The Ted Williams Reality Show has a hero – his ex wife

I’m not surprised at the naiveté of the millions of people reacting to the Ted Williams story. Your average salivating excitable person on twitter or any of the other social networks is exactly as I have described. Mix up this story with celebrity culture and  fickle minds with the attention span of a goldfish, and you get mass hysteria.

While I am touched by the warm story of redemption and second chance given to another human being, I’m not getting too excited for Ted yet,  but I’m very concerned of what this sudden hysteria and fame will do to him. But you know what the biggest irony of this story is? How many of these people going ape shit, would have stopped to say hello to him or throw him some spare change.

Ted claims, he has been sober for two years, something I find hard to believe. Two years of sobriety on the streets is a tough one if you make it, but what is just as tough is what he has to face, being suddenly thrown into the spotlight where even the most stable of us may have problems adjusting to. He’s going to need help with his transition.
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With all the vultures circling, this is going to be a tough call. Everyone wants a piece of Ted Williams,  he’s got an agent, was flown to New York, was put up in what I’m sure was a swanky hotel (sans mini bar I hope) scrubbed up and appeared with his hair much shorter. He’s already the voice for  Kraft Macaroni Cheese  and has also signed up to do voice overs for MSNBC and appeared on NBC’s Today show.

Along with the usual suspect early morning network shows, job offers are pouring from all over including Oprah Winfrey (did you expect anything less?), who wants him to join her newly launched network OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).

Even the government of Bermuda want to fly him out, since they heard one of his lasting memories was a holiday he took to Bermuda in the ’70’s.

Ted Williams reunites with his 90 year old mother Julia.

So concerned with ratings and cashing in, they whisked him away from the airport, leaving his 90 year old mother he hadn’t seen in almost 20 years, waiting at arrivals.  I can only hope this isn’t an indication of how they will handle his emotional and psychological welfare, because there is no doubt he will need ongoing help if he is not to succumb to his demons.

Ted with his estranged family – the early years.

There is however an unsung hero in this story that has almost gone ignored. She is Patricia Kirtely, Ted’s former wife and mother to his 4 daughters. While Ted was smoking crack on the streets and racking up an extensive criminal record, Patricia who is partially blind, single handedly raised his 4 daughters and a child he fathered with a different woman. Her sisters and a cousin took in other children he had with other women.

“He wasn’t involved,” said Williams’ 30-year-old daughter, Julia Pullien, who was 7 when her dad left. “Our mom was our sole provider. She is a more than phenomenal person. My father is a nice guy, but he fell victim to the streets. We prayed for him and we worried about him, but we became accustomed to the fact that he just wasn’t there.” Kirtley struggled. She received public assistance before she was able to go to school and become a blind vendor.

“My mother and sisters pitched in and drove me because I can’t see to drive,” said Kirtley. The children also didn’t understand what was going on.

“They didn’t understand why he was never there for their school functions, or just to help with their homework,” Kirtley said.”That’s when I really could have used help, because I couldn’t see their pages. My kids are really good readers, though, because I made them read everything to me out loud.”

Ted, enjoy your 15 minutes of fame. This time next week you would have reached saturation level and be old news.

Oh and if anyone wants to throw me a bone I’m also available for voice overs. It’s been a while but in 1989 I cut a demo tape (before the biz went digital) with the help of my voice coach, the late Tom Clay, who was an in demand voice over artist and former DJ.

Oh don’t look at me like that, there has to be some benefits to having a blog.

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