I was a bright enough little girl. Active, eager… all of the things a small person who is surrounded by love grows to be.
But I could not read. Not a word.
My grandmother and two aunts were teachers. It must have been embarrasing to them to see me struggle. And I did, indeed, struggle, no matter how much they helped. Over and over, my Dad and Mom would sound out words for me, fingers gliding under the letters.
Until, one day, I eagerly ran to my grandfather to read him the one page I had memorized. (I was bright… and had a good memory!) He sat down in his chair and took me onto his lap. I “read” my page.
The, he turned the page – and told me to keep reading. I couldn’t. And I told him so.
Quite abruptly, he took me from his lap, turned me to face him and said, very sternly “I NEVER want to hear you say you can’t do something. I want to hear you say you will try.”
Then, he put me back on his lap and opened the book again. Together, we read the next page. I remember the letters seemed to move and squirm, turning from something undecipherable into WORDS! I could read.
And I did. Everything I could get my hands on – regardless of appropriateness. By the end of grade three, I was reading junior high school novels and, by grade six, I was reading high school material.
I was diagnosed with dyslexia in my first year of university, 11 years after the afternoon with my grandfather. Somehow, in the short little time he spent with me that day, he gave me the tools and courage I needed to be a “self-corrected” dyslexic.
My grandmother, my aunts, my parents – they all gave me the framework I needed for that experience, I’m sure. But, in my heart, when I think about that moment – the moment when the squiggles became words and my brain caught fire with the love of them, I KNOW it was one of my grandfather’s most precious gifts to me.
And so, I am thankful. For my literacy. For the authors who string letters into words into sentences into stories into books for me to devour. For the ability to learn by reading what others have written.
Mostly, though, I am thankful for the family that loved me enough to get me to that point.
He taught me to waltz, too, but that’s a different story!
I’d really love to see your comments on the projects I do and the ideas I have. I learn more from critiques than praise, but, honestly, I adore praise (and who doesn’t?).
Thanks for stopping by.