Saturday, June 22, 2024


Spending evenings in rehearsal for a play conflicted with my responsibilities to Louis. Louis was a gentleman with Multiple Sclerosis, whom I had been caring for in exchange for room and board. The time in the evenings that I was away, we always just watched TV. So, at first, it didn't seem like rehearsal would be a problem, but it was. 

I went to the rehearsal one last time to speak with the director and tell her that I couldn't participate in the play. "No." She responded firmly. "You're too good. I'm not going to let you quit."

It wasn't the response that I was expecting. I returned to Louis and told him that I couldn't quit the play. I suppose that he wasn't expecting that response either. He pulled the "boss" card. He told me that I either quit the play, or I was fired.


He was right. I wasn't doing the job that I was hired to do. But … it was what the director had said. "You're too good." Being told that I was good at something was not a thing that I was accustomed to. I did the reckless thing, the foolish thing. I quit my job.

I slept that night in Louis' home, but told him that I would be out in the morning. That night, I packed all my belongings back in my single suitcase. In the morning, I helped Louis as I had done every morning, but when I climbed into the cab on my way to school, I had my suitcase with me. I didn't have a plan.

I went to the Center after school, suitcase in hand. Cyndi, the director, had a look of panic about her as I explained that I had quit my job. She took a deep breath. "Okay, we can do this." She said, "You're going to be okay." She left to speak to some people. I went to speak to the folks who had helped me get the job with Louis in the first place.

I can't remember the name of the organization that got me the job with Louis, but they rented a small office in a large red brick building right behind the main building for the Center. This building behind the Center used to be an elementary school. (My future friends, Dave and Roger used to go to school there as kids.)

The building was owned by the Center for the Physically Limited, and that will become important later. For now, I walked over there, to the red building, to the office, to speak to the people who gave me the job with Louis. I spoke to a man named Bob Fultz. Bob had cerebral palsy. Like me he was well spoken and perfectly understandable. Unlike me, he had extremely limited motor control. He was confined to an electric wheelchair that he controlled with a single finger.

I should mention that before the Center, I had very little interaction with the disabled outside of the hospital. I am sad to admit that I was as guilty as most at prejudging others based on appearances. Happily, I have grown out of that. The Center helped me learn the value of all people and the importance of not passing judgment.

As an organization, this place that I can't remember the name of was going to help me to find another job. As an incredibly selfless human being, Bob offered to allow me to stay with him. So, I did. Bob lived in another building connected to the Center by a parking lot. The Aliene Murdock Villa Apartments are apartments specifically designed for disabled residents. I stayed there with Bob for about a week.

I continued in rehearsals. Bob and I became close friends. In the meantime, Cyndi Vetter who worked at the Center, and who was the director of the play that I was in, helped me apply for an apartment at the Villa. They fast tracked me because I didn't have a place to live. (Sally had moved. I'm actually not sure where she was, but I know that I didn't ask her to help me.)

All of my life, my disability had been a source of grief. Now, if not for my disability, I probably would have ended up homeless or back in Coulterville. Instead, my disability is directing the course of my life in a positive way. So many good things are going to happen to me that would not have happened if I had not been born with cerebral palsy.

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