I have often wondered what it would be like not knowing how to read and I have tried to remember a time when I couldn’t, but I can’t. I vaguely remember phonics and learning to sound out letters. With my horrible memory now, I cannot remember how it was to be able to memorize so easily—letters, sounds and putting them all together. It would be wonderful to have that clarity of mind now, when every time I look for a photo I have to consciously remember which of the icons on my computer doc is the one that opens iPhoto or when every time I arrive in the room I have set out to go to, I have to struggle to remember why I have come here.
What a gift it would be to have that clear uncluttered mind opening itself to be filled and retaining everything! I’m a very good speller. How did I ever have the memory to remember all those rules and all those words? I remember my mother drilling me on the day’s spelling words every evening and again every morning before I crossed the street to school. Perhaps my proficiency in spelling is due to her unfailing efforts. Now I have “Mother Spell-check” who points out the occasional error of my ways.
Propelled back in time, if I had memory of my adult self as well, it would ask me to write down what it felt like to learn so easily. I would also seek out and comfort the one little boy in first grade who was punished repeatedly first by the teacher, then by his parents who were called in to take him out to the hall to spank him again–for inattention or failing to learn or for bad behavior probably due to being so bullied over not being able to comprehend quickly. At least once, for wetting his pants. (Unfortunately, he was held back by that teacher and so was forced to suffer her punishments for one more year as well.) Those cruelties I would try to redress a bit by being his friend.
The Prompt: Zoltar’s Revenge—In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic from the 80s, your adult self is suddenly locked in the body of a 12-year-old kid. How do you survive your first day back in school?