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By Tammy TurnerTurner, Tammy_Thumbnail

When I was a little girl, not a single Barbie doll ever made it out of my bedroom without being mauled. After the fifth or so was found by my mother under my bed with her golden tresses cut into a rocking Mohawk and painted purple with her own nail polish she swore to me she would never buy another. “Fine with me,” I said poking out my lip.

Santa Claus would bring me another one. And a football. And a softball mitt. And a sling shot. And some of those itty bitty green plastic army men for me to use as targets. Santa will be here soon, I thought to myself as my mother walked from my bedroom with the torso of the shorn Barbie – I can’t remember now where I left her legs. And this will be the best Christmas ever.

To say I was a tomboy when I was a child would be an understatement. My mother never had the idyllic pleasure of buying me pink dresses with bows or pretty cherub faced baby dolls. My father on the other hand actually enjoyed the holiday shopping.  At four I wanted cowboy boots and a puppy from Santa Claus. At four years old I was more like his third son than his only little girl.

Books were somewhere on the Christmas list, but I did not yet know how to read. That was what my Daddy was for after all. He never missed a night of reading a story book to me until I fell asleep with my head on his chest.

By four years old I had the hang of unwrapping presents and on Christmas morning I tore through the blue and white snowman paper wrapped boxes under the glittering tree certain I would find a puppy of my own somewhere amongst the crayons and stuffed animals. My mother has a photograph of me holding up the last gift I unwrapped that morning, a pout on my face as I study the cover of a hardbound story book, The Sailor Dog by Margaret Wise Brown.

That same night my father started teaching me to read with my new book. Scuppers the sailor dog loved the sea. And I loved him. Patiently my father pronounced the words as we studied the letters. Every night I took a turn reading to him just a little more of each page. When I finally could read the whole book on my own he bought me my first pet to celebrate, a goldfish I proudly named Scuppers.

* * *Falling Into Forever cover

Tammy Turner is the author of the recently released young adult novel Falling into Forever. Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina instilled an infatuation with history, mystery, and legend in Tammy. She now resides in Atlanta, Georgia and devotes the best of her time to her son and capturing the essence of make-believe with her writing. View Tammy’s bio to learn more.