Andrea Lemke-Rochon … Beanie’s little sister

I am the youngest in our family. When I was a toddler, she was a teenager. One time I asked her to read a book to me when she was supposed to be doing the dishes. She started running the dishwater in the sink and thought she could quickly read to me a children’s story, my favorite book, “Harold and His Purple Crayon.” We snuggled on the sofa in the living room and she struggled through the story. We didn’t know it then, but she was severely dyslexic. She didn’t want to disappoint me so she didn’t give up on reading the book. Suddenly someone was yelling because there was water all over the bathroom floor. We discovered that she had not shut off the water to the kitchen sink and the dishwater had overflowed. I’ll never forget the sight as the water poured over the sink, ran down the cupboards and over the floor and into the bathroom right next to the kitchen. Most adults and older children could have whipped through that simple book long before the sink had overflowed. Not Beanie. Needless to say, she was probably in big trouble. I don’t remember that part. But I do remember and appreciate her tremendous effort to read me my favorite story.

I am so proud of Beanie for never giving up. When she was finally diagnosed with dyslexia and later with an eye problem that confounded her efforts, she realized she wasn’t a “non-reader” as she had been told for most of her life. She had a problem but with determination and hard work she has overcome it. She is also one of the most generous people I know. Since she has had such struggles herself, she sincerely wants to help others who struggle to read. She knows there are others out there who have a problem that has perhaps been missed by doctors and educators. It’s why she has written this children’s book. And I’ll bet you today she could read it out loud from beginning to end without overflowing the kitchen sink!

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