Never to old to learn

I was four, soon to be five in October. School would be starting up the day after Labor Day and I was eager to start school but scared to have my vaccination. I wanted to have the circle on my arm that the vaccination left from the scaring. All the kids that were in school had them. Other kids told me that the shot hurt but I wanted it anyway and wanted to go to school.

I was a tiny child. Most all the students and the teachers seemed to like me. How could anyone not like a little girl? I was cute but very shy. From kinder garden to the fifth grade went quite well, although; my grades were not that good.

In the fifth grade, school became harder for me. I could not concentrate in the class and if I did know the answer to a question, I was to shy to raise my hand. I was very sick that year with childhood diseases. Mumps, measles, chicken pox, you name it, I had it.

I missed a lot of school. At the end of the school year, all the classes in the school would go on a picnic. That would also be the last day of school. While playing with some of the other kids at the picnic, my teacher called me over to her. She told me that because I had missed so much school that year, I would have to stay back. She said my grades were just to low.

I was crushed and embarrassed. I didn't want any of the other kids to know that I would not be in the same class as they were the following year. I hated to return to school the following fall. I felt that all the kids would laugh and make fun of me. I felt cheated.

I wasn't fair. I couldn't help it if I was sick and couldn't go to school. I made it through the fifth grade this time and now I would finally go on to the sixth. In the sixth grade, some of the older kids would make fun of me for the way that I dressed and the shoes that I wore.

Our family was very poor and my dad had eight mouths to feed. We were lucky to have hand me downs to wear. Most of my clothes didn't fit and were outdated. My shoes were too big or too small.

At the beginning of the year, I would get a new outfit and a new pair of tennis shoes. When those were worn out, I would have to wear what ever people would give me. There were days that I would not want to ride the bus home after school.

The other kids would pick on me and I would walk home crying by myself. In the seventh grade, I struggled to learn. I really didn't like school much then. I wished that I could have quit. Two of my teachers helped me in two different subjects.

My math teacher would spend more time with me and I liked him. My grades really improved and I felt better about school. I baby sat all I could on week-ends to make money to buy some nicer clothes. I wanted to fit in with the other students. I wanted friends and didn't want to be made fun of anymore.

My mother had to go to the hospital to have surgery. My two younger sisters were not yet in school. Dad had no one to care for them while my mother was gone. I stayed home from school to care for them so my dad could work. After Mom returned back home and was able to care for my sisters, I returned back to school. I had missed more days than I should have but had my cousin to get me my homework so I could study at home.

I tried not getting too far behind; I did not want to stay back another year. Mom got better but then she left us. Dad, again, could not care for the youngest sisters. I stayed home from school once again to care for them. I missed so much school that even with doing homework at home, my grades suffered. I was told that I would not pass the seventh grade and would have to stay back another year.

My family and I would now be separated. I was to go to a foster home in a new town. I would have to start seventh grade again in a new school. School was better there. No one knew me so no one would make fun of me for having to stay back. I now had some new clothes that were up to date.

No more shoes that didn't fit. I became more interesting in learning and liked to write stories. I would make them up but had trouble with the spelling. When I didn't know a word, I would get out the dictionary and find the word. My spelling improved greatly. Eighth grade.

One more year before high school. I had planned to really study hard so I could go to high school. My grades were good in the eight and I now was going on to high school. First year in high school I studies hard.

It wasn't as easy for me like it was for some of the other students. I had to study all the time. I felt that I must be dumb. I couldn't quite grasp things like the other students could. In my foster home, I had to do choirs each day, before school and after. After supper I would have to help clean up supper and then study.

There was never any time to watch TV or do fun things. One day I was beaten by a young man that was then living in the home. I was being moved to another home in another town. It was in the middle of the school year. I felt that I couldn't go to school anymore. I was 17 and I was old enough to quit.

I never went back. Many, many, years later. I was now 49 years old.

My place of employment for years was now closing the doors. I was out of a job. I needed a high school diploma to get any decent job with decent pay. There were not many jobs available at that time. I was given the option to go back to school and get my GED so I could find a better job. I thought this was crazy at my age to have to go to school.

It was hard enough for me in school growing up; this would be twice as hard now that I was older. I decided to try. I studies all the time and as soon as I could, I took the test. I passed the test and got my GED. I was so proud.

I was told then that I should consider going on to college. I just couldn't see myself going to college, a dream that I had growing up but not now at my age. My husband encouraged me to go.

I decided to try it for one semester to see how it went. It was difficult at first. I felt strange with all the younger people, I felt like I did not belong there. Some of the younger students would ask me about things that I had seen and places that I had been. I felt that I had something to offer them with my age and my years of experience. While I was in college, I started writing a book.

I graduated and got my book published in 2005. Do you think you are too old to learn? I did at first but then realized that I was hungry for knowledge. I wanted to learn more than it seemed my brain would let me take in. I feel that I have accomplished a great deal in the past five years of my life.

I want to continue to learn all I can. You are never too old to learn so jump in there and go for it. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish if you want to badly enough. learning, age disabilities, accomplishments, abuse, education, experiences, knowledge, books .

By: Phyllis Benton


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