Skip to main content

Literacy Success Story #8

Literacy Success Story #8 - from the notes of a reading teacher working with illiterate adults. The year is 1989, and Barbara Bush, like so many dutiful first ladies, is pushing a big literacy campaign.

Student #122 - Doug, construction worker, Springfield, MO.

Doug, 23, came to the program to improve his reading so he could advance in the construction trade. He was a general laborer and needed to learn how to read plans and blueprints to have any chance of promotion. Doug drank a little and had recently become separated from his wife of five years and his two children. He was living on his own for the first time and fashioned himself as a bit of a ladies' man.

The program director took him on as a student until a good volunteer could step in, but since most of the good reading tutors were young women, it took a while. After three months of twice-weekly instruction, Doug was starting to make some progress, but his late night carousing was also starting to take its toll. He began canceling appointments.

It was at this time that a new reading tutor came along that was able to take over Doug's instruction. Diana was a tough biker chick that had been in the merchant marine and now tended bar at the Silver Leaf on Republic Road. She had dropped out of high school but had worked hard to pass the GED. She wanted to do something to help somebody and give something back.

Doug and Diana had been meeting for several weeks when the program director received a phone call from Doug. He was very upset. Apparently the tutoring sessions with Diana had gotten a little off topic, and he had somehow come down with a case of gonorrhea. Doug took this hard. His doctor had recommended an AIDS test as well, which scared the hell out of Doug given the fact that he'd fucked no fewer than a dozen women in the last three months - and he had to wait an excruciating two days for the test results.

To sum up, the test was negative, and Doug subsequently moved back in with his wife and kids, gave up drinking and found Jesus as his personal savior. Despite our best effort, Doug still couldn't read worth a damn, but the literacy program had once again yielded a stirring success story.

Comments

MC said…
Hilarious. And so sad and true.

By the way, do you know your page has some kind of fantasy worth? And yours is up!
RSmith said…
So I guess that means it's not totally worthless, though some might argue.

Thanks for the note.

Popular posts from this blog

The Self-Abduction of Tim Carpenter

It was right before Christmas back in 1998. If I remember correctly, the word character was being tossed around a lot by folks here in God's country. President Clinton was being skewered by a GOP-led special prosecutor about cum stains on a woman's dress, and Osama Bin Laden was establishing a nice foothold in Afghanistan. Locally, the George Revelle murder trial was going on, and police were working to find out who shot a local man five times and dumped his body in the downtown quarry.

That was the backdrop for a strange case of abduction on Springfield's south side. Tim Carpenter, associate pastor at James River Assembly, loving husband and father of two teenage girls, had come up missing. The founder of Christian Publishers Outlet and owner of Heir Press had failed to return home after a late night visit his Heir Press offices on south Campbell.

Police were sent to Heir Press the next morning only to find mysterious blood smatterings, a tan left shoe that belonged to Car…

Aunt Norma's Dark Past

I was thumbing through some old Springfieldians and came across an interesting article that delves into state senator Norma Champion's early days at KYTV as host of the Children's Hour. Champion parlayed her television notoriety into a city council seat and eventually defeated Craig Hosmer in 2002.

Her record as a legislator has been, arguably, one of the least distinguished and vacuous in southwest Missouri political history. You can read more about Aunt Norma at All About Norma.

Anyway, back to the crack investigative reporting on Aunt Norma from Issue #1 (Summer 1992) of the Springfieldian.

"Champion hosted the popular Saturday morning children's show "The Children's Hour", sharing the stage with puppets, pets and shy, embarrassed children.

". . . While Champion's service on City Council raised no question of character, a closer look at Champion's television years may reveal another side of the candidate. . . .The controversy centers around a…

Psychogenically Fugued Up

Here's part of Carpenter's long-distance phone conversation with Detective Hamilton on Christmas Eve :

TC: How did you get this number?
SPD: Tim, we need to talk to you.
TC: How did you find me?
SPD: We spoke with Melisa.

At this point, Hamilton noted a crack in Carpenter's voice (farewell sweet Melisa), and he paused for several seconds.

TC: Oh.
SPD: Tim, where have you been?
SPD: Tim, are you okay?
TC: I, uh . . . I, uh, don't remember.
SPD: You don't remember?
TC: No.

One needn't ask Tim Carpenter for his definition of hell. It began when he finally opened his apartment door to allow wife Carol and pastor Lindell into his secret refuge. According to Lindell, he "cowered like a wounded dog" and refused to recognize anyone. And then there was that long, dark drive back home to Springfield from Memphis during the wee hours of Christmas morning. Could that have been anything but hell on earth?

When Carpenter found out he was being taken to Cox North, he became very…