Visit from a VIP

Charlie Ledbetter, VIP

At the Frazer Center, we have lots of scrapbooks and photos from our 68-year history, but recently we were lucky enough to meet a bit of living history when we received a visit from one of the very first students ever to attend.

Charlie Ledbetter grew up in College Park and now lives at Christian City Convalescent Center in Union City. He remembers the old church basement that was the original home of the Frazer Center, then known as the Cerebral Palsy Center. He also remembers when the pavilion in the Cator Woolford Gardens was a workshop where he would spend so much of his time with his friends and teachers. For many years, that workshop was a place where people with cerebral palsy could develop a trade and engage in entrepreneurship. Charlie’s job was to sand wooden candles that were sold as decorative pieces for wall sconces.

Charlie with Gloria Williams and brother Sammy

Charlie’s brother Sammy lives in Manhattan and visits Charlie every few weeks. Sammy, who is 16 years younger than Charlie, remembers riding with their father every afternoon to pick up Charlie from the workshop. He is now Charlie’s guardian and says his brother “has become such a blessing.” When Charlie told Sammy he wanted to see his old workshop, Sammy didn’t hesitate to make the arrangements.

Joining the brothers on their tour of the Frazer Center was Gloria Williams who has worked with Charlie for the past 14 years. She was delighted to finally see the school she had heard so much about and to peruse archival photographs. “Oh my heavenly stars! There’s Charlie!” Sammy would exclaim as he recognized his brother in several pictures. As Charlie looked at the photos, he remembered meeting Ed Sullivan and Yvonne “Lillian Munster” De Carlo when they were in Atlanta to help raise money for the Cerebral Palsy Center. They reminisced about the square dances that took place in the atrium. Sammy was a little boy and recalls the dancers in wheelchairs and sneaking down the hall to explore the classrooms.

All told, Charlie spent over 50 years at Frazer. Back in 1949, it was standard practice for doctors to recommend that parents send any child born with a developmental disability to an institution. Sammy gives credit to his parents for making an alternative choice to give his brother a more inclusive, fulfilling life where he could make friends, have an occupation, and contribute to his community. Charlie is 76 years old now and still loves interacting with others. Whenever Sammy visits Charlie at his home, all the other residents and staff wave and speak to Charlie. Sammy has dubbed him “The Mayor of Christian City.”

We at Frazer are honored to know The Mayor, and we welcome this VIP back to his old stomping grounds anytime he likes.

Charlie with brother Sammy and Frazer Center Executive Director Paige McKay Kubik

 

Perusing the archives with Frazer Center Development Director Kimberly Hays de Muga

 

Charlie (front left) in the old shop

 

The old shop has changed a lot.

 

Charlie (2nd row of children, second from left) during a visit from Ed Sullivan, 1954

 

Charlie (2nd row, 2nd from left) with fellow students and teachers in front of the shop, circa 1960s

 

Charlie in front of the shop/pavilion

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING! The Frazer Center will be closed from Wed, Nov 22, through Sun, Nov 26. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!