Anthology Excerpts

My Words Are Gonna Linger: The Art of Personal History

  • You and I had a reason for meeting, I believe. You gave me something I needed in order to grow, whether it was support or friendship or love or a challenge. The challenges are no fun but yield growth, which is a ticket to wisdom. Think of what you did for me, and feel me pat you on the back. I love you for it.
       ~ from Ruta Sevo's Ethical Will
  • Every morning just after seven, Schwester Maria blew into our room and greeted us with a cheery "Gut morgen! Raus! Raus!" (Good morning! Rise and shine!) Blowing a half-inch strand of yellow hair out of her eye, she would cheerily take everyone's temperature, check our bandages, and fluff our pillows. But she refused to hear any complaints of sickness or pain. "Ach! You not sick, you fine! You be good!"
  • By the time I was twelve, I carried over 150 pounds on my 5-foot body. Those next years were punctuated with the embarrassing moments of fat people - Shopping in women's departments, where the clothes didn't look like what other young girls wore. Attempts to purchase bathing suits. The pants that split at the thigh or seat at random, public intervals. Then I began the Great Hot Dog Diet. My buddy Sue had read about it in a teen magazine.
       ~ Sarah White, from The Plunge
  • Waiting is something I've done a lot of since my diagnosis. I don't want to read the magazines or look around at other people in the waiting room. Instead, I bring along my little book full of empty white pages that I hope I'll have the days to fill. I always choose a chair by the window, a way of being here and not being here.
       ~ Maria Barr, from Finding Maria

    Photo—Maria Barr (on the left) with APH member Christine Chamberlain.
  • [Newsman] Sam Donaldson asked the president to milk a cow. But he was looking at a herd of expectant mothers (dry cows), so I told him it just wouldn't work. Someone took a picture through the limousine window of me shaking my finger at President Reagan that day. It has been kind of a joke ever since. They said that a farmer like me would be about the only one that could get away with something like that. The picture hangs in one of the halls down in Washington now.
       ~ Leon Wilkinson, from President Reagan's Visit

    Photo—Leon Wilkinson is standing next to President Reagan.
  • With all of her admiration for "Herr Hitler" and "My Hermann," she did her best to make us so-called "Luftgangsters" as comfortable and happy as possible.
    ~ Quentin Brown, from Beacons of Light in a Dark Time