(Speech based on Autobiography published in VOICE Magazine in Sept.
Mr. Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and guests," There's
Weirdo" is the title of an autobiography that was published in VOICE Magazine back in Sept.
1987. The story (which is about a troubled teenage youth of the late 60's--early 70's) touched millions of lives all over
the world; and letters of a positive note came into the publisher of VOICE Magazine from all different parts of the globe.
How do I know all this? Well you see, the troubled teenage youth of the late 60's--early 70's was me and There's Weirdo is my published autobiography.
I was born on Oct. 11, 1954 with problems in my central nervous system; and this
caused severe hyperactivity which led to problems later on in life. For the year 1968 brought me to Trident Jr. High School
in Anaheim, CA; and also to the so called age where the boys and the girls are separated from the nerds and the geeks. Unfortunately,
because of the many problems associated with severe hyperactivity, I was set apart as one of the nerds and the geeks. I was
verbally abused and made fun of constantly by my classmates at Trident Jr. High, and this went on day, after day, after week,
after month. Then the family packed up and moved to the Sacramento Area in the Winter of 1970.
It was there I finished up Jr. High School at Will Rogers Intermediate School
in Fair Oaks, California; which is an unincorporated suburb of Sacramento. And it wasn't long things were exactly the same
as they were at Trident Jr. High, only worse. In addition to being verbally abused and made fun of by my classmates, I was
physically abused as well, particularly by some bullies on campus. And it began to take its toll on me, as I found myself
being drained more, and more, of my self worth, and my self respect. I began to despise myself more and more to the point
that it began to show in my outward appearance, as I became more and more grotesque looking with each passing day. Well, a
lot of that was about to change, for in the Winter of 1971, I was converted to Christianity. And following that major milestone
in my life, the changing life experiences of Christianity began to turn my life around completely in such a way, I found myself
being more and more well liked, all of a sudden!
The Fall of 1972 brought me to Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, MD;
which is a suburb of Washington DC. It was at good ol' Thomas S. Wootton High (which became my alma mater) that I served as
a team manager for Varsity Wrestling, Varsity Football, and Track. I lettered in all three sports, twice in wrestling. And
the coaches grew to like me and respect me a great deal for the work that I did. And the athletes, some of them being the
most popular kids in school, saw how much the coaches liked me, and respected me, and as a result, they too grew to like me
and respect me a great deal. For you see, no matter how popular athletes become on a high school campus, or how BIG for their
britches they may get, one thing remains the same. They always look up to their coaches.
And it wasn't long before after that, that the cheerleaders and pom pom girls
followed suit. And so by the Fall of 1973, the beginning of my senior year in high school, and the beginning of Football Season,
I had acquired total high school popularity. From being the biggest geek in town, all the way to being one of the most popular
kids in school was quite a leap! And that was a change, I feel, that only could have been made by the changing life experiences
of Christianity. And I was voted the Most Improved Student in the Thomas S. Wootton Class of '74,which was announced at the
Graduation Ceremony along with the Valedictorian and the Top Ten in the class. And some time after high school graduation,
and starting college, back in California, I finally came to realize that the changing life experiences of Christianity had
indeed turned my life around forever, and my life would never again go back to being the way it was before my conversion,
and that Bill Baxter the Nerd, was gone for good. And so I have become more and more well liked ever since.
In conclusion, a lot of blessings have been bestowed upon my life since that
Winter of 1971--some of which I've obtained here at Toastmasters the last few years. And I like to look at these
blessings, and ponder on these blessings from time to time because I have found
that to be both, an ultimate source of my self worth and my self respect (which I got back) as well as the healing ointment
for a lot of the social and emotional scars that were inflicted on my life needlessly, during my adolescence, when I was treated
as a social outcast. And so now, I can get up in the morning, look in the mirror and say: "You know Bill, you're alright".