Thank You, Two-Thirds of the Planet…

…for sharing “My Speech to the Graduates or What I Wish I’d Known As a 5-Year Old Crip.” It was an honor to be reblogged by you!

What do you want to contribute to that is bigger than yourself? What is it that you have to contribute?

These questions may sound like the trite stuff of a book whose central mystery is the length of its run on the best-seller list. But they matter to me because — again, as the little girl with a disability — what I heard gently murmuring in the cultural wind was: “That’s okay, don’t worry about contributing to us (the world). You’ve got enough to deal with.” Those things I care about? The writing sentences? The fairness? (Forget being President, that’s not the point.) I cared enough to know I didn’t want to be gently excused from ambition, from life, from the world’s business.

Ingrid Tischer on the day of her kindergarten graduation in Greece, New York, circa 1969. She is wearing a rainbow vest and skirt sown by her mom. Note the clutching of the diploma and school-bestowed book-bag, and anxious expression -- all indicate a future in literary fiction writing and nonprofit fundraising.

Ingrid Tischer on the day of her kindergarten graduation in Greece, New York, circa 1970. She is wearing a rainbow vest and skirt sown by her mom. Note the clutching of the diploma and school-bestowed book-bag, and anxious expression — all indicate a future in literary fiction writing and nonprofit fundraising.

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