The University of Chicago Magazine

February 1997


First meeting with an old friend

I remember distinctly the first time my father read me The Hobbit. I was a precocious 8-year-old whose undying love for Star Wars had clued my father in to the fact that I was a child whose mind thrived on imaginative explorations and supernatural stories. My dad asked me if I wanted him to read me a book about elves and dragons and dwarves and magic, an unneeded question at that. Of course, I replied, and waited for the night to come with barely controlled enthusiasm....

The book looked old and that was a bad omen, especially to one who viewed "that old stuff" with disdain and impatience, but my father told me to just listen. I did. And as the night progressed and the breeze from outside whipped at the curtains, I slowly grew hair on my feet and shrunk in size, I saw our house as the house under the hills and our door was the little round door with the knob directly in the middle. I was Bilbo Baggins, the burglar.

--Matthew Rebhorn, '97, English major from Austin, Texas.

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