In 7th grade my mother gave me an A.M. Transistor Radio as a reward for something that I accomplished. What was worth that big of a gift? No “F’s” on my report card. Wow, that was a big deal for me. I was accustomed to getting lousy grades. It didn’t really matter, and my life was fun in spite of not being a good student.
Tuesday, April 23rd is National Book Night all over the world. We are keenly aware of the importance of reading, literacy and, I suppose, not getting an F on a report card. I will be reading a book that night along with millions of others, something that I’ve not always done.
What I didn’t know in 7th grade was that I had a learning disability that affected my ability to read, comprehend and do the task of school work. I, of course, compensated for this disability with charm and personality. (?) It wasn’t until age 40 that I found out that the messages from my eyes to my brain were garbled which made the task of reading difficult. With a thing called vision therapy, I became a reader. Now I read all of the time.
My first novel was read on our first Stampin’Up Cruise! Now, I always pick out a book for each Stampin’Up getaway. This year it will be The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover by Kinky Friedman. With a two day flight to the Fiji Islands I had better bring a second book along. I am a slow reader, but not that slow.
I’ve always told Karen that she should be on the radio because she is so good at reading; in fact she could have gotten a job reading books for tape. Anyway, this brings up a painful memory. One evening when Karen was gone I decided to read the kids their bed time story. About three pages into the book our oldest son, who was six at the time, said, “That’s okay Dad we’ll wait until Mom gets home.” I never tried to read to them again.
I met Karen when I came home from Vietnam and had no plans for what to do next. She convinced me to try college since I had the GI Bill. Karen did all of my reading and then discussed with me what it was about. I dictated my papers to her too. (This means Karen should have her Masters in Public Health too!)
Now, take a look at just part of my book shelves.
Do you recognize Thomas Merton between the shelves? I have read his book New Seeds of Contemplation ten times….and yes, the other picture on the left is our wedding invitation!
So enjoy this National Book Night, and read a couple of extra pages for all of the people, young and old who can’t read.
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