top of page

One Little Sugar Ant Made Up Her Mind to ..........ACHIEVE!!

Updated: May 27

Above: KA aged 11 with my 3rd broken arm in two uears, doing one of my nightly chores, gathering kindling and chopping some wood, one handed of course!!

I was born in the dusty Mallee town of Hopetoun with two invisible diseases dyslexia and autoimmune inflammatory Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. My other big disadvantage was that I was the fourth unwanted daughter of a Mallee farmer.

However, there is always light after dawn. And my greatest gift at birth was my sunny personality combined with my fierce determination.

When I had to repeat grade three because I could not read or write, I refused to be labelled a dumbo. So at eight years of age, I decided that, somehow; I had to make sense of this phonics and reading shit. But at home the only book we had was 'The Farmers Husbandry' which was kept under mum and dad's bed and forbidden for us four girls to look at it.

So that left me only the Sun and The Weekly Times papers that were delivered once a week from which to teach myself to read. I would sit at the kitchen table and stumble over the words whilst mum prepared our dinner, helping me when and how she could. Little by little, I recognised more of the often used words and things began to ever so slowly improve.

The other thing I needed to get a handle on was spelling. Every night the teacher in our little bush rural school gave us ten spelling words to be learnt for testing the following morning. I promised myself that in each spelling test I would accept nothing less than ten out of ten words correct. So, even though I still couldn't hear or work out phonics, I realised I had an excellent memory that helped me recall the shape of the word, and the beginning first three letters so over time, the rest, though still difficult, was doable.

By the end of that year, my reading and spelling had improved enough for me to go into grade four and by grade six I was achieving ten out of ten for my spelling and the rest is, as they say.....history.

Fast foreward to year twelve, when I had a teacher called Sister Mary A.... who saw it as her duty every Monday morning, in front of the class, to shred with vheminous glee, my essay homework that I had laboured over all weekend. Yes, I knew Iwas way behind the other girls in life experiences and general knowledge, because they were fortunate to have a more normal upbringing with caring parents, television, books and regular trips to the movies and even holidays by the sea. Although I worked hard to make my work more interesting, Sister Mary A still took delight in telling me over, and over again, in front of the whole class, that I was,..... an illiterate.

I would sit there and let her sadism dribble all over me. I would clamp my jaw tightly shut and glare evilly back at her, whilst I thought my darkest thoughts. But, even though I put on a brave face in front of her, she did intimidate me. She knew nothing about my dyslexia and Hashimoto's, nor about how hard it was for me to learn to read and spell. She was exceedingly successful in destroying every ounce of confidence I had. But, as per my personality, when she told me I would fail my two English subjects and therefore fail year twelve, I mentally told her to get ..ed. After which I simply worked harder and longer than all the other girls to achieve the best result I could.

Suffice to say, I did pass year twelve, inclusive of my English Expression and English Literature subjects. And as well, I gained a scholarship to university where I eventually became a teacher, promising myself to never denigrate any of my student's best efforts, not ever!!

Looking back all these years later, I am so proud of the fact that I have completed writing four full- length novels. I get so much pleasure and pride out of writing and reading my own books. I love writing. I love word-smithing and playing God with my characters.

You see, that dear lady, Sister Mary A, she was the dumbo, with her perverse cruelty that really backfired on her, for published or not published I am the one who has achieved way beyond what was allotted to me.

Yeehaw, way to go !!!!!.

22 views0 comments


bottom of page