His name was Albert. He was 11 years old and lived with his mother in the New Orleans 9th Ward. Freddy was 22 years old and had been married less than a month when he and his wife moved into a mission center down the street from Albert’s home. When Freddy first met Albert, their conversation went something like this:
Freddy: Hey, Albert. I’m Freddy.
Freddy: Your mom asked me to tutor you in reading.
Albert: I don’t want your help.
Albert: I’m serious.
Freddy: All right. What are we supposed to do with our time then?
Albert: Not my problem.
Freddy: Well, is it ok with you if we don’t do tutoring?
Freddy: Good. Want to hear a story?
Freddy: Great, let me tell you one. It’s about eating worms.
Freddy: Yeah, this boy made a bet that he could eat some worms with some friends, I think. I can’t remember exactly. Anyway, he cooked the worms so they wouldn’t taste so bad.
Albert: How did he cook them?
Freddy: He may have fried them. Maybe, I can’t remember.
Albert: You mean you started telling me a story that you don’t remember.
Freddy: I guess so. Sorry about that. It’s in that book there on the shelf.
Albert: Go get it.
Freddy got the book from the shelf and together they spent the next few weeks reading How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. In the first session, Freddy read everything to Albert. On the second session, Freddy asked Albert to help him read because his voice was tired, but he could still help with the big words. After four weeks, Albert and Freddy finished the book. Over the course of the summer, they read three books together.