Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mr. Ayers Goes To Washington.

I've mentioned Nathaniel Ayers here previously, and his ongoing saga continues to be chronicled by the estimable Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez:

In those early days after we met 5 1/2 years ago, when Nathaniel Ayers slept on the streets of skid row, he was a dreamer. He'd play a two-string violin at the feet of the Beethoven statue and imagine a day when he would figure out how to get the two missing strings, or a day when he might visit a concert hall or play well enough to draw an audience.
But he never would have guessed that one day he'd be invited to the White House to meet the president and to perform at a celebration commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
"It's the most incredible thing I ever could have imagined," Mr. Ayers said a few weeks ago on hearing of the invitation through his sister, Jennifer.
To be honest, I had misgivings about the trip. I tend to err on the side of being overprotective and shielding my friend from stressful situations. Despite remarkable progress, he is still at the mercy of unpredictable storms like those that knocked him out of the Juilliard music school nearly 40 years ago with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
But the dreamer already had the scene in his head — Mr. Ayers goes to Washington. And he made a passionate appeal to our friendship, asking me please to be there with him.
OK, I said. But Mr. Ayers needed a new set of duds for his big day, so Bobby Witbeck, a longtime Ayers family friend, took him to a Hollywood Suit Outlet. Mr. Ayers knew exactly what he wanted, and when I later asked why he got a white suit, white shoes, white bowtie and white derby, I already knew the answer.
"Because it's the White House," said Mr. Ayers.

The rest is

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