My Mother taught me how to read and write at home before I ever went to school. It opened up my world and I am forever grateful for that. She also taught me how to tell time. I have mixed feelings about that particular experience. It was fairly traumatic. My memory may be spotty but this is what I remember:
I was a kid of course. We were at home. I think my brothers and sisters were out playing so there was no help there. I was the oldest anyway so what could they do? My Father, unsurprisingly, was nowhere around though he could have easily just been at work. I don’t remember if I asked for this lesson or the time and place was chosen for me but here I was. My Mother explained it to me, how the hands work and multiplying by five for the numbers on the face of the clock, etc. I listened, tried to take it all in but I didn’t get it. I was frustrated and didn’t even know what question to ask to get me to the next step in my understanding. I guess my critical thinking skills were weak then but my Mother was not having it. She went over it again and when I still didn’t get it she made me stand in front of the clock, literally face it, until I figured it out. It took forever. I was already frustrated but now I was also mad at her for making me stand there. She went about some other business instead of waiting for me to get it. There I stood, suffering not quite in silence as I muttered foul things I dare not let her hear. Time passed and I concentrated on how mean and unfair she was and burned that into my memory so well that I can still bring that feeling back even now. I truthfully do not know how long it took. In my memory it was over an hour but in reality it could have been fifteen minutes. I was still going through my prayers of hatred and revenge when something clicked. Suddenly it seemed so simple. I called out a couple of questions to my Mother to be sure. She hollered the answers back to me from whatever other room she was in. I felt like my head exploded as much from the anger and frustration as the joy and elation of getting it. Suddenly I could tell time! It literally felt like I had discovered a new super power. I didn’t want to tell my Mother at first because of what she had put me through but I had no one else to tell. I couldn’t neither keep a straight face nor hold it in. I did hold back the credit however, choosing to think that while she helped, I was the one that actually figured it out for myself. It wasn’t long after that watches started going digital anyway.