I had an interview with Anita Bloom Ornoff, author of the book BEYOND DANCING. While this may not seem like a big deal, there are several things you may want to consider. Anita is 85 years old and wrote her book a year ago. Anita is also a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. She was the first woman to obtain a driver’s license using only her hands and was the first disabled woman to enter and receive her degree from New York University.

Anita lost the use of her lower limbs at the beginning of World War II. He enrolled in the WAAC which later became the WAC. A cut on his finger became infected and the neglect resulted in an infection that required the spinal cord to be cut. She has had three husbands and four marriages and two children. You will have to read his book to calculate the math.

Please note that this is a woman who was disabled long before the United States Disabilities Act. His fight was constant and uphill. He had to fight the VA for benefits and he had to fight a society that was not yet ready to grant everyone equal access to benefits and rights that most of us take for granted. When asked how things are for the disabled now, compared to after WWII, Anita said that, in comparison, today is like heaven.

This brings to mind the question of whether or not we can control our lives and participate in happiness, regardless of the circumstances. Many are raised in situations that seem insurmountable. But the fact that there are those who rise above those situations should be proof that each of us has more control over our happiness than we are led to believe. Anita said that about everything; don’t let others discourage you. Don’t let people say that what you want is not possible. Don’t accept the norm, as the norm and conventional wisdom are often wrong.

Despite all the forces that seemed to be against her, Anita Bloom Ornoff refused to accept a “can’t do it” attitude. He fought for what he wanted and has led a happy and joyful life. History is replete with those who, against all apparent odds, rose above the “trials and tribulations” of life and created a reality that was to their liking and not dictated by others. Books like the recently published “The Secret” say that with the power of the mind, anything is possible. Anita is an example of an ordinary person who brings that chorus into perspective and reality. Perhaps there should be a little less whining in our society and perhaps we should listen to those, like Anita, who have paved the way to show that what we think is what we believe.

The novel is published by Bartleby Press, ISBN 091015550X, 311 pages, hardcover.

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