At age 91, Jim Henry learned to read. Now 98 years old, the Connecticut resident recently published his autobiography, "In a Fisherman's Language."
As a young boy, Henry's formal education abruptly ended when his father permanently pulled him out of school to perform manual labor like picking up garbage and selling corn. As a result, Henry never learned to read or write.
"You could never imagine what it felt like getting by without an education," Henry guest-blogged for CNN.com on Wednesday. "I never told anyone I couldn’t read or write. I kept it to myself. I learned how to be a pretty good bluffer in those days. No one ever knew except my wife, Jean. We were married for two years before she found out."
When his wife became seriously ill eight years ago, Henry had no choice but to tell his family about his illiteracy. Soon thereafter he took it upon himself to learn to read, even hiring a tutor to help him with coursework that included reading from the dictionary.
But that wasn't the end of Henry's story — and far from it. As Connecticut news website TheDay.com reported on Feb. 27, "With the help of Mark Hogan of Literacy Volunteers of Eastern Connecticut, Henry recently had a collection of short stories about his life published."
Media attention surrounding Henry's story is steadily building. During the past month he has given interviews to CNN, AARP Magazine and People Magazine. Heck, word even got back to Henry that first lady Barbara Bush enjoyed reading his book.
“Practically everybody up here tells me the same thing," Henry explained to New York radio station WCBS 880 on March 1. "When they start reading the book, they think that they’re talking to me at times, and that makes me feel so good."