|Tyler September 1992|
In honor of National Read Across America Day, I cannot help but to reflect on the day the words on the pages finally made sense to me. I get so excited when I think about the first time I learned to read.
The earliest memories of mine are age four. The year was 1992. My mother read to my sister and I every night before bed. I remember being jealous of them because they seemed to know something that I didn’t. They could read and I had a burning desire to do the same. Early on I felt like a failure because I knew my ABC’s, could count to 100, even tie my shoes, the only thing missing were the words on the page. I tried and tried to pick up the same books that she read to us, but the words just didn’t make sense. I’d even tell her, “Look Ma, I can read now!” pretending like I knew the words but I was actually reciting the story from memory or making it up as I go along (way to foreshadow my life as a writer). I grew more and more frustrated as the days passed and she assured me that it would come sooner or later.
One Saturday I was back at it again, page by page waiting on it to happen and then it did. I was flipping through the book for the 1,000th time and loudly proclaimed, “Stop, dogs. Stop! The light is red now!”. If the feeling was anything like winning the lottery, then I had struck it rich.
Finally, I reached my goal. To commemorate the moment, I closed my bedroom door and grabbed a pencil. I went to the door frame and wrote “No go”. I had remembered that my mom told me that you can’t go on red lights and that was the page that I just read, so it was like my mnemonic device. I ran to throughout the house to tell everyone that I was finally their equal because I could read. Sweet redemption. As the years passed, the enchantment that is found in reading still sparks that same passion in my life.
Nearly 23 years later, the words I penned on the wall are in the same spot. When I told my mom why I did it, she spared my behind in the name of literacy.