It seemed like this day would never come! Forever I had begged my mother to "teach me to read!"
My dad would buy me 'funny books' (comic books) at the drugstore. My favorites were Donald Duck and Goofy. I also had favorite stories like Goldilocks and theThree Bears, Cinderella, and Chicken Little, among many. My mother and dad, when they could, would read to me; and then I would take the books and try to make out the words myself.
It was a sunny, bright September morning. Mother took Jim, my brother (born a year earlier) over to the Stump's next door while she walked me to school. In those days our family had one car, and Mother did not drive. I wore a new dress, one of many sewn by my mom. (She made all my clothes, even through college and into adulthood.)
The school was small by today's standards in the Litz Manor area of Kingsport, Tennessee. I kept pulling my mom by the hand, not wanting to miss anything. We finally arrived and found the first grade classroom (only one section). I remember the wood desks and the blackboard. I met Ms. Isely, my teacher.
After she greeted everyone, she asked if anyone would like to sing a song. Years later I realized what she meant -- but not that day. I raised my hand high and proceeded to walk to the front of the room and sing my favorite song, "America" (Oh, beautiful for spacious skies .......) as a solo, no less!
I can imagine the shock of my mother. And now, 64 years later, I wouldn't dream of doing something like that. But I did, and Ms. Isely was very nice about it, telling me that song was one of her favorites.
I remember my first reader, how proud I was to have a book of my own that I was going to read from. I remember Ms. Isely calling me up to her desk at recess one day with a new book in her hand. She said, "Patricia, I want you to read this to me." I replied that I could not read sentences yet. She answered, "Yes, you can!" And I did. From that day forward I read every book I could find at school. At home the comic books suddenly became easy.