January 16, 2012
The following story was written by Debbie Manning, from Edmonton, Alberta. Debbie has recently been enrolled in a literacy program at P.A.L.S., in Edmonton.
I was born in 1959 and raised in the South end of Edmonton, Alberta. My dad was the part owner of an electrical wholesale company and my mom worked as a telephone operator. My grandma watched me and my brothers until I was 10 years old.
My mom had a very difficult time with me when I was born and they were worried about me right from the start. I was a sweet baby but just wasn’t developing the way I should have. My grandma took good care of me and watched me closely. My two brothers were born so things got very busy for her but I was a good little girl and didn’t give her much trouble.
It wasn’t until I started school that things got difficult. At first I was really excited about going to school, I wanted to learn everything. I had a very stern teacher in grade one who realized quickly that I was not learning as fast as the other students. She would push me till I cried and complained that I was not listening to her. I think she just did not understand my situation. At the end of the year I had to repeat grade one. Through the whole year I had been made to feel bad about myself. Failing the grade made me feel very stupid.
It wasn’t until I was in grade four that the school finally decided to put me in special classes. By then I didn’t like school much any ways. Kids in the special class got picked on and made fun of. My mom tried really hard to help me learn to defend my self. When some one was bugging me I learned to ask “So, are you perfect?” When they had to admit they weren’t I would tell them to leave me alone.
I always had a happy family. My brothers were good to me and my mom and dad were very supportive. My grandma loved me and I always knew that she thought the world of me. I had some very good friends who watched out for me and stuck up for me. I was lucky. Life was difficult but I was determined not to let it get me down. I worked hard to be nice to people and they would be nice back.
When I got out of school I worked for my dad at his business. Everybody there loved me and they were really good to me. After about a year I quit and went to work at a day care center. I wanted to get my own job and not be dependant on my dad.
I liked working at the daycare, most of the people there understood my limitations and helped me when I needed help. I did a good job for them and the kids loved me. Sometimes they didn’t want me to go home. I really loved working with the kids.
I could do almost everything the other workers did but I had trouble during reading time. I could kind of read the books but not as well as the other ladies. My boss decided she would not let me read the books to the kids. It hurt my feelings. I felt terrible about myself. I had worked there for almost 10 years yet I ended up quitting over the situation. It was awful and I hurt about it for a long time.
During this time I met my husband Ernie. He was working at the cafeteria in the building where we had the day care. He has special needs too but he reads better than I do. We got married in May of 1990. He could tell how upset I was. He said he saw it in my eyes. I am glad I married such a loving and wonderful man. He is always right there for me.