READ students come from diverse backgrounds and each has a unique story to tell. Their stories are frequently compelling, sometimes heartbreaking, but always inspiring. Dempsey, a READ Center student, was asked by one of his teachers to write a story for The READ Center’s blog. This is his story.  

My Mother
by Dempsey

My mother was a strong lady.  She had five children and she loved us a lot.  I remember my daddy left us when I was five years old.  My mother worked in a restaurant and made twenty dollars a week. We were very poor.  Sometimes I only ate one time a day.  My mother could not read or write which is one of the reasons she tried so hard for us to go to school.  But I was determined not to go to school because I thought I was a man and wanted to work instead.  She would take me to school and when lunch time came, I would leave from the playground and not come back.  That is why I am here at the READ Center today.

My mother needed some help so she got on public assistance. We were on public assistance for a long time, then my mother had another baby. At that time, you could not have any more children, so we were taken off public assistance. She got help from other people to hold us together.

When I was younger I did not realize how hard she had it. But now as an adult, I understand how strong she really was.