Hi my name is Jerome. This is my story of living with a secret. The secret is not knowing how to read and write.
When I was a young boy in elementary school I was teased a lot. We all went to regular class. I had to go to a special class, too, but I did not want anybody to see me. I snuck in the classroom.
All my school years I was hiding my secret. I would come in late. I would not want my sports mates to know my secret.
I graduated from high school still keeping my secret. The system pushed me out. I was terrified of looking for a job and filling out applications.
When I went to college, I played football still keeping my secret from everybody.
My first full-time job was working as an orderly in a convalescent home. A big part of my job was to write reports on my patients every day. How was I going to do that? I managed to do it for six months. Then my secret came out and I walked away embarrassed.
Two days later I found another job. I became a lead person for airplane sanitation. I was proud of my job. I let the years go by. I grew into a young adult and got married. I trusted my wife but as much as I wanted to, I could never ask her to help me. She never said anything so I am not sure if she knew my big secret.
Now I am divorced and suddenly I am put in the position of a single father. I have the responsibility to teach my son which I take very seriously. As time went on it became harder and harder to help him with his school work. With the help of my family supporting me, he learned to read and write very well.
I kept working, struggling with my problem. I knew I should stand up and ask for help. One day at the adult school, I picked up a card for the literacy program. I went home, looked at the number for a while and finally made the call. It was very emotional coming here. It was one of the best things I ever did in my life. It helped me face my problem. And it helped me find a job and get my license.
I am still struggling but it helped me to venture out to better myself. Even at my age it is never too late to feel reborn and I feel that it is something I should have done a long time ago. Someday, I want to be able to sit down with my grandkids and read to them. I like to give thanks to my family and my teacher.
Jerome. "My Big Secret." Our Words, Our Voices. Vol. 3. Hayward: Literacy Plus Council, 2015. 1-2. Print.