By Your Side…release date February 14th, 2023
Author Dr. Christine Grimaldi
Thirty years ago I was honored to be hired as Barbara Walters’ fitness trainer and health coach. It was a day I will always remember. I always had the curious mind to learn about others and what made people tick, what made them happy, and what made them productive.
My dad would say curiosity killed the cat, which was an idiom used back in the day, for curiosity can be dangerous. I embraced what could be seen as danger and all the positive effects it had on me.
When I met Barbara she said to me, ” Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” Curiosity is the quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by the observation in humans and other animals. Well that is all I had to hear to sum up the positive aspect of my neurodivergent thinking. At that moment I was silently grown up.
Who would have thought that the Barbara Walters would be impressed by what everyone else saw as not the typical norm. She encouraged me to channel my curiosity into a life full of critical thinking, conscious leadership, and purpose driven work.
During our time together, Barbara often spoke to me about her sister Jackie, who she adored beyond words. Jackie was autistic, and was never given the opportunity to create and express her greatness.
For the next 25 years, Barbara and I walked together in Central Park, mostly the literary walk, which was a beautiful path lined with poets and writers. I believe that this walk inspired both of us. We had wide ranging conversations about everything from fine literature and fiction, to medical abstracts, to topics of life that were rarely discussed openly. Our walks were a source of great inspiration and learning for both of us.
Over the years, Barbara expressed to me how she wished her sister Jackie had someone like me to help her realize all the value, creativity and purpose that she had to offer. These words meant a lot to me, and I took them to heart.
Barbara was a true believer in me and my work and was my patron, as I dedicated myself to brightening the lives of and creating a better future for children.
During one of our walks, Barbara confided in me that she did not have a legacy that truly reflected her inner feelings and desires.
“I am tired of putting my names on buildings and hospital wings that don’t truly express who I am.” I replied with confidence that she had instilled in me, “Someday I will leave you the legacy that you will be proud of.” She then asked, “And how do you plan on doing that?” I replied, ” I do not know yet, but I am sure I will find a way.” She chuckled and we continued our walk.
Today is a bittersweet moment for me, as I remember Barbara Walters who passed away last week. She was a dear friend, a loving mentor, and a mother figure to me. Barbara purchased an expensive apartment for me in New York so that I can have a safe and comfortable place to rest and recharge, while I pursued my purpose-driven work helping terminally ill children. She believed in the importance of self care in order to be able to take care of others and always encouraged me to take care of myself first. A wise lesson, that is still quite difficult for me, when resources are not readily available as they were when I was by her side. I became the change she wanted to see. I sold the apartment that she bought for me and used the money to purchase an enrichment home in Stony Brook, NY, and a writing retreat center upstate New York, for young adults with disabilities. I also founded a brand called AUTISTICANA, which is a news media center where people of all abilities can come for education, leadership, and respite. It is a place where I can teach the lessons that Barbara taught me to a new generation of wonderful kids.
In honor of Barbara Walters we have created a neuro-divergent news media company (501c3) that teaches kids of all abilities how to effectively communicate and socialize through interpersonal and writing skills by becoming news reporters for conscious leadership programs. These kids have exceeded all of my expectations and continue to do so every day. As a tribute to my dear friend and mentor Barbara, I hope that this company brings the same joy and fulfillment that she brought to my life.
Through this program, I hope to launch these kids into the bright future that Barbara always wanted for them.
Note to self
Barbara as she always did, would say to me . “Christine is ……….”,
and I would respond, “Christine is the person who never gives up, because you taught her how not to, and you taught her how to be the change you wish to see in this world”.
Thank you Barbara, for your legacy has begun…..
Please stay tuned for her memoir to be released.
“By Your Side’‘ A Walk in The Park With Barabara Walters. “
Release date: February 14th, 2023 (The Day of Love).
Barbara always asked if heaven is for real, well Barbara, you and the pope left together…..