My dad is dyslexic. But he grew up in the 1950s and 1960s when little was known, understood, or accepted about learning disabilities such as dyslexia. For those who don’t know what dyslexia is, it’s a reading disorder which, in my father’s case, translates out to letters appearing to be jumbled when he reads.
For the first 22 years or so of his life, he had no idea he was dyslexic. It wasn’t until there was a special on the news about it that he started putting everything together.
All throughout grade school he was constantly belittled by teachers and the nuns and priests at his catholic school for being slow. One of the priests insisted for all his childhood that my dad would only dig ditches for a living because he wasn’t intelligent enough to do anything else.
He was wrong about my dad. My dad has spent the last 40+ years in sales and has spent a good deal of those years in management. He’s a leader in his field. I wish that priest could see him now.
And, of course, my dad eventually learned to read more efficiently, due largely to my mom helping him out. He joyously reads the newspaper cover to cover every single day.
A few months back my dad was in the process of buying a Kindle Fire. He was excited to be able to read stuff on it…and how amazed he was that he found that exciting given how much he hated attempting to read as a kid. For some reason this triggered his memory about childhood books. When he was a kid, there used to be a book on the bookshelf in his parents home called Dugout Jinx by Clair Bee (1952). It was a baseball book, which has always been the center-point of all childhood nostalgia for him. He wanted to read that book so badly and he just knew he would love it if he could read it. He could still remember every detail of how that book cover looked. He attempted the 210-page book 7 times, but never could get past the first few pages. As he told me this story he said that he didn’t know how, but someday he was going to track down a copy of that book and read the whole thing.
Well, being the sneaky tech-savvy daughter that I am, I immediately looked up the book, found an original copy and bought it for him for Christmas.
As he was opening the gift, he realized what he thought it might be. “If this is what I think it is, I’m going to go nuts,” he said. 🙂
It took him roughly 55 years, but last night my dad finally finished D6ugout Jinx and, just as he suspected, he loved every page of it.
Don’t ever give up.