Friday, December 6, 2013
I have a faint memory as a little girl of answering the door to a sort of odd-looking man. He wore a hat that he took off when the door opened and carried a dark suitcase. I’m sure my mom was right behind me in the doorway but I stayed to listen because I was intrigued by his odd appearance and strange way of talking.
He was selling cleaning products and kitchen items – a seemingly odd career for someone like himself. He moved awkwardly and spoke with difficulty. What I didn’t know then was how much he had overcome to stand on our doorstep. His name was Bill Porter.
When he was younger, the state of Oregon thought Bill was 'unemployable' because he had cerebral palsy and suggested he collect disability benefits but he refused. Instead, with his mother’s encouragement, he went to work for the Watkins Company. He was hired reluctantly and given the toughest sales route. He was determined to be successful despite rude comments and doors slammed in his face.
Bill died yesterday in Portland at the age of 81 – a long life for someone with that disease. Many wonderful things have been written about this obscure man’s life. He was featured on 20/20, had a book written about his life and, in 2002, a made-for-tv movie called Door to Door starring William H. Macy won an Emmy.
Give yourself a little gift this month. Check it out at your local library and curl up by the Christmas tree to watch it – it’s worth the effort and I think you’ll love it!