Sei sulla pagina 1di 6

McNamara1

LydiaMcNamara
EmiliaGrant
UWRT1103
September10th,2014
LiteracyinThreeVignettes
Growingupmyparentsplayedaverysignificantroleinmyliteracy.FromthetimeI
wasborntillIlearnedtotalkmyparentsencouragedmetospeak.Theywouldavidlyspeak
andlistentome,urgingmetocommunicateproperly.Mymotherwouldarticulatecertain
soundstomesuchas,ah,ah,ah,ba,ba,ba,whilechangingmydiaper.Icouldarticulate
andmanipulatesoundsextremelywellbythetimeIwasayearold.Mymothertoldmea
storyabouthowwewereatafriendshouseaboutwhenIwasayearold,andtherewas
fruitonthetable.Thefamilywewerewithhasadaughtertwomonthsolderthanmeand
shespokewhatistobeconsiderednormalbabytalk,askinginbabylanguagefora
pieceoffruit.Iontheotherhand,communicatedveryclearly,Iwantcantaloupe.
Mymotheralsocontributedtomyliteracybyreadingtome.AsfarbackasIcan
remembermymomreadtomeeverynightbeforeIwenttosleep.Shewouldreadallkinds
ofbookstome.WhenIwasyoungeritincludedbookslikeGoodNightMoonandtheBig
RedBarn,whichevolvedintotheLittleGoldenStorybooks,andVerde,oneofmyfavorites
aboutasnake.AsIgotolderoneofbestbooksIcanremembermymomreadingtome
wasHarryPotter.ThisreallygotmeintolovingthegenreIreadtoday,YoungAdultFantasy
Fiction.
McNamara2
Oneotherhighlyrecognizablesourceofmyliteracywasmysecondgradeteacher.I
attendedFairviewElementarySchoolinFairviewNorthCarolina,andmysecondgrade
teachersnamewasMrs.Goins.MyfirstgradeteacherwasnotaverynicepersonandI
thinkshetraumatizedmeabit,makingmenotwanttoread,write,ordomath.However,
Mrs.Goinstaughtmetoloveschoolandbooksagain.ShewouldreadusMagicTree
Housebookseveryday,andthatwasalwaysthebestpartoftheday.Shealsogaveextra
attentiontomeandafewotherstudentsthatneededitwithafterschooltutoring.Because
ofMrs.GoinsIstartedtowanttoreadbooksonmyownandnotjustbecauseitwas
requiredbytheteacher.ThisisapointintimewhenItrulyremembermyloveforreading
emerge.
AnotherexperiencethatgreatlyincreasedmyliteracywastakingAPUnitedStates
Historymysenioryear.ThisclassgreatlyinfluencedthewayIreadandabsorbed
information.IhadtolearnnewandbetterwaystoretaintheinformationIreadandlearned
inclass.Ialsohadtolearnhowtowriteinformativeessays,givingspecificsupporting
informationoffthetopofmyheadinatimedsetting.LookingbackIreallydidenjoythe
class,andalthoughImaynothavelikedtheworkload,Idoappreciatetheleveltowhichmy
literacywasimproved.
Bothofmymother'sparentscamefromfarmingmountainbackgrounds.Mygreat
grandparents,grandfathersparents,LydiaandToneyRaymadetheirlivingworkingthe
landinTennessee.Backintheearly1900stheydidnothavethetypesofeducationthey
dotodayyouwenttotheschoolhousewhereallthechildrenwereinoneroom,andyou
gottheminimumeducation.Mygreatgrandparentsnevergraduatedhighschoolandgot
McNamara3
marriedwhentheywereveryyoung,intheirteens.Theythenhadfivechildrenwhoallgrew
uponthefarm.Theyworkedveryhardsellingtobaccoandmilk,alsolivingoffthefarm
makingbutter,killingbeef,chicken,andpork.Thissideofmyfamilywereextremelybigon
educationbecausetheyneverhadachancetogetitforthemselves.Theyendedupputting
alloftheirchildrenthroughschoolandcollege,includingmymother'sfather.Hewasahigh
schoolteacher.
Mygrandmotherparentsonmymotherssideofthefamilywasverysimilar.They
livedinVirginiaandmadetheirlivingofftobaccoandmilkaswell,alsolivingofftheland.
RuthandWalterYoungwerenotasbigoneducationastheRaysandtheyhadplannedfor
mygrandmother,Bettytomarryalocalfarmboyandtakeoverthefarmseeingasshewas
theoldestofsixchildren.However,shedecidedthatshewasnotgoingtoworkthefarmfor
therestofherlifeandendedupattendingEastTennesseeStateCollege,nowEast
TennesseeStateUniversity.Whensheleftforcollegehergrandfathergavehertwenty
dollarstobuyshoes,askirt,adress,andacoat,andthatswhatsheworetoschool.She
alsobecameateacherofelementaryschoolchildren.Itwasincollegeshemetmy
grandfather.
