|About the Book|
Many Villages Raised Charlie Pratt takes us on a sentimental journey that spans eight decades. We learn in the Foreword that a child of color growing up on the other side of the tracks declared that he was going to be somebody. Indeed, that childMoreMany Villages Raised Charlie Pratt takes us on a sentimental journey that spans eight decades. We learn in the Foreword that a child of color growing up on the other side of the tracks declared that he was going to be somebody. Indeed, that child became somebody. If you judge who somebody is by titles, then that little boy became a true champion with multiple National Track & Field titles, culminating with the 1957 National Decathlon. Charlie Pratt, though, doesnt judge people by titles. He doesnt judge people at all. Instead he looks into their souls, measures them by their good intentions and thanks them for their kind deeds. Hes that rare champion who genuinely credits others before himself. This book introduces us to those others- the people, teams and institutions that touched Charlie Pratt, nurtured him, shaped him, encouraged him, and, yes, raised him - literally, figuratively, and spiritually. Charlie saw these special shareholders in his lifes endeavors through keenly observant eyes, but recalls them and speaks of them from a beholden heart. Hillary Clinton will tell you that the notion that it takes a whole village to raise a child, didnt originate with her. The concept stems from African lore and clearly resides at the very core of Charlie Platt. Now at the precipice of his ninth decade, Charlie revisits eight villages, real and metaphorical, that raised him and continue to raise him up! Through Charlies grateful eyes, we come to appreciate and recognize the wise and caring elders who gave the deserving youth of the village of West Palmyra guidance and opportunity. They instilled values and work ethics that would help Charlie to make good on his promise to be somebody. A slightly later memory recalls the moment when Mrs. Oliva, the mother of another student at Manhattan Colleges freshman orientation, seeing Charlie standing by himself, slipped her arm through his and told him youre not alone anymore. His fellow track stars may have become Charlie Pratts lifelong friends, but it was this generous gesture by a complete stranger that opened the gate to the village of Manhattan College. Charlies recollections take us into other villages, ranging from the expansive U.S. Army to the exclusive One Man Village - Milt Campbell. The memories simultaneously tell Charlie Pratts story and transport us to the America and the world we yearn for. As we delve deeper into Charlies narrative, similar hospitable locales and supportive people from our own biographies repeatedly come to mind. Throughout Charlies noble and nostalgic journey, he names and thanks scores of people for contributions ranging from the mundane to the monumental. Pieced together, their impact forms the tapestry that has been and continues to be the charmed and appreciated life of Charlie Pratt. In the end, we are humbled by both Charlie Pratts achievements and his acknowledgement of those who helped make him somebody. In his only immodest moment, he declares that he is a wealthy man. Of course, he then proceeds to explain: My richness is not in money though. My wealth comes from the abundance of good people who have crossed my path. I hope this book is a way of sharing my wealth with others. There is a song we sing at St. Paul UAME in Palmyra that includes the following words: When I look back over my life... I can say that Ive been truly blessed, I have a testimony. Many Villages Raised Charlie Pratt is Charlies testimony. His heartfelt gratitude and honest words may be inspiration for all who read this memoir to also remember, thank and give testimony to those villages in our own lives responsible for raising us.