Dyslexia…Hum, I was going to clean up some pencil drawings tonight that I have been working on, but I decided not to put this off any longer. My cat of 11 years is snoring by my feet and my husband is sound asleep. So, now is my time to think or at least try to concentrate long enough to write something of which I will end up deleting 75% and rewriting. My sentences never seem to want to end. They just want to ramble on and on. A lot of times I will write the same thing within different sentences. Which creates a tremendous amount of rereading to the point of eye strain. I will try not to bore you or embarrass you with my continual lack of sentence structure, poor grammar and transposing of letters. If you will, try to look past all that and just read what I am saying. One other thing I have done most of my life is when two words sound the same, I will usually choose the wrong one even if I look up the meaning. It will be less frustrating for you if when you are reading my writing, you sound out the word and not come to a screeching halt when you find mistakes.
I have been looking forward to learning how to share my experience with dyslexia since I found out that not many people understand it at all. First of all I am 60 and have been dyslexic all my life. Dyslexia is not some thing you can cure or grow out of, it is with you till the day you expire. There are ways you can make it easy for yourself and others to comprehend. I have learned to do so many checks and balances that it is a continual source of stress just to try to do a good job and be understood and not look so uneducated. Since my short term memory is still on vacation, this is what you get. I have probably reread this over and over for a minimum of 40 times. Simply because my mind wonders, it hit’s the road blocks in my brain and will not stick even if I used crazy glue…
My 1st three years of school was blurry, it was not as traumatic as the many other things that occupied my mind. There was what seemed a daily rip in my dress waist line from repeated hemmings. I hated wearing dresses. I would not stop turning flips on the monkey bars and Mother would not stop giving me several licks with a belt when I got home. She could not comprehend the sewing machine instructions and hated sewing with “a piece of shit sewing machine”. Yeah, as I grew older and watched Mothers constant bouncing of checks and transposing numbers, I knew she would kill me if I ever accused HER of having dyslexia. Mother quit school in the 8th grade. She was the baby and spoiled rotten.
I was taller than most with a long waist line, every time I ripped the waist of a dress it got hemmed at least a half inch. There’s not much that is more uncomfortable than a girl with a long waist wearing a short waist dress.
I remember a snow cone stand that remains in service today. It’s just across from the school yard. I remember counting my pennies over and over hoping I had not dropped one, and would have a friend recount them before I ask for a 5 cent bubble gum or cotton candy flavored snow cone. I really did not know I had dyslexia, I just could not remember anything after reading it. I had to repeatedly recount, reread, nothing helped, I did not think any thing was wrong. I made average grades or else they just passed me along. I can not recall any thing being said. The teachers didn’t know why I could stand and read some thing out loud, sit down and could not remember what I had just read. I really did not have a grasp on the reality of school work or home work. My first reality check was when we moved to Arizona and I started 4th grade with a man teacher. Oh, he was so mean! If you misspelled words or could not add or subtract a problem correctly, he would come around the room with a wooden ruler, force you to extend your open palm and whip that ruler on your open palm. For each missed answer you received a stinging slap with the ruler, which left red whelps. I was never so glad to pass his class, I just barely did. I missed a lot of recesses because I could not see what he was teaching and he was always very fast and rude. Believe me, I learned after a while he did not like kids asking questions that interrupted his lesson plan..
I was born at home and some how survived a small town who’s major source of income was farming cotton. There were no street lights, not even the yellow ones that blink.
The school was small. Every cotton season, every one was dismissed for 2 weeks to help pick cotton. We were lucky if they were paying 7 cents a pound. My Mother collected all the money as the cotton bags and pillow cases and burlap sacks with holes cut and a strap added for the smaller children to pick cotton. It was hot, humid and back breaking. The mosquitoes were hugh. Every day, hours of bending over picking and dragging a long cotton sack. My baby brother would sneak over and sit or lay on my sack. If my Mother saw I was getting behind she would send Dale to play under the cotton trailer. The sacks were all hung on the hooks with scales, then dumped into the hugh wagon. The field boss had a chewed pencil with a used envelope to keep the weights and names. Nothing can quite beat the fresh smell of damp, fresh picked cotton. We were happy to receive 5 cents a day after picking all day with a break for lunch which was always a potted meat sandwich and water or cool-aid. We were happy to get a PBJ sandwich once in a while. Every ones hands bled from the sharp jagged punctures of the cotton bowls. If we had to cry, we used the dry cotton to wipe our tears. Like wise for the nature calls. No port-a-potties, ever. By picking time the height of the cotton was taller than most men. Unless we were lucky and the farmer planted short staple cotton. In that case we trucked it over to a taller crop for nature calls. All the time on the look out for the cotton mouth snakes. They were poisonous. They liked cool damp places like the irrigation ditches. No connection to the cotton fields, just when they opened their mouth it was white as cotton.