My Own Gatekeeper (Holly Schindler)

I've bumped into several posts this week about restrictions on reading--my state of Missouri has decided it's a class A misdemeanor if anyone provides visually explicit sexual content to a minor, which means books are disappearing from the shelves. 

It's made me think about my own first gatekeeper--my mom. 

With Mom, it wasn't just that the door on that gate was open. At times, I'm not sure there was ever even a gate at all.

If I wanted to read it or see it or listen to it, that was fine. She watched where my interests were, and fed into it. I remember her bringing home Picnic after I'd watched Dirty Dancing (at 11), telling me the scene in which Kim Novak danced down the steps was kind of the talk of the town when it released. And in that way, she introduced me to William Inge. 

And so on.

It wasn't just what was--titillating, though. It was anything. I listened to metal and to Sam Cooke. I saw musicals. I am, to this day, a classic movies nut. I read and read and read...

And I learned, in all of that, to appreciate all sorts of different ideas and sounds and ways of telling a story. I learned that people had experiences like my own and wildly unlike my own. 

Really, I think, an open gate helps a young person develop an open mind. 

And that may be the thing for which I'm most grateful.


  1. My experience was similar to yours Holly. Books and magazines of all kinds were read by my parents and my sister and I discovered our own favorite books thanks to a library that let us borrow whatever we wanted.

    1. I fondly remember checking out books from the adult section when I was still really young. It felt so grown-up.

  2. Very interesting discussion about the bookbanning strategy in Missouri, too. The implications are staggering.


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