Wing upholds long legacy of promoting reading
MADISON – Vibrant and energetic 81-year-old Roma Wing was more excited than most elementary students about Dr. Seuss Week.
Keeping her tradition, Wing read for preschoolers at Trinity Baptist Church and second-graders at St. John the Baptist Catholic School. At Trinity, she was summer camp storyteller and reads for chapel story time.
“Even at 81, I can use my years in little theatre and the classroom. Kids don’t care that I’m a great-grandma,” Wing said.
In the 1990s, Roma and late husband John moved from Newbury, Mass., about 40 miles northeast of Boston. She taught elementary students for 33 years.
She sometimes taught “in a four-room wooden school with just two classes” to avoid the state’s closing the facility. “It was wonderful for little kids.”
Wing now volunteers for phonics at West Madison Elementary School. “I made a mistake, though, because one second-grader learned to read with a Boston accent,” she joked.
She has recorded special request books for the Alabama Institute for the Blind. “Old teachers never die. They just lose their class — and borrow others,” Wing said.
A few former students wrote their theses about books she read to them. “What greater honor could an old teacher have?” she said. “It’s fantastic to have ‘kids’ from nearly 60 years ago tell me via Facebook about reading those books to their children and grandkids.”
The Wings’ children are Michael Wing and Jacqueline Meurer, both of Monrovia. Jacqueline’s children are Katherine Meurer and Jessica Nixon and husband Ramsis. Brian Wing and wife Denise of Mesa, Ariz.; their sons are Toby and Sgt. Benjamin Wing and wife Tanya and children Novalee and Olivia Wing.
John and Roma Wing were married 59 years. “We were glued at the hip since high school sophomores,” she said. They read nightly to their children. “I read whenever they weren’t out building tree huts or igloos,” Roma said.
Wing doesn’t plan to retire her red-and-white striped top hat any time soon. She will portray Cat in the Hat whenever an audience needs a reader.