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  • Welcome to Stoyline Online. Brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.

  • I'm Ed O'Neill and today I'll be reading How I Learned Geography written and illustrated

  • by Uri Shulevitz.

  • When war devastated the land,

  • buildings crumbled to dust.

  • Everything we had was lost, and we fled empty-handed. We traveled far, far east to another country,

  • where summer were hot and winters were cold, to a city of houses made of clay, straw, and camel dung,

  • surrounded by dusty steppes, burned by the sun.

  • We lived in a small room with a couple we did not know.

  • We slept on a dirt floor.

  • I had no toys and no books.

  • Worst of all: food was scarce.

  • One day, Father went to the bazaar to buy bread.

  • As evening approached, he hadn't returned.

  • Mother and I were worried and hungry.

  • It was nearly dark when he came home.

  • He carried a long roll of paper under his arm.

  • "I bought a map," he announced triumphantly.

  • "Where is the bread?"

  • Mother asked.

  • "I had enough money to buy only a tiny piece of bread, and we would still be hungry,"

  • he explained apologetically.

  • "No supper tonight," Mother said bitterly.

  • "We'll have the map instead."

  • I was furious.

  • I didn't think I would ever forgive him, and I went to bed hungry, while the couple we

  • lived with ate their meager supper.

  • The husband was a writer.

  • He write in silence, but, oh!

  • how loudly he chewed.

  • He chewed a small crust of bread as if it were the most delicious morsel in the world.

  • I envied him his bread and wished I were the one chew it.

  • I covered my head with my blanket so I would not hear him smacking his lips with such noisy delight.

  • The next day father hung the map.

  • It took up an entire wall.

  • Our cheerless room was flooded with color.

  • I became fascinated by the map and spent long hours looking at it, studying its every detail,

  • and many days drawing it on any scrap of paper that chanced my way.

  • I found strange-sounding names on the map and savored their exotic sounds,

  • making a little rhyme out of them: Fukuoka Takaoka omsk, Fukuyama Nagayama Tomsk, Okazaki Miyazaki

  • Pinks, Pennsylvania Transylvania Minsk!

  • I repeated this rhyme like a magic incantation and was transported far away

  • without ever leaving our room.

  • I landed in burning deserts.

  • I ran on beaches and felt their sand between my toes.

  • I Climbed snowy mountains where icy winds licked my face.

  • I saw wondrous temples where stone carving danced on the walls,

  • and birds of all colors sang on the rooftops.

  • I pass through fruit groves eating as many papayas and mangos as I pleased.

  • I drank fresh water and rested in the shade of palm trees.

  • I came to a city of tall buildings and counted zillions of windows, falling asleep before I could finish.

  • And so I spent enchanted hours far, far from our hunger and misery.

  • I forgave my father.

  • He was right, after all.

  • You know, I like this story because it took the boy out of his desprate situation to other

  • worlds that he enjoyed so much more.

  • It reminds me of when I was a boy of twelve.

  • I discovered an author by the name of Mark Twain and the name of the book was Huckleberry

  • Finn and it took me down the Mississippi River and lots of adventures that I wouldn't normally

  • have had in Youngstown Ohio.

  • Reading can do that for you.

  • It can take you to other worlds, other places,

  • other experiences that you would never normally have.

  • Thank you for watching Storyline Online and don't forget to check out all of our stories.

  • Keep watching. And keep reading.

Welcome to Stoyline Online. Brought to you by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation.

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How I Learned Geography read by Ed O'Neill

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    capt.izutsu3336 posted on 2016/12/24
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