The Unexpected Reader

Kristen Twardowski

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My father is not the sort of man most people envision as a reader. His family lived in small Midwestern town that had once been home to thriving coal and zinc industries. But mines eventually run dry, and by the time my father and his nine brothers and sisters came along, the town didn’t offer much in the way of employment. The family was less than poor. It didn’t help that my grandfather died when dad was sixteen, leaving him the oldest of the children still at home. Since grandma couldn’t work, he did what any dutiful son would do and worked long hours after school to supplement what little government aid the family received.

The family didn’t have the money to pay for him to go to college, but he was stubborn, hardworking, and absolutely, irrevocably brilliant. He earned a scholarship at a community college, and later, years after…

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