Bothofmygrandparentsonmymotherssidewereschoolteachers.Education
washighlyprizedinmymothersfamily.Mygrandfather,RoyalRay,wasmainlyjustlooking
forajobtogetoutofthefarminglifeandteachingwasagoodwaytodothatandmakea
decentliving.Mygrandmotherhowever,hadarealpassionforeducationandhelping
children.Herfavoritegradetoteachwasthefifthgrade.Becausemymothercamefroma
familyofeducators,thatinfluencedherliteracy,whichinturnhadaveryheavyinfluenceon
McNamara4
myliteracy.WhenIwasgrowingupmygrandfatherboughtmealotofgoodbooks,music,
andartwhichalsohadasignificantimpactonmyoverallliteracyandculture.
Myfather'sfamilywereallimmigrants.HisfathersfamilyfromIreland,andhis
mothersfamilyfromswedenandGermany.Mygrandfatheristheoldestoffourchildren
wholivedinasmallapartmentinWashingtonD.C.withhisparentsanduncles.Hisfather,
mygreatgrandfather,wasaprofessionalboxerandattorney,andhismother,mygreat
grandmother,wasastayathomemom.Whenmygrandfatherwasseventeenheliedabout
hisagetogetintothearmy,leavingschoolfortwoyearswhilehewasoverseasinthe
Philippines.Hewastheonlyoneinthefamilywhowenttocollegeandheputhimself
throughwiththepassingoftheG.I.Bill.Schoolissomethingveryimportanttomy
grandfatherandhewasabletoputallofhisfivechildrenthroughprivateCatholicschool,
andthreeoutoffivethroughcollege.
MyfathersmotheralsogrewupinWashingtonD.C.Hermother,mygreat
grandmother,cametoAmericawithaSwedishfamilyasagovernesswhenshewas
eighteenyearsold.Herfather,mygreatgrandfather,cametoAmericaduringtheriseof
HitlertoescapethewarinGermany.Growingupmygrandmotherhadtoquitschoolwhen
herfatherbecameveryill,andshehadtoworktoprovideforthefamily.Sheendedupina
jobthatmademoremoneythanherfriendswhohadgraduatedhighschoolandwentonto
getcollegedegrees.Herperceptiononeducationisthatitsimportantbutnotnecessarilya
necessity.Sheismoreofacreativefreespirittypeofperson,andIthinkthistrait
influencedmyfatherinhisliteracy.
McNamara5
Myfatherdidntgetacollegedegree,andhehasdyslexia,soreadingwasandisa
littlebitofastruggleforhim.However,becauseofthishebecameliterateinmanyother
thingssuchascooking,construction,plumbing,electrical,flyingplanes,fixingcars,building
cabinets,perminghair,andrunningabusinessandarestaurant.Ilearnedhowtobe
literateinmanyoftheeverydaynecessitiesthatonemightneedtoknowfrommydad.I
learnedtotryanddothingsmyselffrommydad.Ibecameliterateincookingandpainting
frommydad.Hehasgreatinfluenceonmycommonknowledgeabouttheworld.
Bothofmyparentsbackgroundsinfluencedthemwhichinturninfluencedme.My
motherismoreofascholarbecauseherparentswereschoolteachers.Sheisinschool
rightnowandisprobablyoneofthesmartestpeopleIknow.Myfatherismoreliteratein
realworldsituationsandhowtodealwiththem,becausehisparentsencouragedhimtodo
whatheloved,notjustgetaneducation.Hecandoanything,fixanything,learnanything.He
isalsooneofthesmartestpeopleIknow.IfIwasstuckonanislandIwouldwantmy
parentswithmebecausebetweenthethreeofuswecouldfigureoutawaytoeither
escapeorsurvive.
Myliteracyinreadingandschoolingeneralcamemorefrommymom.Havingher
readtomewhenIwasyoungerandwatchingherdoverywellinschoolwhilestillhavinga
familytotakecareofwhenIwasolder,influencedmyliteracyandgavemethedrivetodo
thebestIcando.Mycreativehandsonliteracycamemorefrommydad.Watchinghim
growingupwasalotdifferentthanwatchingmymom.Hetookmeonplanerideswhen
whenhewaslearninghowtofly,hewouldletmepaintandhammernailswhenhewas
buildingthings.Healreadyknewhowtoplaytheharmonicaandsaxaphone,butIwatched
McNamara6
himteachhimselfhowtoplaytheguitar,whichinturninfluencedmetowanttolearnthe
fluteandguitar.Ialsowatchedhimteachhimselfhowtopaintandfixcars.Havingan
influencelikethisaffectedmyliteracyinthefactthatitmademerealizeIcanlearntodo
anythingIwant,andIcandoitmyself.
ManyotherthingsthatIcameincontactwithgrowingupdidimpactmyliteracy,butI
thinkthatmyfamilyhistoryhadthebiggestimpactonme.Ithinkthatistrueofeveryone
though.Ourfamilyhistoryandbackgroundinfluencesusinwaysthatwedontevenrealize.
Iamluckyinthefactthatmyparentsarealivetotellmeaboutmyhistory,andthatmy
fathersparentsarestillaliveformetoaskquestions.Ourliteracyissomethingthat
developsovertimeandkeepsdevelopinguntilwedie.