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September 24, 2018

‘I Need to See Her One More Time’: Woman’s Essay Yearns for Lost Mom, Highlights the Work of Literacy Volunteers


Shirley Slate reads from her essay as daughter Caroline Aguzar looks on.

Shirley Slate reads from her essay as daughter Caroline Aguzar looks on.

“If I could bring my Mom back from Heaven,” Shirley Slate began, reading from her very first essay, a prayer for the return from Heaven for her mother for one more day.

“I just want to hold her one more time,” she said.

Slate is no child mourning a parent who died when she was young. She is 52 years old. She is working towards her GED. Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County helped her learn to read and to write that essay, helped her to gather the courage to read that essay to the members of the Fulton Common Council Tuesday night.

Members of the Fulton Common Council proclaim September as Literacy Month.  From left to right: Aldermen Jay Foster, Dan Knopp, Daryl Hayden and Pete Franco; Mayor Ron Woodward; Alderman Tom Kenyon; Shirley Slate; Kimberly Steele of Literacy Volunteers; and Caroline Aguzar, Slate's daughter.

Members of the Fulton Common Council proclaim September as Literacy Month. From left to right: Aldermen Jay Foster, Dan Knopp, Daryl Hayden and Pete Franco; Mayor Ron Woodward; Alderman Tom Kenyon; Shirley Slate; Kimberly Steele of Literacy Volunteers; and Caroline Aguzar, Slate's daughter.

The Council issued a proclamation designating September as Literacy Month in the city. Slate, along with her daughter, Caroline Aguzar and Literacy Volunteers representative Kimberly Steele represented the agency.

Steele called Slate “a remarkable woman”, and said she was the agency’s success story.

Slate’s voice broke as she read her two-minute essay, saying she would spend the one extra day taking her Mom to play bingo and introducing her to her grandchild.

“I need to see her one more time to tell her I love her and I miss her,” Slate read. “It would be a special day for me and her.”

The members of the Council stood to applaud her. “I know your Mom is (proud of you),” said Mayor Ron Woodward.

You can see Shirley Slate read her essay, below.

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2 Responses “‘I Need to See Her One More Time’: Woman’s Essay Yearns for Lost Mom, Highlights the Work of Literacy Volunteers”

  1. Debbie
    September 8, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Literacy opens a new world to anyone who now can ‘visit’ places never been before, and meet people. The spoken word lacks immortality. The written word lives on long after we are physically gone.

    I think it was sheer ‘poetry’ that Ms. Slate (like in writing slate) finally got a chance to write down her thoughts. 52 is never too old, as is 65-70, or more.

    I love to read, and I love hearing about people who have found this joy, also.

    BIG, BIG congratulations Shirley Slate! The GED is a gift, but a lifetime of reading is the bigger one. Now you can truly share adventures with your daughter and grandchild you could not before!

    Debbie

  2. Sylvia
    September 8, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    What a wonderful story. Truly heartwarming.

    Shirley Slate, congratulations!! Your hard work and dedication, your love of learning is paying off in so many ways already, I can tell. I am so proud of you and of what you’ve accomplished and I don’t even know you. You are truly a remarkable woman. When the time comes, I look forward to reading that you’ve earned your GED.

    Kudos to the Literacy Volunteers of Oswego County. Your caring, your outreach to our community is outstanding. Because of you people who thought they hadn’t a chance, will see they most assuredly do.

    Thank you Oswego County Today for these kinds of success stories. We need to hear more of the positive side of our county. Thanks.

    Oh, the places you’ll go (with a good book) and a pencil and paper, Shirley Slate.

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