I knew an old man who lived in the Virginia home for Incurables in Richmond.

Dear Editor 
I knew an old man who lived in the Virginia home for Incurables in Richmond. Joseph Troth’s legs were useless, but he had lived with his loving parents until they became old and died. Joseph had a close friend, Myrtle, who was blind from birth and was a foundling.  She had no last name, because her parents were unknown. Apparently no one appreciated her until Joseph met her.
Joseph and Myrtle ran a small concession stand. He was the eyes, and she was the legs. The home was beside a large public park, Byrd Park. Myrtle would push Joseph’s wheelchair, and he would give directions.
Joseph grew up on a vegetable farm in Northern Virginia. His father took vegetables to the market in Washington, D.C., and Joseph would ride along in the wagon. One day the president visited their stall. The president visited for a short while and then he invited them to come to the white house. He said he wanted to continue the conversation when they were finished at the market. They would have cold lemonade. Anyway, the visit to the White House was one of Joseph’s fond memories.
Can you imagine a time when the invitation was genuine, with no press coverage, and no photographs? It was just a meeting of a president, a farmer, and a disabled young boy on a hot, sticky Washington afternoon. This meeting was over a hundred years ago.
Lucy Bednekoff
Weir