Rainy Days

Library time in primary school I remember as a fun, creative time.  It was scheduled just before lunch on Tuesday afternoons.  One of these afternoons when we were busy making craft with paper, glue and glitter it started to rain quite heavily.  As we were all having fun, I suggested to the library teacher that we leave the library open during lunch.  She, obviously not having as much fun as we, decided to go to lunch but she did say that if I took full responsibility for cleaning up the mess the doors could stay open and we could continue with our craft.  Needless to say that once the teacher left so did all enthusiasm for craft.  So we cleaned up and I read a story.  A few other kids came in and listened.  I read stories during the second half of lunch each day until Friday.  

The weather was fine on Monday and I noticed a boy, a year older than me, waiting outside the closed library door.  He asked me why I had stopped reading.  He said he wanted me to help him to read by himself.  I was not allowed to do this at school so each afternoon after school I walked to his house and we spent about an hour reading together; we did this for about two months.

His father came home early from work one afternoon and listened to us.  As I was about to leave for home he surprised me by asking if I could help him to learn to read and write.  For a further three months I helped first the son and then the father.  I then discovered that the father had applied for a promotion he had wanted for over a year and that he had been placed on a three month trial.  He was very grateful that I had helped him through the only obstacle that was preventing him from getting that promotion.

As the years went by I noticed that little by little his humble home was transformed from a tiny two bedroom to the much needed four bedroom home (I think there were six kids living there).  It is only recently, some decades later, that I have come to realise what that three months of reading and writing meant to that man and his family.