Clyde Pearce has always loved languages. He’s studied many throughout his years but the one that’s stuck with him the most was Spanish. After moving to Washington just over a year ago, he decided to begin giving free lessons at the Halcyon House every Friday.
Pearce, originally from Los Angeles, Calif,, has moved all over the U.S., living in Pennsylvania, Florida and most recently Alaska before ending up in Washington. Pearce said that no matter where he traveled, the one constant thing he took with him was his ability to “get by” with the Spanish language.
“I took Spanish in high school, but I grew up in Los Angeles and I’ve been maintaining that,” he said.
Pearce said he thinks it’s important to maintain what he’s learned because learning languages can help give an inside look into the culture of the country of origin. He said getting an inside look not only strengthens the mind but also acts as a sign of respect.
“It’s interesting what you learn through the eyes of others if you have contact with others,” he said. “It shows respect and people really do respond to that.”
He had the idea to start a group in Washington after trying, to no avail, to find someone he could practice conversing with.
“This is the first place I’ve ever lived where there wasn’t a sizable Spanish population, and I do want to maintain that skill because it took a lot of years to acquire it,” he said. “I do practice every chance I get and it was out here that I was trying to get people interested and trying to find someone I could talk to on a regular basis and I was not successful, so I decided I would start this group and we’ll see what we can do.”
Currently, all members of the group are Halcyon House residents, but it is not limited to just them. He would like to encourage anyone who is interested, and even those who speak Spanish, to join the group and improve their language skills.
“We want to learn as much as we can but we’re not trying to make it a burden. We want to have fun with it,” he said. “It’s there to practice the language and most of the people there have no background in the language at all, but they’re getting it.”
Pearce said all are welcome, both native Spanish and English speakers. The group meets every Friday at 10:30 a.m. in the game room of the Halcyon House and he makes three promises to everyone who joins: no homework, no tests, just learning.