It took many years for me to learn to write and draw. It must have been something with the fine motor skills that developed unusually slowly. When I couldn’t write, nor read well, as I’d finished the second grade, I made a second round in second grade with new class mates, one year younger than me.
The new classmates considered me an imbecile, but at least I was stronger than any of them. They didn’t try to bully me. To be honest, it fit me much better than anyone understood back then. Already in first grade, I’d been bored by my childish classmates, and now these new ones were a full year more childish,
Having a good hearing memory, it soon was clear that I rememberd a great deal of what the previous teacher had told during class. There was no need for listening to the same stories once again.
Instead I got a great deal of special training in reading. I think they who come up with this idea were perfectly right. For about half-a-year, or maybe even longer, we concentrated on reading up - to the point when I had a reading skill comparable with the fastest readers in my new class. First then, towards spring my third school year, I started to write - almost of my own will.
By then I had a clear picture of what written words ought to look like. I didn’t master that art. I haven’t still. But instead of trying to reproduce one letter after the other, to words whose spelling I often had been unsure of, I now tried to reproduce words that I by then knew rather well. My handwriting still looked awful, but I’d made obvious progress, and I also started using paper and pencil when doing maths. Until then I’d done all calculation in the head.
Third and forth grade were rather eventless. We started learning English, and my bad handwriting was still a problem that held me back. I could barely read what I’d written myself. And I wasn’t clever enough to realize that I ought to have utilized the same method once again: concentrated on reading until I’d memorized what the words should look like when written.
After the forth grade my family moved back to my parents’ country of origin. Now my parents thought that fifteen years abroad was enough. Their own parents, and a belowed aunt, had started to get old and they wanted to live closer by. The new language was no serious obstacle. We’d always had pretty much contact with relatives both abroad and “back home.” I’d always heard it, even if I didn’t understand too much.
And to my great luck the teachers back home were of a strictly professional kind.
In order to get me time to master the new language, I was once again “repeating” a grade, this time the fourht grade. And so my classmates now were two years younger than me.
If I’d had any difficulties in school before, they were now almost only a memory.
My terrible handwriting remained, and after about half a year my teacher asked if I wanted to go to type writing lessons. That was a matter that wasn’t easily organized, he explained. Type writing lessons were for seventh-graders and I was in the fourth. If he was to make an effort to convince collegues and headmasters, then I had to agree before he started making fuss about it.
(Furthermore, those pupils doing this voluntary typewriting were mostly the less intelligent kind of girls who opted for employment with simplier desk work. I mustn’t believe, my teacher empasized, that I had limited choices like them.)
This was before the era of home computers and cell phones. I hadn’t come to think of anything like typewriters myself, and had no ideas about possible pros and cons. So, somewhat doubful I forwarded the question to my father, who said it was a splendid idea, and that he always had wished he had learned how to typewrite himself. Anyway, I agreed with the teacher.
As it turned out, I started going to typewriting lessons first when the 5th grade started, and I found myself in a group of girls of my own age. In some ways, I enjoyed their company. I felt slightly less like an alien in their group. And they were obviously curious about me in a rather respectful way.
Typewriting lessons aren’t the right place for socializing. You have to concentrate 100% - all the time. So, in fact, we never had much time for small talk, and I never made friends with any of them. But in a strange way they gave me a hope that school will get better and more interesting in the higher grades.
In that winter the school bought a couple of electrical typewriters to replace old ones in the teachers’ common room. And what was to be made of the replaced typewriters? The janitor, who was my friend, was angry whith the heavy things he was supposed to stash away. Not for the sake of their weight, but would they ever again be needed? I offered to help him out. I could stash away one of them in my room at home.
Of course he hadn’t the guts to give the typewriter to me right away. But he told the typewriting teacher, who may have encouraged him, then he went to the headmaster’s assistant. The result: I didn’t get the typewriter as a gift, but I could borrow it until they needed it again - which probably would be never.
As a teenager, I then had my own may of driving my parents nuts.
I started to write, to typewrite that is, all of my school work and lots and lots of other writings, that I proofread, corrected and then wrote once again.