Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Mommy Tribute: R is for Reading

My mother learned how to read at a very young age, just like I did. She was super smart and even skipped kindergarten. When it was time to start school, she just went straight into first grade. When she hit the 8th grade, she was the only one in her grade. She attended a one room schoolhouse out in the country. She often got to teach the younger children when she was finished with her studies.

Mom always loved to teach children. She fondly spoke of the Mexican migrant workers who helped on their farm every summer. She taught many of the children how to read English words.

Mom also used to like to read. She had a thing for Perry Mason novels and Sue Barton, RN. I even spotted a Harlequin or two stuffed under her bed, but she would never admit to it. I don't remember ever see her reading a novel, though. My memories of her reading are of magazines and the newspaper. I am sure she was too busy with three jobs to really take the time to focus on a novel.

As I got older, Mom always would lament about how she used to love to read, though never the "heavy stuff" that my father, my sister and I read. I would take her to Barnes and Noble with me, showing her some great books that I thought she would enjoy. I picked up vintage copies of the Earl Stanley Gardner books that she loved so much. Little did I realize at the time, she was probably already unable to actually understand and remember plot points in a book. She did better with the shorter topics that were found in periodicals. Eventually even that started to elude her. I remember countless evenings where she would open up the newspaper and exclaim in surprise at some story in the newspaper. She would have to read it out loud over and over and over again throughout the evening. She didn't believe you if you said you had already heard it a dozen times. To her it was brand new information again. So, we did the best that we could to swallow our annoyance and move back into reading our own novels.

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