Meet Harold "Laddie" Holt

Laddie speaks through poetry

While the keyboard rested on the floor, Harold "Laddie" Holt typed with a pointer attached to his shoe. Typing one letter at a time, his thoughts slowly made their appearance on the computer screen. His thoughts and ideas became poems. Laddie was the author and publisher of several books including "In the Other Fellow's Shoes" and "As I Am."

Born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder, Laddie could not walk, talk, or use his hands. The Riverside, Rhode Island resident,therefore, had to depend upon others to perform his daily tasks. Writing was his only means of communication.

Typing one letter at time was painstakingly slow, often taking hours to compose an idea and a poem. Personal computers did not exist when Laddie began his writing career. Instead, he bought an IBM electric typewriter. However, typewriters are not ideal writing tools for individuals with disabilities such as Laddie. For example, his mother or another family member had to insert and properly align sheets of paper in the typewriter before the poet could type his poems. Making mistakes was often hazardous to his writing. It was nearly impossible for Laddie to erase mistakes independently; and frequently the mistakes were so plentiful that he often had to retype pages.

The SHARE Foundation provided Laddie with a home computer in the mid-80's. Then, the UMass Dartmouth Center for Rehabilitation Engineering modified the system to make it easier and faster for him to transfer his thoughts to the computer screen and then eventually onto paper. A word processor was installed, making corrections and editing a breeze. In addition to working with him on his writing, the computer also helped him live independently. In 1998, Laddie Holt passed away, leaving behind his poetry and a legacy of courage.

Some of Laddie's poems from his book of poetry "As I Am." :

Poetry Index

SHARE Foundation How does it feel?
SHARE Foundation  A Friend
SHARE Foundation  Flying High

How Does It Feel?

Who can really say
When it's just something you have to live with
Twenty-four hours a day.

Sometimes we do feel badly
For through no fault of our own,
We have to sit in a wheelchair
And are often left alone.

For though we may be handicapped
We would like to own a home---
Have a wife and little ones
That we could call our own.

But with a lot more learning
And some specialized training too
For me, as for the others
There are things which we might do.

We need more recreation
We who have C.P.
And along with other handicapped
Be treated normally.

So let's broaden our horizons
And make our dreams come true
For all people have some handicap
We just have ours show through.

[Return to Poetry Index]

A Friend

There is something in the hearts of men
That needs and wants to have a friend.
Some person that to him alone
Stands above all others he has known.

Someone he's grown with through the years
To UMDCRE his joys and know his fears.
Someone he knows will really care
A person who will always dare.

To tell him when he's in the wrong,
And have a patience that is long.
Of all the treasures God gave men,
The greatest treasure is a friend.

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Flying High

Mom bought a kite for me
When I was still her little man
And when she got it soaring
She tied it to my hand

To leave me there for hours
As content as I could be
Until some cross wind took it
And caught it in a tree.

I'd be a fighter pilot
Racing through the sky
Soaring, dipping, soaring
Always flying high.

I felt a real security
In that springtime of my years
Mom or dad were always near
To wipe away all fears.

But all life can't be as carefree
As that very happy day
I must look for the good of life
When and where I may.

Still I am a pilot
With a joystick in my hand
Striving for the knowledge--
This world's good to understand.

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