Thursday, October 22, 2009

Two in one day?

Why not? I'll make up for lost time.

Tomorrow night is a memorial for an amazing man who changed my life. His name was Art Honeyman, a friend of my parents at Portland State in the '60s when they returned to college as older students. Art was a young, rebellious, gifted writer with severe Cerebral Palsy. I had the honor of meeting him when I was only 10 or 11, and got to see the man behind the disabled body; his mouth could hardly form words but his mind was full of brilliance. I loved writing, and he shared his writing with me. He also gave me a couple of books he'd had when he was a child (which I still have). I consider him my first mentor as a writer, and he's a huge reason I became a special education teacher.

Many years went by between knowing Art as a child and rediscovering him again as an adult. He had a booth at Portland Saturday Market for a long time. I bought one of his children's books about being a child with CP, and still didn't see him hardly at all. A number of years ago I happened to be at Saturday Market, and there he was. I got in email contact with him, and saw him a time or two. We emailed and he shared a chapter of a book he was writing with me. I found out by accident, more or less, that he'd passed away last December. He was a secondary character in a film called The Music Within, about a disabilities activist who was at PSU with Art. In searching for info about the film, I discovered his obituary. I was so sad that I had no connection to his life and no way to reach those who also knew him. Much to my surprise and delight, I received an email "from Art" a month or so ago. His friends at PSU invited people in his address book on his computer (as well as those closer in the loop) to come to a party, a celebration, for him.

So, we get to remember a wonderful man whose platform for student government was Spastic Power. I will remember him always.

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