Friday, June 17, 2005

"Was Harvey Dyslexic?"

"Was Harvey dyslexic?"

The question crackled to me over a walkie-talkie, from the Opus 40 gift shop.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, he was," I said. "But why....?"

"Some visitors just asked," Sue said over the walkie-talkie. "You should come and talk to them."

It was a family, a mom and kids, including a ten-year-old boy. The mother asked, "Has anyone ever asked you that before?" I said no, this was a first. She explained that her son was dyslexic, and that he too was a talented sculptor.

Harvey was lightly dyslexic, and reading was a slow process for him. This gave rise to one of my beloved childhood memories. In the evening, Barbara and Harvey would sit upstairs, next to the big picture window overlooking Opus 40, and she would read to him: Gods, Graves and Scholars by C. W. Ceram (the pseudonym for his friend and neighbor Kurt Marek), Kon-Tiki and Aku-Aku by Thor Heyedahl, Stonehenge Decoded by Gerald S. Hawkins and John B. White, the historical novels of Mary Renault and Mika Waltari. And spoofs on history, like 1066 and all that: A memorable history of England, comprising all the parts you can remember including one hundred and three good things, five bad kings and two genuine dates by Walter Carruthers Sellar, and The Weans by Robert Nathan.

I wish all the luck in the world to the young dyslexic sculptor and his nurturing family.

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