Proof of When I Couldn’t Write

I can’t remember not knowing how to read. But I have proof positive that I had to learn to write. In the back of my mother’s old Betty Crocker’s Good and Easy Cook Book (1954 edition), the index is covered in pencil scribbles. My pencil scribbles, circa 1958.

Sometime during my toddler-hood, I decided I should write like Mommy and Daddy did. So I found the nearest pencil and the nearest paper—this cook book. And while my mother was otherwise occupied, I wrote. I think my mother was on the phone when I began my writing career. I knew as I was scribbling in the cook book that I was being naughty.

I have wondered ever since I discovered the magic of erasers why she didn’t erase my pencil marks, but she preserved them for posterity. Perhaps out of affection for a daughter who wanted to write. Perhaps to preserve the evidence of my wrongdoing. Perhaps simply because she had too many other things to do.

Do you remember learning to read and write?


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