From the Publisher
In 1949 Bob Baker of Tampa, Florida, at the age of 15, dove into a shallow lake at a church picnic and broke his neck. He suffered a severe cervical spinal cord injury affecting all four limbs, leaving him a quadriplegic.Bob suffered terrible (yet understandable) mood swings, going from feeling "...as low as a snake’s belly" to bubbling along with a joke and a smile. However, Bob was special, not because of his physical limitations; he was special in spite of them.Bob lived through his mind, his dear friends and even brief acquaintances whose paths he graced. One of those friends was Frances, his favorite nurse in those early, dark years. In 1996 Bob wrote a letter to Frances. He had composed this in his mind, off and on for decades and he wanted to share things that he could not tell her at the time. He wanted her to know that her time with him was not wasted, and he wanted to share with her his successes. Years later, Bob shared a copy of that letter with me. After reading it, I tucked it away in a box on the top shelf of my closet. And that’s where it stayed, until now. Recently, a desire arose in me to share the story of Bob’s inspiring life with others. I remembered the "Dear Frances" letter and retrieved it from its safe haven, its time-worn box tied with blue ribbon and now covered with dust. Inside the box was a brief note to me and included with it (for my pleasure) was a copy of the gardening section of a local newspaperThe contents of the letter were originally meant for Frances, of course. The letter either never made its way into her hands, or she chose to not reply.Using the "Dear Frances" letter as my guide and eventually my outline for this book, I gathered details from my memories as well as those of his close friends, resulting in what I believe to be an accurate account of Bob’s remarkable life.It is my heart’s desire that you will come to know through the pages of this book, the indomitable spirit of Bob Baker and his personal triumph of will over extreme physical limitations, I hope you will feel his zest for living, and his deep appreciation for those who stood by him. Bob’s persistence, trial and error and ingenious methods inspired those around him to be their very best. I hope that in some small way, this will touch your life and maybe help others who have the misfortune of becoming a victim of life-changing accidents.