Happy International Women’s Day..
I always struggle a touch with days like today. I was lucky enough to be born in a 1st world country, I am standing on the shoulders of some truly strong women that made it so that in the country I was born in, I can own land, I can vote, I had the same right to education as my brothers. I can earn a degree or a trade ticket. I have a legal right to drive I can choose to marry or not, I can choose (if the fates allow) to have children or not.
This was not the case even a hundred years ago and it is NOT the case across the world. Millions of women do not have the same rights I listed above.. It’s not even truly the case in some ways within my own country, I have seen it first hand over the years. I had a girlfriend that at the age of 16 was introduced by her parents to the man they approved over her marrying, She was not interested in this older male but I watched as she was pushed into it.. I remember her being cold and needing a new winter coat and her mother looking at her from across the kitchen table and say.. well, if you go n a date with him, he will take you shopping and you can get a new winter coat.. she was married to him by 17
I am a true Canadian mutt, my family background brings together, English, German, Scottish, Norwegian, I can track parts of my family to the early 1800’s here in Canada.
I am told over and over again by “the media” that I had the least hard path, I am old enough and seen enough first hand that I know that my skin color and eye color has given me a leg up in some ways.
Having said that, I have lived “across the tracks” and all that goes with living there, I have a learning disability that today is known and understood but not back in my day, in my day, they did a test and told my family, that I would never finish school, that I would never learn to read or write, that I would make a good wife and that I might learn to do the grocery shopping if I could learn how to use a calculator. That I could be a good worker and womb.
I sat though meeting after meeting in school, while my mother fought to keep me in regular classes (sometimes that battle was won and others not) and that I learned different, while the teachers and the principal said, she is slow, she needs to go to the slow room.. she will never graduated.
So today while I give a nod to all the strong women, I am going to send a special thank you out to Mrs. Laden and Mrs. Coop
Mrs. Laden was my grade 6 teacher and when I arrived in her class, I had grade levels testing out in 1 and 2.. and she talked to me, she listened when I tried to explain and she did something that no one else other than my mother at the time did..
She believed in me, she said.. I don’t think you are slow, I think I can help you learn to read if you are willing to work with me.. she arrived to school early every morning to work with me for a X minutes, I worked on things after school with her, shortly there after, she talked the history/math teacher into giving me 15 to 20 minutes during the lunch hour.
She figured out how to teach me and that year was an amazing, I learned how to read and put that information in my head and retain it, I learned how to write things down in a way that I could read my own writing back to myself and I moved 2 to 3 grades worth of learning in that year.. Still behind but no where I like I had been..
Grades 7 to 9 where in many ways bad because I struggled so much, my mom worked at cleaning house for Vicki F a retired teacher to give me lessons, and she was good but she never got me the same way as Mrs. Laden did.. however with what I had learned, I was able to just fail, I would skim by at 51 percent, which tended to be the teachers just pushing me though the system.
The second big Nod and change happened in Grade Ten, they made me take the lower routine of 13’s and they put me in the only lowest grade science class they could and it was all I needed but I begged to get into Biology (I love it) and finally said, if I fail, I fail but at least let me take the first year class..
Mrs Coop asked me to stay behind on the first day to talk to her, I thought for sure, she was going to kick me out of that class.. She asked me to do something things on the board to explain the process and then she smiled at me and asked me if I had ever been tested.
I sighed and explained that yes but that I didn’t feel the official results reflected the truth and she said have you heard of dyslexia and I said no, and she said, my son has it and so do you..
She explained it and I remember thinking.. WOW.. that makes so much sense, so many things just clicked that day and I finally understood so many things and with that she began to teach me after classes on how to find and understand how my own thinks connected and how I fixed things in my head before it came down on paper.
I spent all of high school with a big fat Zero in regards to spelling, grammar and structure. I could read and understand at university level but I still wrote at a grade five or six level. I finished school the first time with the 33’s and then I went back for a second year to take my 30’s (thank you so much for multiply choice, because those I could get 95 to 100 percent on)
I got a note in my English provincial final test, I had gotten 100 percent on the multiply choice and I had written my essay and then I had gone back and self-circled all my mistakes and then I slowly with the time left, started looking up the words and correcting them. The note back said, that they had never seen that before and that I had not missed a single mistake when I self-corrected my own work.
It was so kind of them to send me that note back though my teacher, So today I lift my glass to the women who worked with what must have been considered a very difficult child in their class room.. Thank you to the four that saw what I was in the moment, and who saw what I could be.. Bless you!
It was funny both how far I have come and how much it is still very much with me.. So I will lift a second glass to all my readers, I KNOW that there are times where I write it and it makes perfect sense to me at the time it was done.
The next time I read it.. perhaps not so much LOL Bless you all for sticking with me all these years despite my spelling/missing words/structure issues and my love and over use of ….