Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Thinking Back...

Me and Uncle Mike. I couldn't walk but I could ride.
At an early age, I decided I was going to be an archaeologist, confusing that science with the one that deals with dinosaur bones, a Paleontologist. It really didn't matter, I am not sure if I wanted to study them or just draw them. I collected books, visited the museum of Natural History in New York and dreamed about dinosaurs. But, we were a horse family and before long we were making trips into Brooklyn to visit my uncles riding stable and my new love was horses, dinosaurs fading into the primeval mist.
School was a different matter. I did not like it from day one of grade 1. My teacher was not tolerant and evidently although I don't really remember, I was disruptive in class, constantly being made to stand up for misbehaving and finally after the teacher told my mother I needed an atom bomb under my chair to wake me up, I was taken out of that school and put in public school. That was half way through 3rd grade and I lucked out. My new teacher Mrs. Cassidy was a peach. She taught me how to read. Until then I was just muddling through. At the end of the year, she gave me a book, it had stories and pictures and I read it all summer. By the time I was in 5th grade, I was reading at a 9th grade level. Thanks Mrs. Cassidy.
But, I was still disruptive in quiet ways. Once I had a wart on my hand, everyday I would fight with it and make it bleed. This would cause a scene that would involve me going to the nurse or the restroom to wash it off, the teacher getting more and more upset everyday. Finally she had enough, she said no more picking at the thing at which point I removed it and proudly proclaimed to the class, It is gone!
I would also spend a lot of time in the nurses office claiming to be sick. My mother or father would have to stop what they were doing to come pick me up and finally my mother said, "if you don't have a fever or throwing up, you are going to school."
I wasn't sick, I was dyslexic.
Didn't know it, never knew it until I became an adult and finally had someone explain it to me.
I could not tell time, still can't unless I think about it or look at a round clock with hands.  I can't tell right from left unless I use my trick and I can not add unless I use my fingers.
But I could really draw and create sculpture. I loved art class and that was all I loved. The rest were just getting through the day. I did it by memorizing and I even got good grades but the classes always bored me and I seldom did homework. By the time I was in high school, I never took my books out of the locker.
I graduated as a national honor student but I believe it was because I dropped out of many classes and by the time I was on my last year, I took 5 classes of art out of 6 classes. I took the commercial courses because my mother insisted I learn something that could help me in life but switched to academic mid way through my last year because I was bored and then failed English Lit. one semester because I refused to read the assigned book. I brought my average up to an A by the end of the year.
There's red hot pants under this gown. It was the 70's. give me a break.
I had to learn shorthand. I would sit in the back of the class and cheat. Finally my teacher called me to her desk in the middle of class and said "my dear you have the best shorthand of anyone I have ever seen but you don't understand a thing you are writing, I think you need to drop this course."
I went to study hall where my art teacher found me and put me into another art class.
I had a one man art show when I graduated and stood with the rest of the honor students for the grand finale but I wore bright red hot pants under my gown.
I never looked back.

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