Tell me how you first learned to read.
I am remembering the day I read a book the entire way through all by myself. It was the book, The Summerfolk by Doris Burn*. I was by myself and I seem to recall books on the floor all around me. The house was very quiet. Most of the family was out. I think it was after school in the afternoon. I remember being very engrossed in the story and the world around me seemed to disappear At the end of the book I closed it and realized I read the words all by myself. I remember how elated I felt! It was such an amazing feeling. It was the beginning of a whole new part of my life.
As I write this I am amazed at the detail I can recall during this event. I mentioned earlier that I have a hard time remembering certain things but those things that I do remember are with such stark clarity. I can almost take myself back to that moment.
Riding a bike was the same way. I was a little bit older than my friends by the time I was able to ride a bike; it didn’t click for me until I was in 2nd grade. It seems like my attempts at this ended in failure and I was more and more jealous of my friends when they gained this secret knowledge because it meant they were free to explore the farthest reaches of the neighboorhood. The day it clicked for me was a magic moment. Again, I was alone when this happened. It was in front of our house on our gravel street. It was a cloudy, chilly fall afternoon. After trying a few times it finally clicked for me and It was the most amazing feeling! I was so happy! I rode the shit out of that bike, too. All over the neighborhood.
*Doris Burn was an AMAZING children’s book illustrator. He medium was pen and ink and she drew intricate scenes of children doing interesting things. When I was little I would pore over the pages of her books for hours, looking at the illustrations. If you can get your hands on the 1969 edition of, “We Were Tired Of Living In A House” do it. That book is a reason why I learned to read so easily (and Richard Scarry played a part in that too. I heart Richard Scarry).