Nate’s Time Travel

Though Nate can be eminently predictable, his ability to create something new that both confuses and amazes us is completely unpredictable.

Once he started reflecting on his life in ways he couldn’t when his past was his present, Nate employed an interesting way of tying everything together.

“Did you know,” he would blurt out, “that the Disney movie Air Bud came out the same year that the new McDonald’s of Lake Forest was first built?”

“Nate,” I’d answer. “I don’t know what year that was.” Then he would deliver the answer – 1997.

It’s fascinating to me how he brings it all together in a way that soothes his often chaotic mind. He’s created a timeline where everything he cares about fits neatly. Yet, it precludes real communication, because no one but Nate knows these frames of reference. 

I have to confess that sometimes I don’t believe him. I’ve caught him in something I know isn’t true and told him so. He’s fine with that. It doesn’t deter him from his statement (Note: I just Googled the McDonald’s of Lake Forest and damned if he isn’t right on that one!).

Watching Nate make sense of his life is mesmerizing. We’ve always known that in that noggin of his was a vast storehouse of facts, wisdom and skill. Its been our unwavering goal to let it all out.

Just yesterday, Nate, in a nod to my blog, uttered this random phrase:

“Pinocchio and his journey through hyperlexia.” He often comments that the little wooden puppet sings autistic songs (“doo ba dee ba, doo ba dee ba”). I’d never heard Nate say the word hyperlexia and I laughed warmly.

“That’s not funny,” he responded lightly, with not a trace of anger.

It was remarkable, a brief passing defensiveness. A perfect reaction, delivered in a  totally appropriate tone. Those are the moments that give me absolute confidence that this boy of mine is going to end up just fine.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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