Well, I do not know about you, but I have a tendency toward infinity. For as long as I can remember I wondered about how big, and how many, and how much and are there limits? Even as early as sitting in the supermarket wagon being wheeled around by my mother as she shopped, I wondered how many different cans were an isle, and how many of them had the same ting in them based on the pictures on the label. This was the early 1950’s, so I guess I am dating myself but there were an awful lot of canned goods on the shelves and I remember wondering how many cans were on a shelf and how many kinds of beans might there be, and how many different brands there were. Now I did not know what bands were, but some o the cans looked different from each other and some looked the same but with different pictures on them.
These were some of the mysteries that evidently propelled me toward reading. You see I guess I was obsessed with context even though I did not know the word. But there were patterns all over the place and I wanted to know what was going on and I must have driven my mother completely crazy, asking questions all of the time. When eventually going to school because my mother was tired of staying home with her first kid, I discovered different patterns, different surroundings and continued to ask a lot of questions. I guess I was three, and in some kind of preschool because my mother had gotten bored of staying home from her job and having out all day with a kid by then.
This was when I am told, I asked my father if we ever ran out of space in our heads to store information because I had already been reading books and was wondering how many more I could read before I had to begin forgetting the earlier ones. Mom said I was so relieved to learn about the concept of infinity because I thought our brain was like a supermarket shelf that could fit a tot of cans and what happened when you had more cans than could fit on the shelf. I had noticed that the patterns shifted and that not all of the cans on the shelf were the same all of the time.
My father laughed and explained to me the concept of infinity and I was so relieved that I did not have to stop reading. Of course, this raised a lot more questions but dad was strong at math so I had an early start. But evidently, my parents were already used to this because my mom told me I had taught myself to read sitting in the supermarket cart comparing labels and pictures on the cans. She found this amusing because she was a librarian and my house was full of books but evidently, since I was still in the supermarket seat it must have been earlier than when I could walk the isles instead of riding.
She said on one of these shopping excursions we passed a table full of boxes of chocolate eclairs, with six to a box and I told her if she bought the box we could have two each. And then she truly understood life was about to get more interesting because I was teaching myself math but I was still in the supermarket child seat.
The way I learned all of this was when they started teaching us reading in school in the first or second grade, but I had been reading for nearly as long as I could remember and asked my mother, when did I learn to read? and did she teach me how? She laughed and told me I taught myself to read and also basic arithmetic only a little after learning to walk and since I was two she knew she was going to have her work cut out for her.