Curled Up With a Book by
(354 Stories)

Prompted By Rainy Days

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“Chicken Run” Making the Movie

Martha’s Vineyard is predominantly a resort community, particularly in the summer. We go to the beach, exercise in some form, ride bikes, hike the beautiful trails, socialize with friends. So when it rains, everyone comes into town, looking to shop, go to the movies or find something else to do.

We happen to live right in town, a block from the shopping district, so we just stroll around the busy area. Years ago there was a marvelous bookstore, Bickerton and Ripley, right around the corner from us. They had a great selection of books (this was before Amazon became the behemoth it is today) and a wonderful children’s nook, full of delightful titles for readers of all ages with a little cushioned bench, inviting children to pull out a book and linger. My children visited often.

The store was owned by two women who lived on my street. In fact, Marilyn gave David his first job there the summer he turned 14. He stocked books for them. She interviewed my shy son over Memorial Day Weekend, told him he had to stand straight and make eye contact with her. He learned to work hard for her. It was a summer that one of the Harry Potter books came out and the owners opened late that night, dressed as sorcerers to sell the books to the line of eager children. David had spent the day unboxing those precious books and scarfed one up for his grateful younger sibling.

But years earlier, the owners had offered me a great idea. My kids were always bugging me to buy books, but I was not always with them when they came into the store. Marilyn suggested I set up a house account for them with my credit card. “But how will I limit their purchases?”, I inquired. I knew they had no bounds when it came to Calvin and Hobbs, books about outerspace and the like. “Not to worry”, she responded. “There will be a $20 spending limit per child”. That was satisfactory and I gave her my credit card to set up the account.

The movie “Chicken Run” had come out earlier in the year. My kids loved everything from the Aardman Studios and just adored this movie. One rainy night, I was home alone with them. This was in the year 2000. Dan still worked and was not home. I couldn’t find them anywhere. I searched the entire house. Finally, I noticed the door to Jeffrey’s room was closed. I knocked lightly and went in. They were huddled together on his twin bed, pouring over the “Chicken Run” book, purchased earlier that day. The door was closed to keep the cat in the room. I looked at the price of the book – $38! How did they manage to buy that (it was a beautiful coffee table book on the making of the movie, as seen in the Featured photo). My clever children had pooled their resources – each used their $20 quota – to purchase this wonderful book, which now rests on my coffee table in Newton! It occupied their entire rainy evening.

My kids on the Vineyard at that age


Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.

Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Yes Betsy, browsing in a book store and reading – perfect activities for a rainy day anywhere!

  2. pattyv says:

    Not only enjoying Martha’s Vineyard but having that fabulous bookstore to visit was such a golden opportunity for your kids. Who knew? So many bookstores have closed since then. What a loss. They can never be replaced.
    I love how your children were not to be found, only to be discovered in Jeffrey’s room reading the book they purchased together. Smart, happy, lucky, good looking kids.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      It was indeed a golden moment, Patty. There is still a book store on Main Street, but it isn’t nearly as cozy or friendly as this one was. And it’s moved a few blocks down and now has a chi-chi restaurant behind it called Behind the Bookstore (of course).

  3. Betsy: Yes, a book read at night in the rain on Martha’s Vineyard is indeed memorable. You made the context of this story so vivid.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    What a sweet story! I loved the fact that they pooled their resources and bought a book and were engrossed in it. The world could use more of that.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      I thought it was clever of the kids to figure out a way to get the book they wanted without begging Mom, Khati. Yes, if only kids wanted more books and fewer electronics these days, we’d all be better off!

  5. Jim Willis says:

    I loved your story, Betsy, but I was even more impressed with the job you and Dan did by inspiring your kids to love reading so much that they pooled their allowance to buy a book! I became a writer out of my own love for reading at a young age, and that was spurred on by afternoon stopovers at the library while walking home from school. I grew up in a planned community that sprang out of a wheat field within a year’s time, and I have the designer of the original plat to thank for putting the library directly between me and my elementary school.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    I love this story because it touches on two of my favorite things, children’s books and reading. Curling up with a good book on a rainy day is a delight. What a cute picture of your boys.

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