The year is 2013, and I am 58 years old going nowhere fast. As I read through my local paper, the Western Leader, I see an advertisement about Waitakere Adult Literacy Inc. It is for people to up skill and, like me, who have poor spelling, reading and writing.
The next thing I am on the phone making an appointment for 28th September 2013. Some will say 13 is unlucky. Good thing I don’t believe that! As the 28th comes closer, my confidence goes backwards; will I go, won’t I go? Well, I did go and I met with a nice person for about 2 hours. Her name was Bernadette.
As I drove home after the appointment, I felt this huge weight had gone from me and that I had made a good move. My starting date was the 17.10.2013. For me, this was an all new beginning. I was beaming in my head.
As the time came closer, I started to get a bit nervous again and, for the first week or two, I was. Now I can’t wait to go each week. I want more and I enjoy talking to my family and friends about what I’m doing. After all, I am the only man alive to talk a glass eye to sleep, my good friend says! I have also enjoyed the way we learn from the teachers. They are warm and don’t put too much pressure on you or make you feel bad about what you are doing.
I have learnt to break down words so they are easier to spell. Counting the letters in words and spelling them out works for me. I enjoy writing about things, but more so, I enjoy writing small stories. Before coming to Literacy Waitakere, I had no confidence about putting pen to paper. People, who saw my bad writing and spelling, would point it out and put me down, instead of helping me. Were they my friends at all? As I got older I realized that I knew a lot of people, but only a handful were really my friends. Knowing that, I am a better person in my head and heart.
I came from a big family of five. My mother brought us up by herself, as my dad had gone. My mother had a lot of work to do with us five. She had to run the house and a business to put bread and butter on the table. I got left behind and forgotten about.
School was a hard place to be in the sixties. There were big classes of 40 or more and no one on one teaching. In a small town there could be 3 to 4 different age groups in the same class. So, if you were in the young age group, learning was too far above you.
But that was yesterday and this is now. Bring it on!