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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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My Mom Can't Read (Or Write).
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rated "G" by the Author.

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           >> View all 7,357

A boy is embarrassed to have a mother who cannot read or write.

Image (C) 2009, Karla Dorman.

Y'know, I am glad I can read.

My mother, on the other hand, can't.  It's really handicapped her in a big way.  She gets lost easily because she can't read the signs, and then, when she tries to call home, she often dials the wrong number; then she starts crying and has to have someone help her.

That must really be awful.  My mom came here from Kenya, unable to read/write.  She married my dad, an American, and this was how mom came here, ten years ago; however, she never did learn to read/write.  I guess she felt she didn't have to learn; now she's starting to see the results of her "disability".  It's really made her life a living nightmare.

Every night, I have to read to her, be it one of my own books, or one of my little sister's Dr. Seuss books; yet I'm wondering if the words/stories mean anything to her. 

Whenever we go to the store, mom asks dad what the packages say; she knows what an item is more by looks than by words or what's printed on the packages.  Or whenever we go to the doctor's office, I have to go with her (on non-school days) to help her with the forms because she can't read them.  People stare at us like we're some strange space creatures, and I get very uncomfortable explaining that my mom can't read.

She never learned to read growing up in Africa, never went to school.  Mom is uneducated, illiterate.  It's really sad if you think about it because it's really hampered her world.  She stays home and takes care of the babies (us, meaning me and my little sister, who's two), or, if she does go anywhere, she has to have someone go with her or else she could get lost or mixed up.

I often wish mom would learn to read; it would save her (and us) a lot of headaches!!

Mom could get a job, but then again, in order to fill out the job applications, you have to read the forms and then fill out the questions.  Mom can't do that.  She can't even read words like "cat", "big", or "the". 

I don't know what's going to happen to her if her husband (my dad), or one of us kids die; she would be up the creek without a paddle!  I often worry about this, and it's frustrating to have to explain to my kids why mom is the way she is:  goofy-headed. 

I know in a sense it's her fault, but at the same time, I wish there was a way we could help her change her mind about words or reading!  She would really be doing herself a favor if she learned how to read or write!!  It's like she's the kid and I'm the parent!

*to be continued.*  

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Reviewed by amanda breeds 12/8/2013
My mother is 59 she cant read,its very frustrating especially when your the one who has to explain every single detail.My father has just past away my mother has never paid a bill shes been a sitting pretty lady for the past 40 years.We're all grown & got family of our own & its worrying,everyone should know how to read or write,its a survival skill im looking into teaching my mother to read,i know it'l be hard work but it will be worth it for us as a family.
Reviewed by kg cummings 2/25/2010
this story raises many questions in my mind on many levels. I look forward to another installment. Hugs from frosty florida! Kathy
Reviewed by Mark Lichterman 2/24/2010
I get the impression that she, the mother, doesn't want to know how to read and, after living in America for ten years, I cannot understand why she wouldn't want to learn how to read.
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 2/24/2010
Reading lately that the Taliban will kill the father of the children that go to school. Illiteracy can also been forced upon.


Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 2/23/2010
I could not imagine not being able to read or write, well done though
In Christs Love
Reviewed by Mary Grace Patterson 2/23/2010
It would beA good idea for mom to learn to read . There programs available to help. A great topic Karen!!!!...M
Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 2/23/2010
Send your mother to night school, she's not disabled, just ignorant! Patrick
Reviewed by Paul Berube 2/23/2010
I agree; I couldn't even begin to imagine not being able to read or write. Well told, Karen. God bless.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 2/23/2010
I can't imagine a world without knowing how to read ... or write. You've penned an effective hidden disability that affects more than we know ... well done, Karen.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Rose Rideout 2/23/2010
I am very close to someone who could never learn to read, but this person has worked hard through the years,raised and fully supported a family, bought a beautiful home and travelled the world alone. This person educated himself with a wealth of information of where he's been. He has spoken on this handicap to crowds and people walk away and wonder where did he go to school because of his intelligents. Most people in this situation would tend to stay to themselves and be too nervous to go out and about, a sad life to miss out on so much beauty. A great write Karen.

Newfie Hugs are on the way, Rose
Reviewed by Cindy Tuttle 2/23/2010
It must be really hard not to be able to read. Another great story Karen. Thanks.
With Love,

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