I was born a “dummy”. The youngest of 3 girls and they were both brilliant, just like my parents. I was the dumb one! By the age of 3, both of my sisters could not only spell their names, they could write them! I could not!
They both entered school well above the norm. They excelled…I did NOT! It wasn’t my parent’s fault, they had already raised two brilliant daughters. It was ME! I was just a DUMMY! It wasn’t my sisters’ faults, they tried to teach me as well, but I was a DUMMY! I just couldn’t read or write!
I entered Kindergarten and that was easy peasy. Back in MY day, Kindergarten was half a day and all you had to know was blue truck, red car. Smash blue truck into red car = good. And I could stack blocks too. I wasn’t certain what the letters were, but I could stack them!
Then it was time for 1st grade….real learning. My oldest sister had worked with me over the summer because she didn’t want a DUMMY for a sister (my words, not hers). Nothing clicked. I just couldn’t/wouldn’t get it! I was not only a DUMMY, I was stubborn as well!
That Fall, I entered the 1st grade, and I couldn’t read, nor could I write. DUMMY! It was embarrassing and it was scary! But I was funny…that had to count for something, right? The kids would love me! And they did!
But all of those kids could read and write…something was very WRONG with me. I was highly aware of this, and Mrs. Roundtree, my 1st grade teacher, sensed my fears but didn’t understand them! One day, she asked for the children to come up to the front of the room to read aloud. Jerry, Suzie, Jason, Jane…they all did fine! I was happy for them! THEN…it was MY turn! OH NO…did she seriously just call me up there? Now what?
Here’s what! I peed my pants…right there in front of the class. Somehow (and her super powers still amaze me to this day), Mrs. Roundtree created a diversion and NO ONE noticed what had happened. She called recess, cleaned up my DUMMY mess, and she “talked” to me. I mean, this lady truly talked to me! She listened, then she called my mom (my hero).
Together, they figured it out! I naturally held a pencil or crayon in my left hand but was told to switch to my right. When I attempted to read, it was from right to left. So simple that even this DUMMY would recognize it now. I was freakin left-handed and all of this right-handed-forced learning had confused me to no end!
It was THAT simple! And so they embraced my left-handedness (for those of you young whipper snappers reading this thinking…WTF? Back “in the day”, EVERYONE was right-handed, and if you weren’t….you learned how to be). As soon as they let (and encouraged) ME be ME, I began to soar! So simple!
And by the next year (finally at the age of 7) I was reading! I was no DUMMY, and I was writing in the journal my mom had bought for me! My first “piece” was simple:
If a stranger you should meet,
As you’re walking down the street,
Say “HI”, not “Good Bye”,
You might like it,
If you try!
King? Bombeck? Absolutely NOT! Profound? YES, in ways you could never imagine. That little 7-year-old DUMMY was able to read and write, and rhyme! AMAZING! And all because someone recognized that she was “different”.
And the beauty of the poem is this….that 7-year-old wrote the story of her life, right then…right there! That’s my motto now! It’s simple, but it’s true!
So thank you Mrs. Roundtree! You were right! I’m not a DUMMY! I might not be King, I might not be Bombeck…but I’m no DUMMY! And you know what? I now make a living writing from my heart! Kudos to you (and to my mom and sister for sticking with me and believing in me). It’s a modest living, but you were SOOO right…I’m NO dummy!
Christy Gossett, managing editor of SoFabFood and creator of the healthy living blog, Insanity Is Not An Option, is a WAHM of 6 kids ranging in age from 27 to 8. She enjoys sharing her heart-healthy, low sodium recipes to help others with dietary restrictions enjoy a flavorful life while maintaining a healthy diet.
Hey y'all! I'm Christy and I'm glad you could stop by. Have a seat, grab a drink or a straight jacket, and join me as I share heart-healthy recipes, stories and life lessons about my insanely large family, and whatever else pops into my hot mess of a mind! Read More…