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Learning is a lifelong process

I’ve always had a fascination with languages. It started when I was learning my native language (English, if you were wondering). The story I was told is that I would write random letters on a pad and tell my mother, “That spells ‘car.’” She would say, “No, it doesn’t,” and I would reply, “What, then?” and she would write the word out. After doing that several times, she decided it would be easier just to teach me how to read.

When I went to first grade in Tuscaloosa, our school had a French class. I ate that up! And when we moved to Marietta, Ga., my third-grade school there also had a French class.

That was the end of my foreign language days until I started high school here. I was among the last students to take two years of Latin. The only other language offered at the high school back then was French, and only to seniors. Well, long story short, we moved away the summer before senior year. Bummer. In my first year of college at Murray State University, the college offered a free sign language class. I took it then, and took it again the next year. I even stayed with a deaf couple one year.

In my junior year, I took a Russian class and decided to minor in it. Before I graduated from Murray State, I had taken college courses in Latin, Japanese and, finally, Spanish.

The year after I graduated, I was working at a newspaper in Cadiz, Ky., which is about the size of Linden. I got a phone call from someone who asked if I would be willing to interpret for the national bass tournament for the Deaf at our famous Land Between the Lakes recreation area. That was great! I did that for two years in a row. I also interpreted for a student at MSU for three semesters, since I was the only person on the campus who knew sign language.

It’s fun to learn something, but it really means something when you are able to use what you have learned. I’m 45 years old, and I am still learning stuff. I want to learn things until the day I die. I hate hearing people say, “I’m too old to learn anything new,” or “I can’t do that.”

Don’t keep yourself from enjoying anything. If there is something you are interested in, ask about it. Find out how you can learn more. There are excellent resources here in town that can help you learn and then use what you’ve learned.

There is no age limit on learning. The only limitation is what you set upon yourself. Take some time to find out about your interests, and then move forward. You never know where it will take you.

David B. Snow is the managing editor of the Demopolis Times.