WWBC in Cincinnati… guest blog by Dave Murley
As part of the Waddie Welcome Martin Luther King Jr. Day Worldwide Read, groups of people have been reading the story together in each other’s homes, churches, community centers and coffee shops. Here is a reflection from a coffee shop reading in Cincinnati.
“I would walk away a changed man…” — Dave Murley
Several weeks ago, April and I attended a book reading at the Coffee Emporium in Cincinnati. We ventured out on Martin Luther King Day to downtown Cincinnati and found this huge establishment crammed full of people wanting….coffee. About 20 of us were there to read out loud a book called Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community. I stood in line, grabbed a large cup of coffee and dragged a chair over to join the group. Little did I know I would walk away a different person inspired by a man with a disability from Savannah, Georgia.
Waddie (yes that is his name), was an African-American man who was born with cerebral palsy and was taken care of his family until he was 70 years old. When his parents died he was placed in a nursing home. The story is about how a community came together to help Waddie get out of that nursing home and into a real home again. Waddie could only communicate with yes and no answers, but because people took the time to listen to him they discovered that he did not want to be in the nursing home. He wanted to live in a house that had children and he could smell home cooking. This became a reality with the help of dedicated people from the community who acted as advocates for Waddie.
I volunteered to read around Chapter 9 not knowing that I was going to have to read his very long, touching eulogy. Let’s just say it’s a little hard to read while you are crying and sniffing at the same time. This book is so powerful because it shows you the importance of having our kids with disabilities surrounded by a community of people who care and will take the time to help.
We all think about what will happen to our children when we aren’t around any more. If you have the opportunity to attend a reading or read the book yourself, do it! It will give you hope and much to think about. Truly a life changing book.