My Window 
• Singing in the Rain 
 On the Nature of Exposition 
 A Latin Class
 A Hero's Life
 Letter to Paul Cantrell
• Homecoming 
 The Moon and the Bulldozer


A Thing of Beauty

My father could not give it away, the Stromberg-Carlson, when the tubes failed — the age of the console radio had passed — nor could he throw it away because the wood was so beautiful. He who had worked in a cabinet maker’s shop as a young man, loved the grain of hardwoods with his eye and hand. So it was moved into my bedroom where it sat, a mahogany god no one listened to any more.

When I grew older, I  hid books, risqué, not pornographic — Thorne Smith, Guy de Maupassant (Bel Ami) and the like — in among the tubes, my secret cave — like the mine where the Lone Ranger cast his silver bullets.

For my thirteenth birthday, my parents thought a reader like me could use a desk. So, in the night, they came and carried out the radio to put in the desk. My books fell on the floor like original sin. The beginning of my fourteenth year was not a happy one — my delights confiscated. As I walked about the house, I felt as if I had been exiled to an obscure, but Lutheran, Elba. I knew then, I’d never fit into a desk job.

Later I found the books in my father’s own secret cave, up in the ceiling boards of the basement. So, I had another, though not public, lending library.

Maybe the books were like the radio — something in them so beautiful, my father could not throw them away.

  © 2014, Nils Peterson

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