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Some Overcame In Life Despite The Obstacles

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, I hope you are having a good week. First things first – my apologies to Dr. Rayford Edgar and Richard Baird for not mentioning them as World War II veterans that I know personally.  I hear that there was a good crowd at the Memorial Day festivities, and I’m sorry I couldn’t attend.

I’m glad I don’t write a political column because by now I would give up in disgust and we have six more months of this.  I frequently quote Will Rogers and I’m sure if he were around today he would be as tired of this nonsense as I am.  

He said when people asked him where he got his jokes he simply said that he picked up the paper to see what Congress was up to and then reported the facts.  Will also said that the bad thing about political jokes was that too many of them got elected. He also said when Congress made a joke, it became a law and every time they made a law it was a joke.  

Will also said the Democrats were blaming the Republicans for what was wrong with the country, but the Republicans weren’t smart enough to do all the Democrats were blaming them for.  Is it just me or are we becoming a nation of whiners.      

Today, anyone with reasonable intelligence with good health can achieve just about anything they desire.  Just look at the successful people who have overcame handicaps and risen to greatness.  

Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt was paralyzed from the waist down from polio and was elected to four terms.  Today his handicap would keep him from being nominated in the first place.  Other examples include Helen Keller who was blind and deaf, Beethoven who was deaf, and Jimmy Rodgers who suffered from tuberculosis and became the most famous country/blues in six short years. Another is Charlie Christian, who also suffered from tuberculosis and became one of the most sought after guitar players during the big band era, dead at 26.

Wiley Post lost his left eye in the oil fields, but became one of the famous aviators in the 30’s, killed along with Will Rogers, at 38, and many more.

I’d like to include some Water Valley people who overcame handicaps and were successful.  Sherman Greenlee had a disease when he was a child that left him confined to a wheelchair.  He designed a wheelchair unlike any other I have ever seen.

 He ran bicycle chains from the wheels to attach to handholds at arms length which made it more comfortable and faster to move. He operated a radio shop in the back of the family store for years and was also a singer and song leader at singing conventions.  

Another Vallian Ralph Wells, crippled from birth, ran a watch repair shop for years and had a contract at Camp Shelby during World War II.  My dad, Norman Cooper, had an eye problem that kept him from being promoted to engineer for nearly 25 years until they made an exception during World War II. He worked 20 years until his retirement –  much of it on the City of New Orleans.  

John Horan had a stammer, but was a successful attorney for many years.  Mary Green lost a leg when she was young, and sold cosmetics on the streets for many years. Frank Harding, who due to poor surgical procedures, lost the use of his left hand but was a top notch painter for over 40 years.  

Mother’s first cousin, Bill Baddley, lost an eye in a hunting accident but went on to be a truck line executive and ultimately owner of his own company.  There are more and I’ll include them in future columns, but you get the idea, they  had no time to whine. They went on and succeeded in spite of their handicap.  I’m sure many of you know of someone like this and if you will contact me, I’ll feature them in future columns.  

My email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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