December 12, 2005
The following story was written by D.H. Oakley, from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and is a student with the Halifax Community Learning Network. He has been studying in the Halifax North Public Library program for three years and currently attends tutoring once a week. After D.H. gets his high school diploma, he would like to become an adult literacy tutor.
I am in my late fifties and time just went so fast I don't know why. I guess time doesn't wait for anybody.
I was asked when I was sixteen why I didn't go to school. I never had an answer. We talked a lot about this where I was working. But I never realized they were trying to help me back then.
I tried so many times a night school. It seems that something would always come up, that it didn't last too long. I never realized that I had to learn how to read better. I could read some but not enough for the job I had. Until 1990 when I got a job with a company where I had to do the whole job. There was lots of blueprint reading.
I have been a tradesperson for over 30 years, and I hid my reading problem for a long time. I had an accident in 1997 that changed my life for the last 8 years. I haven't played any sports since the summer of 1998. I played in a baseball tournament in PEI. That was the last time I was active. I had to quit work in 1998. It made a big change in my life. I spent some time in the hospital and was taking lots of pills, and I still do. The Worker's Compensation Board sent me to some reading lessons. I didn't meet their requirements so they told me that I was too old to retrain. My reading wasn't up to their standards, so they put me on a long term disability pension.
In 2001 I came to the library to get some help and I'm still coming. The last three years have been excellent. I had and have a good tutor. I hope she can put up with me for some time to come. Coming to the library probably kept me alive because I was having lots of strange thoughts about doing something to myself. I don't think I would have done something because I'm a "big chicken".