Local man learning to read at age of 74

Ted Wendling

KALKASKA – For most of his adult life, Butch Peltier has prided himself on his ability to read people even though he can’t read a newspaper.

After dropping out of school in the eighth grade, he worked his way up to become the manager of a small stamping plant in Detroit, never revealing to his boss that he read at the level of a kindergartener. “I’m good with people,” he said. “That’s how you become a manager.”

At work, he said, he concealed his illiteracy by relying on the confidentiality and kindness of a secretary who wrote the reports and provided the briefings that he needed to remain employed. At home, he relied on the competence of his wife, Sandra, a legal secretary who wrote the checks, filled out the paperwork at his doctor appointments, and helped him with the myriad other tasks that most adults perform every day without assistance.

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