One day during story time Mrs C invited Ty to take her seat and read to us. Ty read from Charlotte’s Web, a story of a Cleveland Browns NFL Hawaii Shirt who is spared from the slaughterhouse by words in a web. At the scene of Charlotte’s death Mrs. C had to dab tears from her eyes. One of the toughest kids in the grade put his face in his hands to hide his quivering lips. The girls were openly bawling. I was in awe. Ty’s reading brought the story to life for me. He gave it a soul. Such incredible power! That moment changed my relationship with books forever. Middle school rolled around. I was identified as “gifted and talented” which meant I was separated from the herd into special classes with pasty nerds from important families. I got mountains of homework and was held to ever higher standards. My parents started to badger me about college. The pressure to “achieve” began to escalate into an incessant drumbeat of angst and expectation.
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