It happened when I was four years old. A seminal moment I will never forget for even at four I realized something, and what I realized changed my life.
My aunt was driving me someplace, the where and why forgotten. I remember she stopped at a drugstore and went inside to purchase something. She came back out and handed me a candy bar.
I was curious as to what the candy bar was called. I was a year away from learning how to read, so I needed some help.
“What is the name of this candy bar?” I said.
“You know,” she answered.
“Now I don’t.”
“You know,” she said a second time.
Being four and being a boy, I was subject at times to a temper tantrum. I was on the verge of one by saying with strong emphasis, “No I don’t know. I CAN’T READ!”
I stared at the still unwrapped candy. It was long, had a silver wrapper and some letters on it. I kept looking down at it while my aunt pointed to the first letter. She said, “This is the letter U and this is the letter N and this is a O. It says U-No.”
I realized the power of letters. I realized the power of words. I learned the power of being able to read. I felt I was on the outside, that I was at a disadvantage.
This point was driven home when I learned how to read. Beginning with the Dick and Jane readers, progressing to the Hardy Boys, moving on to Jules Verne, I kept reading because the power of words, what they meant, what they symbolized was like having a super power.
I still read. I read fiction, non-fiction, e-Books, magazines, newspapers. And candy bar wrappers. I read because knowledge is power, but knowledge is gained from reading and discerning, analyzing, and thinking about what I read. And it is the letters, the words, that convey all that you need. U-No what I mean.
|“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”|
|“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”|
|– Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”|
|“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”|
|– Frederick Douglass|
Reading also led me to writing as these e-Books on Amazon attest.