The Awakening of HK Derryberry: My Unlikely Friendship with the Boy Who Remembers Everything

The Awakening of HK Derryberry: My Unlikely Friendship with the Boy Who Remembers Everything


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The Awakening of HK Derryberry is the inspiring story of how one man was willing to step out of his upper middle-class world into the life of a young, disabled boy with a dismal future. Little did Jim Bradford know the transformational potential of that friendship—for HK and himself.

HK Derryberry came into the world with the odds stacked heavily against him. He was taken from his unmarried mother’s womb three months prematurely when she was killed in a car wreck. After ninety-six days of seesawing between life and death, HK’s grandmother took him home.

One Saturday morning Jim Bradford, a successful businessman in his mid-fifties, happens into Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits and sees a nine-year-old’s head pressed down against a black plastic boom box with a crooked antenna and three strips of silver duct tape stretched across the battery cover. He can’t help but notice the long, white plastic braces on each of the child’s legs. Mr. Bradford learns that HK’s grandmother is forced to bring him to the fast-food restaurant where she works, leaving him to sit alone all day at a small table, with only his boom box for company. On subsequent Saturdays Jim feels drawn back to the restaurant to meet with HK and begins spending every weekend with him.

Eventually it becomes apparent that buried beneath HK’s severe disabilities is one spectacular ability. He is diagnosed with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), which involves superlative powers of recollection that enable him to remember everything that has happened to him since the age of three. Less than one hundred people have been diagnosed with HSAM, but none of them have the physical disabilities of HK Derryberry.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780785216209
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 159,482
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Andy Hardin has known Jim Bradford over twenty-five years through church and was part of his Saturday morning tennis group when Jim first met HK. Jim introduced Andy to HK early in their friendship, and he closely followed their adventures throughout the years. After reading Jim’s treasured tales of HK’s many anecdotes, Andy offered his help to further develop the story. Andy is a retired attorney living in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Connie.

