Bertha’s Son
by Joseph Waddy

"Life was never easy for me, but despite serious struggles, I’m here to let you know how Bertha’s son survived."

Born to Bertha, a poverty-stricken single mother in Guyana, author Waddy faced challenges from the earliest age. His father refused to acknowledge him, and his mother or grandmother had to tie him to the bed while they went out to work or shop for fear of losing him. He had several serious health issues and, shoeless, he could not start school until he was ten. But the family was taken care of by a secret benefactor. This began when Bertha’s employer, learning of the family’s extreme difficulties, began providing extra money, food, and cast-off clothing.

When Waddy started school, he was predictably teased and mistreated at first because of his ragged appearance, but as he began to grasp the finer points of education, he became more respected. As a teen, he secured a prestigious Cambridge fellowship, entered the medical field, and was able to move to America through that profession. Over the years, he met and romanced many women. He cared for Bertha until her passing and still counts his first daughter, Janet, as a guiding light.

Waddy’s memoir is infused with good humor, even as he describes life-threatening perils he faced in his personal and professional life or recalls the sorrows and setbacks of ill-fated relationships. His book tells the rare story of rising from the depths of deprivation to the success of excellent employment. Waddy became highly regarded by others, and his migration to the United States offered far greater opportunities for himself and his family. He presents his chronology with verve, frankness, and accumulated wisdom. Now retired, settled in a happy marriage, able to travel, and even return to school, Waddy presents an engaging, enviable picture of a man who has overcome many extreme obstacles and emerged the better for them.

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