Monday, May 23, 2011

About Writing

So after all the positive encouragement I got last week, I will continue to write a blog, but now it will be about things other than reaching for an RV dream.

But first, on that subject, Craig and I did some talking this weekend.
 My meltdown was not his fault, and took him by complete surprise.

The trigger had to do with a house remodeling project we don't see eye to eye on.

 I'm going to try harder to be more patient,  less critical, and stop trying to save money by only doing what is necessary.  I'm still on hold with any timelines, dreams, or expectations.

I occasionally generate clouds of doom and depression all on my own.
It will work out.

Now back to "About Writing"

The English language and I have never been on good terms!  When I was growing up "learning disabilities" were not talked about or treated.  The only kids in "Special Education" were severely mentally retarded, and only the very worse case kids were held back a year.

To start with, I was a "young" kindergartener.  I started school at four years old with a late November birthday.  Add to that a series of illnesses that kept me home much of first grade, a large class size, (I was the beginning of the baby boom bulge)  left handed, and  undiagnosed dyslexia. 
I remember a discussion about keeping me back a year, but my parents were totally against it, so I was pushed on. 
 Second and third grade were a nightmare.  I was the lowest in the low reading group. I couldn't read and I definitely could not spell!  I remember quite  few tearful Fridays when I would sit after school writing out all the words I had gotten wrong on the weekly spelling test over and over. I always had to stay after far longer than anyone else in the class.

Then a miracle happened.  My fourth grade teacher was an angel.  Once again I was sick a lot, and it was recommended that I not go out for recess with the rest of the class.  Instead I spent that time indoors, in the classroom, by myself.  My wonderful teacher took that time (probably time she would have otherwise been able to take a short break) to give me special help, one on one.  We went back over lower grade readers, and somehow she taught me to read!

I went from the lowest group to the highest, and even placed very well in an all school vocabulary test at the end of the year.

I still could not spell, but reading was no longer a problem and for some unknown reason I was placed in advanced English classes in High School.  I remember getting grades of A/C.  A for content and a C  for spelling and grammar. 

Then came college.  At the University of Wisconsin, Freshman English was required for graduation.  I knew several people who never graduated because they could not pass it.  I was terrified.  I really tried hard, having Craig proofread what I turned in, but there was no way I could pass the impromptu essays that our professor was so fond of.  At the six week point, I was called into her office.  I have never had a more devastating meeting.  She told me I was illiterate, and recommended that I not only drop her class, but that I had no hope of getting a degree and should consider dropping out of college completely. 

I dropped her class.  Knowing I had to pass English I did what any smart student does.  I shopped for an easier teacher.  I found an early morning section in the summer session taught by a teacher that had a reputation for passing everyone.  I did pass, and took the second semester with him as well.

But I will never forget being told I was illiterate.  

I still cannot spell!  Craig corrects my grocery lists, and if it wasn't for Spell Check I would never be able to have a blog or answer emails.

So, thank you for telling me you like my blog.  I know not all of my grammar is up to snuff, but I just write what I think and feel.  Pretty much the way I talk.

Exercise Goal :  To walk 1000 miles on my treadmill or on trails.
miles Monday
Total walked = 364.5 miles   


  1. Hi Merikay,
    So glad you're still blogging. We want to know how your dreams unfold or what new dreams emerge. You express yourself well. I'm glad for your friendship!

  2. I somehow got behind on reading blogs (in Nashville we did not have internet) so I missed a few "reads."

    First, dreams never die...they may change but never die. Our dream changed and doesn't look today like we thought it would look a few years ago. I am sooooo glad you have decided to continue your blog. We are your friends and enjoy reading about YOU! You hang in there....keep writing and we'll keep reading. Sending hugs your way!!

  3. You're a strong woman, Merikay. Keep up the good work!

  4. one day at a time is all you can do!!..hope you have a good week!!

  5. I am so glad you haven chosen to keep writing. Thanks to for sharing your challenges and it is obvious you have come a long way baby! Any college professor who would tell a student what she told you should loose her job. I am a teacher and I see students who struggle but it is my job to see that they find the resources within our system that can help them. I can't pass them if they don't do the work but I can help facilitate for that student and that is just as important as teaching all those A students - in fact I think it is more important. The way I look at it is our job is not just to teach but to help our students succeed, even or maybe especially at the college level. Kudos to you for not giving up.

  6. Merikay:

    Never give up on yourself. You write beautifully, and I would have never known that there were any issues at all. Please don't give up on your dreams, whatever they may be.

  7. People can be so cruel and when it comes from a teacher it does incredible damage. Our son was told by the high school counselor that he'd be better dropping out because he wouldn't ever pass. So that's what he did.And he's not stupid. Just bullied. The best Christmas present ever was when he presented me with his GED certificate.

    I agree, dreams may change course but they don't die. You just don't know what is around that next corner. And we read blogs because they are written by people. People we want to get to know better. So keep writing and we'll keep reading.

  8. You & I have very similar early childhood memories Merikay. Just follow the advice in your last paragraph & you will be just fine. Write what you think. Write what you talk...........

  9. It's good that you talked things out with your husband. And just write what you are thinking, we all have spelling and grammar issues.

  10. So glad you are still going to write. I have a brother who has a doctorate and he still can't spell worth a darn - don't let that stop you. Just talk to us. No one is holding a gavel (or a red pencil!). Glad you and Craig are communicating. Dream on, Merikay, and dream big!

  11. You could never guess from reading your blog you have any spelling or grammar probs, etc. Reading your story reminded me of my 10th grade English teacher. I was 2 yrs behind my "perfect" brother who worked & excelled in EVERY class he took. He was a National Merit scholar. On the first day of school in my Accelerated English class, the teacher asked me if I was related to "Jerry." When I responded yes, her comment was, "I hope you're just half as smart as he is." I NEVER forgot that comment or the teacher who said it -- Mrs. Billingsley. She will never know what that statement did to my self-esteem! Thanks for your post!

  12. It's good to hear you're going to continue blogging. I would miss you.

    As for the "illiteracy," I get angry when I hear of a teacher at any level who says such things. There is a teacher for every student, and I'm glad you found yours.

  13. I was put in Special Ed for the first two years of school, I wouldn't speak since I was so ashamed of my Norwegian/Ojibwe accent.
    I came from the Reservation and even though I could pass as white, the small school I attended was very racist and figured I was just another "dumb Indian" and put me in the slow class, which was inhabited by some of the most interesting and intelligent people I ever met.
    One Gal was Native too and her only crime was that she had polio and no one wanted to see her clomping through the halls with leg braces, another was a young man with Downs Syndrome who was one of the nicest most likeable people I ever met.
    We spent our days in the school library, and by the time I was 12, I had read every book on the shelves and had an adult card at the public library.
    We taught each other to read and laugh, it turned out to be the best years of my childhood.
    One never knows what's going to happen in life to try and keep you down, you just make the best of it and keep going.
    Keep going Marikay, I love to read you writing.
    Full Time Road Warriors


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