Letter: Alfred P. Van Huvck, Round Hill

Editor: The national news is full of efforts of parents to ban all sorts of books from their school and public libraries. It reminds me of how my mother handled a similar situation when I was in seventh grade in the 1940s.

One of the boys in my class obtained a pornographic book about a rape of a young woman. He immediately was besieged by the rest of the boys to read the book. It was decided that each boy in the class in turn would have one night to read the book and then pass it on to the next boy. My turn came and with great anticipation I brought the book home, excused my self right after dinner, and proceeded to get in bed with the covers over my head to read the book by flashlight.

My mother, as was her routine, knocked on my door to pop her head in to say “good night.” An in that micro-second it takes a mother to know something is amiss, she asked what I was doing. “Reading” I said as I came out from under the blankets and she replied “that’s interesting, tell me about it.” Her quick glance at the cover of the book I was trying to hide confirmed the jig was up.

I digress from the story to note what she did not do. She did not get angry at me. And she did not threaten to go to the school and demand that they must keep this trash away from the students.

What she did was to say in that calm, mother-type voice if the book was so interesting would I please read it aloud to her. There started, perhaps, the worst moments of my life, reading pornographic filth to my mother out loud.  Blessedly after a couple of minutes, she asked me to stop and explain to her why I found the book so interesting.

I really don’t remember much about the ensuing conversation in my embarrassment, but I do remember one question that I believed help shape my views for the rest of my life. My mother asked me what I thought about how the raped woman must have felt, and we both ended up crying. So ended my interest in pornography.

If my mother were still alive today, I think she would say to all those parents screaming to ban books for kids that instead they should check out the books, bring them home and read them with their children and discuss them. They may still have concerns as is their right, but at least they and the children would have an accurate perspective of the issue.

Alfred P. Van Huvck, Round Hill

3 thoughts on “Letter: Alfred P. Van Huvck, Round Hill

  • 2022-04-28 at 7:48 am
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    Great Points: I think you hit the key aspect of why parents are so upset about the violation of their trust currently visible in education. If bad ideas are told to people (especially young people) often enough they begin to believe it. They might believe they are inferior because of such propaganda or believe they need the system to protect them instead of actually being free to approach risk in any situation with a work ethic and confidence to at least try to succeed on their own merits all the while demanding the system be fair according to the Constitution! How many of our young students are losing their understanding of states rights under the Constitution as we hear EVERY DAY how the federal government is in charge oof everything? School Boards across America understand the cost of underfunded federal mandates yet very few object to this over-reach into state controlled education. These topics need to be discussed and journalists need to come back to the media business. Thanks for a very timely letter. 🙂

  • 2022-04-29 at 1:36 pm
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    Many, if not most, parents find it objectionable for schools to expose their kids to pornography, gender fluidity, CRT and other material, especially at young ages.
    This is not book-burning. It is common sense.
    Why is this even controversial?

  • 2022-05-03 at 1:30 pm
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    Some parents have not said “ban” books. Just do not put them in school libraries. Afterall, for them to be in school libraries, taxpayer funds were used to purchase them. Parents still have the ability to use their own funds to purchase whatever reading material they choose and read them to their children at home as the writer suggests.

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