Dyslexic Dick: True Adventures of My World.Dyslexic Dick II: The Marine Corps Truly Uncommon Experience (Volume Richard “Dick” W. Kraemer
• Sometimes the pressures of school, family and life can take a certain stronghold on a young person and cause them to make decisions that they often regret. Richard Kraemer was not you A student and although he tried school and high school did not seem to fit into his future. Thinking about his future and knowing that his father would not allow him to just sit around and do nothing he decided to enlist in the army. But, his father would not agree and insisted that he join the Marines or stay in school. Four more years of High School did not fit into what our author wanted for himself nor did he realize that his academic problems stemmed from the fact that he was Dyslexic. But, what do you do when your parents decide to hide the truth and not until you are much older, spent years in the service would you realize or learn the hidden truth behind your academic failure. Dyslexia is defined as “Dyslexia, or developmental reading disorder, is characterized by difficulty with learning to read fluently and with accurate comprehension despite normal or above-average intelligence. It includes problems in phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, auditory short -term memory age skills/verbal comprehension. A common learn problem and a most recognized reading disorder. Naming and recognizing letters, matching them and blending sounds when speaking are just some of the indications that a child is dyslexic. The ability to associate letters with sounds and understand the difference between sounds in words are other signs. Writing letters, numbers and symbols in the correct sequence and even having the ability to proofread and correct written work would become hard for this person. Short attention span, not staying on topic and generally not focused. Writing would be difficult even holding a pencil. But, our author although he might have had these difficulties no one addressed them. As you get to know him better, hear his story about his time in the Marines you will learn that his behaviors many times mirrored that of someone who used avoidance tactics to get out of doing something. Did not process or listen to instructions and followed his own. Very easily distracted, disruptive and lacked the ability to focus and concentrate.
The Marine’s training was tough as you hear the officers berate the recruits, put them through torturous training and exercises hoping that they would train men that could cut the mustard so to speak. But, Richard seemed bent on doing things at times his own way and at others the directions given were not followed as his disability played an important role. Officers that were belittling, young men that often faltered and were punished for their weaknesses, lockdowns, deceits and at times those in charge selling out their own men, this story gives us a whole new picture about the Marines. Many trips to different places, free time, romps with many women and using weed and at times heavy drinking, many of the men fell quite short of what we would expect a true Marine to be.
Hearing his voice and understanding what he endured while at Parris Island we learn more about the side of Marines that are anything as he says honorable. From basic training, to Parris Island and living in a world that was deadly, horrific and learning that his mother had a stroke and the effect that it had on his brothers and sisters, this is quite a powerful story.
Going home to see his mother enlightened him to what his younger siblings were enduring. A brother who was made to take charge and second in command and resented it and a sister who did just the bear minimum and no more. But, the sad part is this same sister lied, cheated and prayed that she could live with her Uncle and his family to escape the tirades, beatings and cruelty of a father who was being stretched to the limit and was overwrought with grief and dealing with a sick wife and a failing business. But, each time Richard asked to get a Hardship Discharge from the service to help his family and his father, his father denied it and said it was his problem to handle.
Difficulties and conflicts became the norm whenever he went home and bringing a Marine buddy to stay with them created a rift between him and his father because the man was Black. The fact that he was honest, a true friend and would never deceit or cheat Richard did not matter to the father who blatantly stated his feelings. Officers that were cruel and name called, a father who disliked anyone that was Black and a young man who needed to find his way out of trouble but it always seemed to find him.
A Sergeant named Georgia who was corrupt and actually stole from him and although he was finally brought to task, he never lost his rank and his revenge came often and hard. Officers that stuck together, men who sold drugs, weed and profited from it as a business, and others who pimped out women, this story gives readers a grim picture of the Marines yet an honest first hand one. But, throughout you realize that Richard would not give up, forged ahead. Loan sharks, thieves, living in a barracks where you had to watch your back. Drinking, fighting, and many who did not deserve the rank or titles they had, Richard “Dick,” W. Kraemer gives an open and honest account of his time in the Marine Corps, his visits home and the frustration of a mother who was once vital and could no longer communicate.
The saddest part of the story is when he goes home, sees his girlfriend Judy, has to deal with his family’s troubles, leaves to go and says goodbye. A short trip on a train would start a new romance as he meets a girl named Maureen, lies about his time off and just might face more consequences as a result. Chances taken, time in the brig, two Corporals who always had his back and Officers that went out of their way to make his life miserable it’s amazing that he lasted at all. But, he did.
Trying to make some semblance of his life, wanting to leave the Marines and finding a new place for himself would come with many obstacles to overcome. At times when he decided to conform to the norm he realized that he could not. Friendships that he thought he could trust, even his good friend Squeaky, turned against him. As you read about his exit, the end result of his many times in the brig, dealing with injuries, different officers and fellow Marines you begin to wonder why someone does not look deeper inside the barracks, the officer’s club and into what has been revealed in this book. The subtitle of this book is: The Marine Corps Truly Uncommon Experience: I wonder if the word uncommon should be replaced with something else!
A final Yes Sir, a final inventory, a final set of exams and Freedom at what cost. What happens when Richard is finally able to decide where he wants to be and where he will go next? What about his family? Why won’t they accept him for who he is and why would his father not want his help at home? A true story told from the heart. Dyslexic Dick: Read it and find out how his life changed the moment he enlisted. Dyslexia did not keep him from forging ahead read and find out what did!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer