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Skills You Never Knew

191. Skills You Never Knew

Remember Harold Wilke who I wrote about on June 26. I wrote then that the day I was introduced to him, I turned and automatically held out my hand to shake his and realized quickly that Harold had no arms and no hands. We greeted each other and over the years continued to stay in touch.

Then on the day before Christmas 1985, I received a card from Harold Wilke (who was born with no arms) and a mimeographed sheet that described a presentation he had made in Japan. He had asked the audience there to take off one shoe and one sock, to get out a piece of paper and a pencil, to put the pencil between their toes and to write their name on the piece of paper on the floor. Then when they had finished doing that to hand it to the person sitting next to them and see if they could read each other’s names. People had overwhelming success. Harold was excited too and said, “You see. You have so many more capabilities than you use. You can do so much more than you think you can do.”

Christmas Day that year of 1985 we had opened our gifts, and there’s that moment right after the gift opening when it seems that it all went so fast and suddenly it’s over and you don’t know what to do next. I remembered the card from Harold and I said, “Let’s all get out pieces of paper, take off our shoes (some of us already had our shoes off on this early Christmas morning) and let’s write our names.” So we as a family sat, writing our names with our toes on pieces of paper on Christmas morning. Dara even tried it with both feet to see which signature was clearer. And we learned on that Christmas day. It’s true. We have abilities we didn’t know we had.

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