Before the advent of backlighting…

Before the advent of backlit reading devices, I had to read at night with <gasp> a light on.

From my childhood on, this light took many forms. In middle school, I slept on the top bunk of my bed and angled my book to catch the glow from the yard light. I’m sure this in no way caused any deterioration in my eyesight. Plus, my mom never had to get after me to turn off the light.

I’m not so old that I had to walk to school uphill both ways with nothing but newspapers between my feet and the freezing ground, but I did have to hike a half-a-mile to the bus-stop in the dark. And that bus ride was dark too. How better to pass the time than to read a book? In the dark. Never fear, my seat partner and I brought flashlights. Or she did. I being more retro, or probably just weird, brought a battery operated fake candle. I still have it lurking in one of the boxes in my closet. It’s a beautiful dusty rose and casts a somewhat flickery glow.

For the first years of my marriage, my husband had to learn to sleep with the lamp on. How else do you go to dreamland without reading yourself to sleep? (He has since learned the wisdom of this and listens to audiobooks. Now I have to learn to fall asleep while reading a book and listening to Harry Potter.) I tried various book lights and had difficulty getting the light to shine in the proper place. Once I fell asleep, the light didn’t go off. It stayed on until the battery died and I seemed to find the models with the rarest and most expensive batteries. And the book closed when I fell asleep whether I slipped my bookmark in there or not. When I went back to the book, I had to flip through pages searching for something familiar as my last read page.

But now, I have my wonderfully backlit and sleep timed Kindle. No complaining about bright lights, it shuts itself off, and it saves my page.

Unless I fall asleep with my finger in the page advance area…

About Joselyn

SAHM writing romance with at a case of the giggles. Former librarian. Avid reader. Runner.
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5 Responses to Before the advent of backlighting…

  1. It is I who had to learn to sleep with a light on for my late-reading husband!


  2. jeff7salter says:

    ha… so you’ve heard the old whine about school both ways uphill. LOL
    I was usually dropped off in the mornings but had to walk home. It was about 8 blocks, which is about 2/3 of a mile I think. But sometimes I walked part way with a girl and that made it faster!
    My wife used to have a hi-intensity light on our bed’s headboard — it gave her plenty of light to read herself to sleep with, but did not cast so much light in the room that it prevented my rest. Of course, I would’ve slept faster and better with NO light… but, whatever.
    Can’t quite picture your flickering candle light. Didn’t they sell pen-lights in your youth?


  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I remember reading in bed when my parents thought I was asleep! I slept upstairs, but there wasn’t a streetlight close by, so I had to sneak a flashlight in to my room. I had a light attached to my headboard, too, but when hubby started snoring so loud I gave up and went to the family room.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am sure I was considered odd. I loved to turn my lights off and would light the kerosene lantern. I loved reading by that light late at night.

    Liked by 1 person

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