Thursday, November 5, 2009

I love books!

I learned to read when I was only three years old. My great grandmother taught me to read using Dr. Seuss books. I lived with my great grandparents from the time I was born until I was seven years old. My great grandparents were both in their late sixties by the time I was born and my great grandfather worked a full time job in a rubber factory and my great grandmother had severe debilitating lupus. Taking care of a wild and rambunctious three year old was exhausting for her, but my great grandmother loved me dearly and wanted to make me happy so she looked for things that she and I could do together that were not physically hard on her. One thing that she could do for me was read. Since going to the library was out of the question she signed me up for the Dr. Seuss book of the month club. I got so excited when a new book came in the mail! I made her read the books to me over and over. I would beg and plead with her to “please read to me”. Because of the repetitious reading I memorized the words in the book, and that is how I learned to “read”. Of course at the age of three I was not reading, I was simply using the sing song style of the book in order to memorize the words. My great grandmother was so proud of me, and she would bore anyone who came to our door with her amazing “reading” grandchild. I went to live with my young single mother when I was seven years old and life was not easy for either of us. My mom could barely take care of herself much less a small needy child. Because of this I had a very lonely childhood. My mom worked full time and I was the strange kid in class, so I didn’t have a lot of playmates. My love of books helped me to survive an almost unimaginably lonely childhood. I was never lonely because I always had a book to keep my company. I got to have exciting adventures with Huck Finn and later I would scare myself with Stephen King, but I was never alone. I got to know the librarians personally at every grade school that I ever attended. And in middle school I worked as an assistant to the librarian. My great grandmother died when I was only twenty two years old, and I still miss her every single day, but she gave me the best gift any one has ever given me, a lifelong love of books. The illiteracy rates in this country are staggering. To imagine that a life could be changed with just simple children’s book is an amazing thing. Because of my great grandmother and Dr. Seuss a whole world of opportunities were opened up to me. Reading can change lives, and I am proof of that.

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