Settle in with a cuppa as our UK friends would say - be it coffee or tea - because this is going to be a long-assed post - as in 'Windy long' :>)) A good editor with a red pen could cut it down to half a page I am sure, but I do like to tell a story ... and sometimes, they are long winded stories ...
Frank grew up in the Canadian prairies, in the 50's and 60's, with much of his young life spent living on a farm. He is second eldest of eight kids. Reading was something you were expected to learn and do at school - it was not something there was a lot of time for at home where farm chores and helping with your siblings was the expected before and after school activities. It was also a time where there was not much understanding in the school system for children who might have what we now call learning disabilities. You were either held back or pushed forward and often negatively labelled.
I grew up a much older sister to four younger half brothers. My parents divorced when I was barely three. I ended up living with my Dad and eventually, my stepmom, my own mother residing hours away in another city. The void of being without my own mother and in the care of a very young step mother, who quickly had 4 children of her own, was filled by my maternal grandmother. I am eternally grateful for her love and care - I was at her house every school day for lunch and stayed with her at least one weekend a month. Born in Scotland, immigrating in her late teens, she went on to become a school teacher. Her volunteer job after retiring, was running our tiny local public library. Her small home was always filled with books as no book hit the library shelves without going through her hands first. She instilled in me a love of books and is the reason for my lifetime of being an avid reader.
When Frank and I met, our shared interest in music was one of the first things that drew us together ... me a 70's folkie and he a 60's rock and a country music guy. We both played guitar and sang - him much better than me, having fronted his own band as a lead singer for a couple years in his late teens. This shared interest was a big part of our lives. Due this focus, what I did not pay attention to at the time, was his lack of interest in anything to do with books or reading.
Once we were married and living together full-time, I began to notice a few things - especially with the normal practice couples have of leaving notes for one another. One of my younger brothers, going to school in a time where there was more information and focus on learning disabilities, had been diagnosed at a young age as having dyslexia. As a result I knew some of the symptoms and tells and began to recognize these with Frank. I also began to suspect his lack of interest in all things reading could also be a sign of a possible reading disability. I encouraged him, and to his credit, he followed through, to attend an Adult Literacy program where it was confirmed - he had dyslexia. He stayed in the program to it's end and although it helped, it never was enough to kindle an interest in reading.
So yes, a long winded explanation to say there has always been a disparity in our interests when it comes to reading and books. We would go away on vacation - me with a stack of books, him with a fishing rod. We would sit down in the evening - me with a book and him in front of the television. Once in awhile I would think it might be nice to sit down with my partner and have a good discussion about a book - but other than that occasional thought, I just accepted it as our way of life.
This is not to say Frank never reads - he gets and reads a digital newspaper daily and has done so for years. He reads magazines and occasionally will delve into a book but usually that ends up getting put aside before he finishes it. What happens is his need to focus on the mechanics of reading, interferes with his ability to 'get into' the book. Yes, he has tried audio books - he falls asleep. Yes, I have tried reading to him - he falls asleep .... and I don't usually know that until I hear him snoring :>))
So enter our foray into Blogland this time last year. As I made discoveries in various blogs I would forward those posts onto him to read. He would always read my blog posts and as a result also started to explore the various links in my accompanying blogroll. Eventually this turned our morning time practice of an hour in bed, cup of coffee in hand, reading blogs - almost every day.
One day in early January, as I came into the kitchen, Frank mentioned he had moved my iPad and in doing so noticed and read the book page that was open. He said he thought it was something he might like to read and asked how could he do that. I told him I could install the Kindle app on his tablet and download the book for him as it was purchased from Amazon allowing it to be re-downloaded and read on a different device. I set it all up for him, including the white on black print, as is my preferred reading option. He was fascinated by the dictionary and highlighting capabilities of the app as well.
Fast forward a week or so from then and we are on our way to our big city getaway. I noticed he read the entire time both waiting for and on the ferry. Our first stop was for an appointment I had. As we parked I asked if he was coming in with me. His response of 'no I'll wait in the car and read', had my heading swivelling in a double take .... 'okaaay' I thought ... and off I went. When I returned to the car and opened the door, I startled him. "That didn't take long", he said ... however, what he missed was I had been gone for at least a half an hour. I didn't say anything further but inside I was doing a happy little jig! .... my man had been reading ... immersed and absorbed in the story - so much that time disappeared!
Frank went on to finish that book, in what for him, was record time and three days ago asked me to download another in the series. I happily did so. He is reading more in the evenings instead of watching television which has me awed and amazed! ... my theory is, blogs and the stories often found in blogs, are relatively short - something he can stay absorbed in without losing his place. The daily practice of doing this reading for a year has improved his reading abilities to the extent he can now lose himself in the story in a full length book - something he has never been able to do before. In addition, in talking about it, we think the ability to read on a tablet with white lettering on a black background may also be helping.
Sitting companionably in silence in the evening, that blasted television turned off, both of us reading, is an unexpected pleasure - one I never thought would happen in our lives.
Thanks again, for dropping by ... nj & Frank