In this searing and seriously funny memoir, Dorothy Ellen Palmer falls down, a lot, and spends a lifetime learning to appreciate her disability. Born with two very different, very tiny feet, she was adopted as a toddler by an already wounded 1950s family. From childhood surgeries to decades as a feminist teacher, mom, improv coach and unionist, she tried to hide being different. But now, standing proud with her walker, she’s sharing her journey. Navigating abandonment, abuse and ableism, she finds her birth parents and a new chosen family in the disability community.
About the author
Dorothy Ellen Palmer is a mom, binge knitter, disabled senior writer, accessibility consultant and retired high school drama teacher and union activist. She grew up in Alderwood, Toronto, and spent childhood summers at a three-generation cottage near Fenelon Falls.
For three decades, she worked in three provinces as a high school English/Drama teacher, teaching on a Mennonite Colony, a four-room schoolhouse, an adult learning centre attached to a prison and a highly diverse new high school in Pickering. Elected to her union executive in multiple capacities, she served as Branch President and Picket Captain. While coaching for the Canadian Improv Games, she created and toured staff and student improv workshops to fight bullying, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and homophobia.
Dorothy sits on the Accessibility Advisory Committee of the Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD) and is an executive member of Canadian Creative Writers and Writing Programs (CCWWP) where she writes a monthly column on disability for the newsletter.
Her work has appeared in: Nothing Without Us, REFUSE, Wordgathering, Alt-Minds, All Lit Up, Don’t Talk to Me About Love, Little Fiction Big Truths, 49th Shelf and Open Book. Her first novel, When Fenelon Falls (Coach House, 2010), features a disabled teen protagonist in the Woodstock-Moonwalk summer of 1969. She lives in Burlington, Ontario, and can always be found tweeting @depalm.
- Short-listed, Hamilton Literary Award for Non-fiction
"A highly readable, sharp memoir that will hopefully clear a wide trail for more disabled voices to shine."