Kati Erdos as a little girl

This is me. I learned to read, in secret, when I was three and a half years old. I didn't tell anybody. There were all kinds of things at our house. The newspapers and periodicals which weren't taken by the customers were sent back to the post office where my father worked, so he brought home all sorts of reading material. I was upset because I didn't know what to do with all this, so when we went out walking, I used to ask him which letter was which, and I started to put the pieces together. My father brought the sensationalist tabloid newspaper called Est [Evening] every night, and I read it from the first letter to the last. When I was four and a half years old, I told my parents I could read. 'All right', they said, not believing me. 'But it's true, I can read. Shall I prove it to you?' 'Show us,' they said. 'This is Est.' I said, to which they replied: 'All right, you know that this is Est. That doesn't prove you can read.' I cleared my throat and read out: 'Lover hacked to pieces with hatchet.' My parents looked at each other, 'Ahem,' they said, 'aha.' Thereupon they hid Est behind their backs. Next I walked over and started reading the phonebook. My father felt pity for me and said, 'Don't struggle with that, I'll bring you books to read.' And he brought me the Greek myths called Olympus by Jozsef Gereb. I started to read like a madman, and I still read today. --

Photos from this interviewee