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My first reading memory is sitting in the corner of my family room sitting hiding behind the couch by my play kitchen and I taught myself to read. The letters on the page started making sense with the sounds of the words. I hadn't started kindergarten yet.
Then I went to school. Half days at East Auburn Elementary. I couldn't believe how mean the teacher was to kids who didn't understand.
Since I already knew my alphabet and knew how to count to 100 (and I think Mrs. VanRyan wanted to give me some purpose), I became Angie's assistant. Angie was completely paralyzed from the waist down and it was my job to lock and unlock her leg braces so she could get out of her chair and walk with her crutches.
With little regard for my social and emotional development.
I zoomed through school (incuding IQ testing and much questioning) until the decision was made to double-promote me from 2nd to 4th grade.
The next 5 years of my schooling were sad, lonely, isolating, and confusing. It's like everyone was playing a trick on me to see if school would be hard for me now. It wasn't. The only difference was that now I had no friends and I learned to hide my intelligence. For the next 18 years (including college), I sat in the back of the class, limited my participation in class, and perfected an 88% average in my high school classes.
Mrs. Purkhiser (2nd grade teacher) who would invite me to her house, making her Great Dane mind and giving me a sense of safety during a confusing time in my life.
But people saved me along the way.
Mrs. Zonker (4th grade teacher) who befriended me and became my ally in warding off the mean kids.
And Mrs. Slagell, who was my first principal in my professional career who respected my knowledge, skills, and abilities without making me feel like a spectacle.
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