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  1. #1
    martha shmokler

    rewrite per your helpis it ok now?

    Hi All, I moved some of my info from chapter one to chapter 4.
    I will take out the chapter one info and move it to wherever I can add to it unless I misunderstood. Please let me know.
    thanks so much Martha
    Chapter 4 MOM IN NEED
    After reading one of Rachel’s letters, I felt that she had a reading difficulty. I did not know that science was a challenge to her because of her comprehension.
    Rachel wrote,
    “And Mr. D. asked me if I wanted to read at science, and I said no! I don’t know how to read most of those words. I’m worried about it, because the kids will say Rachel can’t read. “
    I did not know that reading most books was a barrier to her full participation in class, or that she was worried that other kids would make fun of her reading. I realized Rachel had needs and work to do. I had to find help for my daughter.
    All three of my daughters are premature babies and have normal happy lives. My eldest daughter, Erin, is now attending middle school. My youngest, Michelle, is a first grader now.
    As a first grader, Erin loved to read. Reading is still one of her favorite things to do. Sometimes I had to yell,
    “ ERIN! Close the book we are going to eat supper now. “
    “k ok mom!”
    Michelle is just learning to read.
    “Michelle are you reading your homework? “
    “No mom I will do it later.”
    “How about I read your homework books to you or I read a story book to you? Or you can read anything to me.”
    “It’s ok mom, later”

    Then I thought of how Rachel was opening up to Mr. Bear. I secretly hoped that I could have a Mr. Bear, to write. I needed someone to respond and understand me. I am not sure how I had never seen that the bear was just an extension of Mr. D.. I felt so lucky that he was in Rachel’s life, and I wanted him in my life, too.

    The next morning I went to my daughter’s school with determination. I asked to speak to her teachers from past years and tried to get to her current year teachers. I wanted to ask if they could remember if Rachel was extra quiet and nonparticipating which had nothing to do with shyness. I kept getting the same answer from all her teachers:
    “There is nothing wrong with Rachel. You, mom, have a problem; your daughter is fine.”
    My head was spinning from no air; my stomach was bloated with all of the words I must have digested instead of blurting out and saying,
    “Help me!” I am so frustrated!”
    When I left my daughter’s school, I knew I had a school problem. I had many problems. I have grown up with many undiagnosed learning disabilities myself. I was constantly playing catch up; school had always been a challenge for me. I had a flashback to my high school English class.
    I tried to listen to the story Mr. Shelton (English teacher) was reading to us. I couldn’t hear and my eyes flew into the sockets of watershed waiting to happen. I heard words but did not understand. I looked at my friends who were laughing along with Mr. Shelton.
    Mr. Shelton said “Ok, Martha what do you think the author wrote about and why was it funny?”
    My eyes got wide, my stomach fluttered, my body turned stiff and my face went from pale to red. I could not speak the words. I was so embarrassed and whispered, “I don’t know.”
    “Sure you can take a guess,” said Mr. Shelton as he smiled a wink at me. My eyes welled up, flushed, my cheeks were all red. My head bowed, and I waited for the class to end.
    Math was my next class. The teacher told me to come to the blackboard and write down my equation.
    “Write bigger no one can see it,” said the math teacher.
    I had no idea about math and hated it.
    “I don’t know,” I said.
    “Try it.” the math teacher said.
    “I did and I don’t understand.” I whined. I was red with embarrassment and was glad the end of class bell rang.
    During high school years, there was a conference with me, my mom, and
    Mrs. L. (the guidance counselor). Ms. L. asked me to sit a few feet away from her and my mom. She told my mom, “Martha is an average person. She would never be a writer even though Mr. Shelton told her she would be able to do so.” I heard every word and bowed my head. It was all I could do to keep myself from crying and letting the counselor get to me.
    I was so angry. The next semester I worked hard. I did extra credit and received all A’s and B’s on my report card. I smiled and thought
    “Ha! I did it! Mrs. Counselor, I can be better than average!”
    After the next grading period, I did not want to do all that extra credit work. It was too hard, I just thought”I can’t” and then I became “Average Martha ”.
    I hated school.
    I told my mom and dad, “I am NEVER going to college; I hate school.”
    They said, “Ok, then you either go to college or get a job when you graduate from high school.”
    I ended up working for the Government for three years and and then went to college. I received my bachelor’s of science in Early Childhood Education.

    After reliving my high school days for a moment, I wondered if I bequeathed this long and torturous inheritance onto Rachel. Would she have the same life I had?

    I felt better knowing that there was a comforting presence in my daughter’s life. It was the ragged bear that seemed to be warm, kind, and protective. I realized I needed protection too; therefore, I decided to write to Mr. Bear.
    I wrote and communicated all of my feelings to Ben Bear #8. As Ben/Binny was real to Rachel, he became real to me also. I was really writing a journal, letting out my feelings and having some peace. Mr. Bear/D never wrote back to me at first. A few letters later, my anxiety relaxed and I had figured out some of the issues for myself and grew emotionally.

  2. #2
    Live an' Laugh

    Re: rewrite per your helpis it ok now?

    Right from the off, I noticed you used "read" (or some form of it) a lot. It hindered the flow of words, and I stopped reading. When I went back later and finished the excerpt, I was a little confused. Flashbacks? And, to be honest, why do we care about this mother/and her kids?

    "I wanted to ask if they could remember if Rachel was extra quiet and nonparticipating which had nothing to do with shyness." This got me. What?

    With more work, this could be good. I understand about learning disabilities, myself having slight dyslexia, having dealt with ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder as a child. Keep at it!

    Yours, Live an' Laugh.

  3. #3
    cara k

    Re: rewrite per your helpis it ok now?

    Live an' Laugh--

    Martha had posted a week or two ago, explaining the premise. This isn't fiction. Martha really is the mother and the kids are really her kids.


    Don't forget, not everyone reads every post, so it might be a good idea to give a little background when you post yours. This still needs a lot of work. I understand why you put the flashback in; you wonder if the trouble in school has been passed down from mother to daughter. Some of the dialogue should be summarized instead, imo. That includes the part regarding your girls' and their reading habits. Something like, "Sometimes I had to yell at Erin to stop reading and join us for dinner. Michelle, on the other hand, avoided reading at all costs. She didn't even want me reading to her." Just an example.
    Keep it up, Martha, and work on tightening up the grammar.

    --Cara K

  4. #4
    cara k

    Re: rewrite per your helpis it ok now?

    I forgot to mention, the part about your interest in the bear and in Mr. D. was a little strange. Is there a happily-ever-after here? If not, I wonder if it is necessary to the story. Especially since this is nonfiction, and you are trying to promote a worthwhile educational tool, you don't want to come off as a woman with a crush. (I'm not implying that you are, but others might misinterpret your well-meaning comments.)


  5. #5
    Gregory White

    Re: rewrite per your helpis it ok now?

    Martha, what is the main theme of your entire story. Do you have a synopsis of it you could share?

    With the pieces you've offered for critique, I am wondering if they are a part of a much larger problem? If not, I am wondering why the average reader would want to read about any of this?


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