Glance in the mirror

A number of you have been asking about Bill and his family and their reactions to the stories about them. The Friday before school started, we tried to go together to the Clarkston Public Library so I could show them this website. When we got there, at 11 a.m., a bunch of preteen video-gamers had monopolized the free computers and found a way to circumvent the library software that forces everyone to take 15-minute turns.

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A number of you have been asking about Bill and his family and their reactions to the stories about them. The Friday before school started, we tried to go together to the Clarkston Public Library so I could show them this website. When we got there, at 11 a.m., a bunch of preteen video-gamers had monopolized the free computers and found a way to circumvent the library software that forces everyone to take 15-minute turns.

After perusing the library's movie selections - paying particular attention to "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Splendor in the Grass" - Bill settled in for a long wait with a book called "How to Coach Soccer." Igey trailed a pack of Burmese 11-year-olds through the stacks, trying to get in on their jokes. After 45 minutes, the boys' dad got disgusted and left.

But Dawami, Bill, Igey, and I persisted. We scrapped the library and trooped over to my apartment, where we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and watched the slide shows. Bill grinned throughout, particularly at the squeaky audio of his brother and the video of his friends tugging their T-shirts over their faces. Dawami wanted to send the website to her daughter, Neema, in Tanzania right away. Igey clowned and pointed from family member to family member asking, "Who is that?" None of them tried to read the writing, but all three said they liked the pictures.

Then, yesterday, I took a paper copy of the first story over to their apartment. After teasing me for not writing in Swahili, Dawami pulled me over to sit on the couch and started to read the story aloud. Pausing only to ask for definitions of a few words ("strolling," "stifling," "admire"), she read all the way through to "Fourth of July."

I was as surprised and delighted as she was when she laughed and said, "I understand!"

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