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The Goode Life: Memoirs of Disability Rights Activist Barb Goode… a sneak peek!

March 1, 2011

Left to Right: Zev, Barb Goode and Aaron (with ice cream!); Barb in front of the Taj Mahal; Barb receiving an award from Former Premier Gordon Campbell.

Anyone who knows her, loves her, and everyone I know, learns from her.   That’s quite the thing to say of anyone, really.   We were very touched (and excited) when Barb Goode came to Spectrum Press with her ideas for a biography and asked if we’d help her with the writing and, after, would we be interested in publishing it.   Yes!  The results are looking even better, in the very last stages of proof-reading and editing, than anything we’d imagined.   It turns out that Barb is a great writer, on top of everything else, and was wonderfully assisted by Jim Reynolds, our Manager of Social Enterprises, in an experiment that turned out superbly.   Barb’s book covers more than a half century of the disability rights movement through, as one of her fans says, the lenses of “provincial, national, international and neighbourly” involvement.   Spectrum Press will be having a book launch in May, along with four other publications – check back here for an invitation!   If you’d like to pre-order a copy of Barb’s book, we’ve made arrangements to offer it at a special pre-sale price.   While the book will probably retail for about $23, we’re offering it at $18.   You can purchase it here.

Just for friends of the 101 Friends Project, Barb has allowed us to publish one of my favourite parts of her book, the story of Harry the Bus Driver – a great example of how someone’s small action can affect us in profound ways:

My brother is two years younger than me, as I have already mentioned, but we started school the same year – he started at 5, but I wasn’t allowed to start until I was 7.

We never got to go to the same school. His school was a bit closer than mine, so he was allowed to walk, while I had to take bus to school with my Mom. I felt like my family had less trust that I could do things on my own. I felt, just because I wasn’t talking perfectly yet, that everyone auto-matically assumed I couldn’t do anything else very well, either – which was just not true.

We had a neighbour kid who went to the same school – Westview Elementary. Our mothers would walk us to the bus stop.

His Mom got him onto the bus and then went back home, the regular bus, not the “bunny bus.” But my Mom came all the way to the school with me. That is, until our bus driver, Harry, told my Mom that she didn’t need to come along every time.  He told my Mom that he would make sure I made it.

Every day he would say to our moms, “Back to bed ladies, they’ll be fine with me.”

Harry was the person who started me really thinking about my independence; that I could do things for myself that other people didn’t think I could. It’s strange to think that this was 50 years ago and most people then would not have thought like Harry.

To this day, I remember that Harry would let us warm our hands on the bus heater on cold winter days. One day, Charlie took over the afternoon portion of Harry’s route, and he was just as nice.

One time, when I was around 9 or 10 years old, we got out of school early for some reason. I remember it was a hot dog day, and they let us go right after lunch. I was with a close friend of mine with a disability. We were wondering how to get home. His mom usually came to pick him up after school, but that day he would have had to wait hours for her. I usually took the bus, but I had spent all of my bus money on hot dogs. And so I convinced my friend to walk home with me. It was a one and a half mile walk.

I was proud of myself for helping my friend get home safely. It was his first time going anywhere independently, and it was the happiest I had ever seen him.

My friends’ mom was very upset though, because she didn’t think we should be so independent, or that was my way of looking at it. After that, she didn’t like me anymore, because she thought I had put her son at risk. She refused to allow us to be friends, and then she switched him to a school just for kids with disabilities.

I’d hate to add up all the friendships I’ve lost like that. It makes me emotional just to think about it.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rasika Aklujkar permalink
    June 22, 2011 8:38 pm

    Hi Barb, Good to see your work is being published. I am happy for you.

  2. March 23, 2012 7:35 am

    May I ask a question? Thanks.

    • April 23, 2012 3:44 am

      hi Pu – what is your question? is it for us or for Barb? aaron

  3. Rasika permalink
    July 3, 2016 8:47 am

    I always like reading your book Barb it always puts a smile on my face.

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