Monday, November 05, 2007
Being a Fairy Godmother
The book launch at the California Association of Orientation and Mobility Specialists in Montery was incredible! The above photos are of Laura and Pete, Laura reading,and Me and Laura at the Medusa table with her book. Laura did an excellent job reading and everyone there appeared excited about the book. We sold quite a few, but the highlight of the entire trip was when Laura presented a book to Pete Werzburger, the "godfather" of Orientation and Mobility. During and after WWII, there were thousands of soldiers returning from battle who were rendered blind from their injuries. These were healthy young men who faced a world of dependence and disability. Pete Werzburger decided to do something about it and he pioneered the use of the white cane and other mobility techniques to help these men. From there, the field evolved from being strictly about rehab and veterans to schools and children. Every person in the US who uses a white can owes a debt of gratitude to Pete, and he was Laura's teacher when she was learning O and M.
Pete is now in his 80's and was able to come to the conference with his family. On Friday night, Laura read from her book to about a hundred mobility instructors, including Pete. The room was completely silent and everyone appeared transfixed and moved by the reading. When she then presented Pete with a book, people stood and clapped loudly. Pete said a few words, but even he appeared to be touched by Laura's words of praise and gratitude. I looked around the room and took in the joy of that moment; the room filled with cheering people, Pete's family beaming, Pete grinning, Laura with happy tears in her eyes, and I understood exactly how it feels to be a fairy godmother. Through my hard work, talent, dedication, and credit card, I helped make this moment possible. I helped Laura's dream become real and in so doing touched the heart of an old man and many others. Even if this book doesn't make a dime, that moment made everything worth it.
Happily, we did make a dime. A few dimes. People bought lots of books and are really excited about it. Laura was so happy she giggled almost the entire day. And I again enjoyed watching her chat with "fans" and sign books.
This work is the most fulfilling work I have ever known, and maybe someday, I'll be able to earn a living from it.