Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dia de los Muertos Dyslexics

KW Farms
San Luis Valley, Colorado
Day of the Dead, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night
this Day of the Dead…
            And our internet connection was slow and kept getting cut off.   My email inbox was jammed with messages from customers who wondered if I’d gotten their order or why I hadn’t answered their emails.  “You seem not to be getting my messages,” one frustrated woman in Alamosa wrote. 
            I’d gotten her messages.  I’d gotten many messages, but I’d taken a few days break from my computer and was just getting back to it.  Aside from the frustrations common with technological advances, such as having internet connectivity issues, the amount of reading necessary to keep up with email can be flat overwhelming to a person with dyslexia like myself.  To be clear, I have never been diagnosed, since nobody tested for such a thing back when I was first encountering Dick and Jane in the early 1960’s.
            I think it is safe to say I have some kind of reading problem since I flunked four speed reading courses in my younger days.  Perhaps those of you with whom I do business via email and the internet will have more patience with me now that you know this, just as you wouldn’t run over a person having difficulty crossing an intersection. 
            I wish those crossing lights in Alamosa would be more patient.  Instead of counting down the seconds you have to make your way from one corner to the next they could enthuse and encourage: “WELCOME TO ALAMOSA.  TAKE YOUR TIME. HAVE A NICE DAY!” 
            It would improve everyone’s mood and put us in a generous frame of mind.  That’s how reading should be taught, too.  But, it didn’t happen that way in my case.  And maybe I don’t have dyslexia.  Maybe I’m just a victim of impatience and expectation.  I do read.  I’m just slow.  In part because I do take the time to relish words. 
            Just lately I’ve been reading letters my cousin Pam sent me that were written between our great grandparents when our great grandfather, Hermann Zander immigrated from Halberstadt to Milwaukee in 1891.  The letters took weeks to reach the recipient and were written in old German in painfully elegant script in fountain pen on both sides of tissue thin paper.  They were pages and pages of the most heartrending accounts of life – of loneliness, isolation, hunger, love. 
            The hardest thing to read was Hermann’s uncertainty that this was the right decision, to go so far away from family and friends, from anything familiar.  Times were tough in Europe, but reading between the lines, it really wasn’t that much better on the frontier.  Everything was just newer.
            The correspondence went on for two years while Hermann worked as a tailor and saved up for his wife and three young children’s passage.  Nine months after the Zander family was processed at Ellis Island, my grandmother Bertha Ella was born, a lighthearted girl, the expression of her parents’ happy reunion and hope for the future. 
            After pouring over these yellowing old letters and looking deep into poignantly posed photographs of my kinspeople, it is hard to shift back to reading emails. 
Queen Lily and her new brother
            And yet, thankfully for email we got word – within days – of the birth of our newest customer, Niels.  Born in Albuquerque, he is shown here with his proud sister Lily.  He is benefitting from his mother’s healthy diet and will, one day, have a more direct relationship with solid food.   
            Congratulations, Rachael and Ian!  And thank you for writing.

Much love,
Trudi Kretsinger