As a toddler, Charlie was a child who talked. Then, without any warning, he just stopped talking. From time to time he could say isolated words, a word here, a word there, always with our strong prompting. But he really couldn’t put words together. He couldn’t say a sentence. He was without the ability to use his language, which most of us just take for granted. Would he ever be able to find it, to use it? We desperately hoped he would, all the while fearing he might not.


And then it happened. After two and a half years, just shy of his fifth birthday, it happened.


It was early on a Sunday morning, and Charlie had spent the night at our house. He and I walked down the stairs to have breakfast and watch a tape of one of his favorite children’s television shows. And he fell. He wasn’t hurt, just falling down a few carpeted steps. He got up, and turned toward me. He looked up at me, and said,



He spoke. On his own, he spoke! He put two words together. He really put four words together! He found his language! He used his language. That was it, and he turned toward the kitchen. And I couldn’t say anything. I just cried.


He is fond of saying,






He continues,








For us, Charlie’s words are just that. They remind us of the beautiful gift of language and brighten our lives.



In August of 2009, his beloved Annie died, his orange tabby cat who had been with him through thick and thin for nine years, sitting in his lap and sleeping beside him in his bed.












And he continued,








Around his seventeenth birthday, Charlie wrote a letter which he saved on the computer as “Charlie’s blues letter.” He had gotten upset with four people at school the day before, and Melinda, remembering Gary’s suggestion, encouraged him to write down what was bothering him.


























Charlie reaches out to others. He cares for others. His trying to connect with them and giving himself to them reveals
another dear part of him.