I am very pleased to start 2019 off with a really interesting interview here on Candid Conversations. I came across a press release for a book called A Course in Fun with Fast Eddie and I was wondering, what’s this about. I reached out to author Karen Wiand to ask that very question and she is our virtual guest on Candid Conversations.
Karen welcome to Candid Conversations
Karen W.: Thanks for having me here!
Cliff T.: Who is Eddie and how did he connect with you?
Karen W.: Fast Eddie is a man with an intellectual disability that I have known since I was 8 years old. We grew up as neighbors in Carson City, Michigan. We lost touch when I moved away, although I always wondered how he was. I found him again living in an adult foster care home about an hour away from my home now, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Cliff T.: in the press release it’s noted that you got disconnected then you found each other again. How did that happen and were you surprised that you were able to reconnect with Freddie?
Karen W.: We became disconnected by the process of growing up. I went off to college and he stayed with his parents in Carson City. I was surprised to find Eddie living so close to me after so many years, and was eager to see him again.
Cliff T.: Certainly an intellectual disability has unique challenges. How did you and others around you deal with misconceptions and any outright discrimination you and Eddie came up against?
Karen W.: Growing up, we were Eddie’s warriors. He came to us for support, and we were his greatest defenders. In return, he supported us just as much. He was just like a brother.
Cliff T.: Did you become fast friends with Freddie or, did you build on your relationship with him?
Karen W.: I met Eddie the day we moved into our house down the street from his family. My father purchased property from his parents and that’s where we built our home. I recall seeing a teenager at the property during the building process, but didn’t know who it was.
Cliff T.: Being a person with a disability myself, vision wise, I have found through the years that many friends, the good close ones have forgotten the disability. I have to say that is refreshing, is this the case with you and Eddie?
Karen W.: I am happy to say that I don’t see Eddie’s disability. I see his wisdom.
Cliff T.: The book, sounds very interesting as a read, the title caught my attention. Is this a view from Eddie’s vantage point or what you have learned from him?
Karen W.: It is the top ten things I have learned from him. There are many more.
Cliff T.: What is the goal with the book, what do you want readers to take away?
Karen W.: My goal with this book is to remind us that we all have a role to play in this lifetime. Each one of us are here to fulfill a purpose, whatever it is, and if we follow the magical lives of those with disabilities, intellectual, in Eddie’s case, we can enjoy ourselves so much more; and at the same time, can see the value in everyone else.
Cliff T.: From what I see this is your first book that is so awesome. What was the genesis of the book, or shall I say why and what prompted you to select Eddie as the subject or focal point of the book?
Karen W.: When I reconnected with Eddie, I started making weekly visits to see him, to get him out of the hole he was living in. The adult foster care home was really awful. After a month or so of visits, I sat at my computer and started making a list of the things Eddie had already taught me. The list had reached 50 things. I thought that I would send it to my siblings as a Christmas gift, but then the idea of a book sounded more appropriate. I went with it.
Cliff T.: What kinds of reactions are you getting from this book?
Karen W.: Very positive feedback. People are looking for stories that make them feel better in these strange times.
Cliff T.: Speaking of reaction what was Eddie’s?
Karen W.: Eddie is so excited. We had business cards made for him with the book cover image, and he passes them out like he’s a proud grandfather. He also hand
wrote the title chapters. His energy is definitely in this book.
Cliff T.: This looks like it is a fun book to read I won’t ask for any spoilers, but will say it looks like this book will warm the heart of the reader.
Karen W.: It is heartwarming. And so much fun.
Cliff T.: Karen thank you so very much for doing a Candid Conversation.
Karen W.: It was a pleasure! My best to you!
Her website http://karenwiand.com/
Karen wrote to us from Bloomington Hills MI