Gabbys Wordspeller™ - ESL Phonetic Dictionary

Author's Story

I thank my bicycle accident, which I experienced when riding home from The Evergreen State College where I was finishing my Bachelor's degree in communications. The accident herniated discs in my back which left me laid up for 1.5 years. During this time I watched my life fall apart and my career come to a screeching halt.

It was during this span of time that my daughter, Gabby (who had been diagnosed at 8 with dyslexia) had my full attention one night when she became verbally irate at having to write a two-paragraph report for her high school class.

I observed helplessly from my bed as she slumped over in my office chair literally crying so hard as if her self-esteem had suffered its last straw and was flowing out with her tears. She cried that this task would take her all night and that she had so much other homework still to accomplish. This was her first month in a real high school. And she was right... we had been going through this hell since she started kindergarten and her reading skills were still below a fifth grade level.

Never had I felt so strongly the brutality of feeling so hopeless and powerless all at the same time in my entire life. I was a single mother and my two children meant everything in the world to me. And there we found ourselves, that evening in September, 1997, at the lowest point in our lives... all hope, our very life energy suggesting that we would be successful at anything... EVER... was drained... gone!

It was in this moment of quiet as the two of us sat and wept... exhausted with the thoughts of ever having hope to resolve our dilemmas... that Gabby suddenly burst out with the only possible intelligent solution...

"Mom,why don't you write me a dictionary that spells the words the way I hear them so that I can write?" I was stunned, such a sudden change in attitude. So swift that I, taken aback, could only exuberantly and decidedly reply, "Okay, I will".

And that's what I did full-time for the next year while laid up in my bed watching the rest of the world go by. A kindred soul thought my endeavor worthy enough to purchase me Macintosh's first powerbook computer. I kept up the good work and managed finally to finish this book eleven years later.

I also wish to thank... of course, my children who endured our poverty as I typed away. And I probably wouldn't be alive today (spared from several hopeless moments during my healing) if it hadn't been for Marshall Alexander Andersen Hatfield whose loving attitude, support, nursing and nurturing earned her the largest angel wings that any human could possibly earn in many lifetimes of good deeds. To my chiropractor, who, unlike the neurosurgeons who said I would never walk again, put me back on my feet within 2 months of my first visit. I thank you all!