Saturday, November 7, 2009

Alfred E Newman and my boy

Back in the seventies, my son (the one pictured on the right) was having great difficulty learning to read. The school placed him in a special class to increase his skills but the poor kid still struggled. However, he always pestered me to buy him every new issue of Mad Magazine when it came out.

In a moment of insight, I made a deal with him. I told him I'd order a subscription to the magazine for him if he promised to read every word.

Well, he hasn't stopped reading since. He reads cereal boxes and instruction manuals, catalogs and movie reviews--literally everything he gets his hands on. As a result he can talk at length on almost any subject.

In addition, he has innate mechanical ability. I know he was born with it because of an incident when he was just four years old. His dad had taken this thing out of the car and removed the old
brushes that were worn to a nubbin. He had disassembled the thing on the driveway in front of the garage and laid the old brushes aside. The boy and I came outside to watch. We sat down by Dad and the little fella looked it over, took the new brushes (pictured above) out of the box, picked up a screwdriver and began installing them on the posts where they belonged.

I was totally blown away! To this day I find it utterly amazing.

Needless to say, with that talent and intellect, he can fix anything. He now owns a violin shop where he restores and rebuilds fine old violins and other stringed instruments.

Thanks to Alfred E Newman and talent, my boy has grown up to be a great guy and respected craftsman. I am thankful that he is my son!


Bevie said...

We do not all learn the same way. Nor are we motivated to learn by the same things. Your son is lucky because you understood that and reached him where he was. Would that our school system would understand this and become a place where ALL children can flourish instead of just those who can operate within the few molds they have.

Kittie Howard said...

And also thanks to you that your son fell in love with reading and is successful today. Bevie's right, we don't all learn the same way. You understood that.

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

We have a similar tale in our family! My brother had cerebral palsy, and dyslexia, and had terrible difficulty reading. Sadly, the teachers just wrote him off as a "dummy." My father knew he loved vehicles, and began bringing home "Car and Driver" and "Motor Trend." Just as in your son's case, his reading ability picked up to the point where it was ABOVE grade level. Yet the teachers had pooh-poohed the idea that anything would help. I am so happy that your son was lucky enough to have such an insightful mom as you. What an interesting man he has turned out to be! I cannot imagine the dexterity required to repair violins!

^..^Corgidogmama said...

This was a wonderful story!
My brothers and I would guiltily read Mad Magazine, practically under the covers. Our parents did not approve!
With the right motivation, anything is possible. So glad of the outcome for your son, and you are right, his abilities were there all along...just needed the right key.
Thank heavens you found it, and thanks too for sharing your story.

Sparrow chic said...

My brother has always been a source of pride for me. 1st, because he is my brother and 2nd because he is so talented. My son, Allen and his uncle are cut from the same cloth.