Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn

I have a confession: I’m a “Potterhead.” Surprised? Maybe. But you should know that I’m an avid reader and not just of shoe magazines. 

Since learning to read, I immersed myself in stories of Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, Goosebumps, Sweet Valley High, and The Saddle Club.  Like legions of young girls before me, I imagined myself solving mysteries while riding trails by night on my trusty steed. As I got older, my reading preferences shifted from R. L. Stine to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Michael Crichton. On rare occasion - usually when I stole one from my grandma - I’d throw in a Harlequin romance novel. But I’m more of a dinosaur-kind of girl.

After college, my thrill-seeking tastes gave way to less Stephen King and more Kay Hooper, Iris Johansen, David Baldacci, and Karin Slaughter.  My farmer calls them my “body count books” and he may have a point.  But candidly, Stephen King started to scare me after I left the comfort of roommates.  It and The Stand still terrify me.    

Tucked on my bookshelf is none other than Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger.  Like many “Potterheads” before me, my imagination enabled me to travel to the wizarding towns of Godric’s Hollow, Hogsmeade, Mould-on-the-Wold, Ottery St. Catchpole, and Upper Flagley.  Like my peers, I rejoiced when Harry found his Godfather. Celebrated when he defeated dementors.  Cringed and cheered him on when he talked back to Delores Umbridge. Broke a little (ok, a lot) when Hedwig died. And was lost when the story ended. What’s probably most surprising is that it was my mother-in-law who introduced me to Harry Potter.

What Harry Potter also gave me was a connection to my blue-eyed girl. Over a year ago, despite her love for The Boxcar Children, her curiosity got the best of her and soon she was immersed in the wizarding world. Our conversations turned from the Alden family and their many adventures to why a young boy would fight against all odds for what was good and right. Why there’s no shame in being smart and using your brains. And why its so important to be a good friend.

Like families before us, we journeyed to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and tried our talents at casting spells. Consuming copious amounts of Butterbeer – iced, frozen, and hot.  And flying on the quidditch pitch.

My blue-eyed girl not only loved the chocolate frogs, sugar quills, cauldron cakes, and peppermint toads, but also took home Hermione’s wand.  What I took home was a renewed belief that even the most different of people can find common ground, and sometimes perhaps over a glass of hot butterbeer.

Photo taken on the steps of Number 12 Grimmauld Place, London.