Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ninety-eight Plus One

(He ate every shrimp and candied walnut and left the weeds. Which was good, because it allowed him room for an ice cream sundae.)

At lunch today, my grandpa started talking about how he'd had to learn English upon coming to America. Though his stories have become a bit longer in recent years, with more frequent sidetracks and occasional lost trains of thought, I do enjoy them. And since I'm studying to teach English as a Second Language, I took a particular interest in this story.

He said he learned to read and write at school, but it was the really good words that he picked up on the street. Later, back at his apartment, Bryan noticed a misspelling on a family tree he'd created a couple decades ago. His spelling was never terrific, but he's always gotten along fine. It's the story of most American immigrants. You may never achieve native-like fluency--either in your language or your cultural lifestyle--but because we are a country of immigrants, you belong.

1 comment:

Mom said...

I enjoyed both of your posts about Grandpa; he's sure seen and done a lot in his 98 years. May we all be as happy and healthy as he is, no matter how many years we get!