Table of Contents

Prologue: An Aimless Existence 1

1 A Twenty-Five-Cent Cup of Coffee 3

2 The Pint-Sized Pickpocket 9

3 Groundhog Day 15

4 "I'll Never Forget You for the Rest of My Life" 21

5 Precious Pearl and the Family Tree 25

6 Quittin' Time 31

7 Life-Giving Decision 35

8 Miracle Baby 39

9 Sunday's Child 43

10 Reality Set In 47

11 Borrowing My Eyes 51

12 School Challenges 57

13 Brebda's Surprise 63

14 No Tree, No Lights, No Santa 69

15 "I Just Know Dates" 73

16 "Will You Stay Until I Say My Prayers?" 81

17 "Don't Worry; Mr. Bradford Is a Good Driver" 85

18 Bluegrass and Friends 93

19 Cover Story 101

20 "You Know, I'm Famous" 109

21 The World's Best Blind Pilot 115

22 Proud to Be a Rotarian 125

23 Divine Intervention 131

24 William Returns 139

25 Driving and Riding Blind 145

26 Football Rivalries 151

27 The Game Jersey 157

28 Dreaming Big 163

29 Sixteenth Birthday 167

30 Speaking to Thousands 175

31 The Flood 181

32 A Gift of Memory 189

33 King of the Prom 197

34 "I Think She Would Have Loved Me" 203

Epilogue: New Life Awakening 211

Acknowledgments 213

About the Authors 215

Customer Reviews

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The Awakening of H.K. Derryberry: My Unlikely Friendship with the Boy Who Remembers Everything 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Inspiring story about two remarkable people. Renforces your faith in the goodnesd of God and man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an all time favorite, that will hold a special place in my heart . A must read. You can't help but fall in love with HK and his trusty side kick.
ChatWithVera More than 1 year ago
This short non-fiction book recounts the story of a severely handicapped boy and a retired gentleman who met perchance because of the gentleman's desire for a cup of coffee. Seeing the boy seated all alone and obviously with multiple disabilities Mr. Bradford asked about him. Learning his story he struck up an acquaintance with the boy and his grandmother who worked at the restaurant. Altruistic sympathy and simple human kindness enabled Jim Bradford to aid in the care and keeping of young HK providing stimulating company and cheering him on to achievements. In the course of events, it was discovered that although handicapped, HK had a remarkable talent. He was capable of Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM) which enabled HK to recall accurate and astonishing details of events and occasions back to age three. I found learning about HSAM to be particularly fascinating. I also found Jim Bradford's continued care and support of HK particularly amazing. As time passed, HK was able to graduate high school and he and Mr. Bradford have had the opportunity to engage in motivational speaking opportunities. This little book provides a good opportunity to read about an amazing young man and his amazing sponsor and supporter. I encourage teens and adults to read. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Handlebar Publicity Group to facilitate a review of my opinions. I was not compensated.
Doreen-renewing-strength More than 1 year ago
SEP 15 A MUST READ-the Awakening of HK DERRYBERRY Jim Bradford, a successful businessman happens upon a nine year old "pick pocket", HK, who carefully honed his craft and stole Jim's heart. HK was quiet and socially immature but something about him left Jim with questions and a flickering desire to know this quiet boy sitting all alone in the corner booth of Mrs. Winners chicken that Saturday morning. HK was being raised by his paternal grandmother, Pearl, after his mother died in childbirth and William, HK's dad was the biological absentee father with multiple addictions. HK has severe disabilities but one spectacular ability HSAM, Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. Less than 100 people have been diagnosed with HSAM but none of them have the physical disabilities of HK. HK has superlative powers of recollection that enable him to remember everything that has happened to him since the age of three. What started as just a friendly chat and a sense of sadness for the boy, soon became the "best friend" of HK. Brenda, Jim's wife, warned Jim about getting too caught up with the boy and neglect his daughters and family. But our little "pick pocket" soon stole her heart. Jim and Brenda gave HK time. HK and Pearl were always treated with great respect. Jim and Brenda helped both Pearl and HK by including HK into their lives. Friday was "date night" with Brenda but HK became Jim's weekend shadow. Jim looked for ways to help HK learn about life despite his blindness and cerebral palsy. Everyone in Brentwood knew our little "pick pocket" and he stole hearts each time. From that quiet nine year old socially immature HK that teachers from the blind school gave up on became the high school graduate and "best blind pilot" and "best blind pontoon driver" ever as well as well known in many amazing places. HK stole my heart as well as I read this fascinating story. Jim's life was already successful before HK but HK taught Jim. As Jim says, "our world would be better if everyone could see life the way HK does-through his heart rather than his eyes".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of THE AWAKENING OF HK DERRYBERRY: MY UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP WITH THE BOY WHO REMEMBERS EVERYTHING by Jim Bradford with Andy Hardin from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. It is a true story that will leave you smiling and blinking back tears. This is a fast read – I was able to finish it in a day – and it is wonderful. The words will warm your heart, and you will want to keep reading more. Basically, it is about a little boy who finds a man and changes his life, and vice versa. This just goes to show you must never overlook anyone no matter what you might think about them. It also goes to show that even if you don’t think you can make a difference to someone, think again. Anyone can be a role model if they put someone else before them. I can’t express enough how much I loved this book. I recommend this, especially as a gift for this upcoming Christmas season.
Wendy_Strain More than 1 year ago
The Awakening of H.K. Derryberry is really a book about the amazing relationship that developed between a man and a little boy he met one day, never suspecting this child would change his entire outlook on life. Beginning with the unusual pull that brought their two worlds together, the story reveals, in beautiful unfolding prose, the incredible richness of a life limited by need and capability as well as the surprising empty space in an otherwise rich life of fulfillment and success.
JulieGee More than 1 year ago
This is a great book to read to restore your faith in the human spirit and the simple act of kindness. HK and Mr. Bradford have a unique bond that really tugs at your heart strings. This book will make you cry, but they are happy tears! So glad I got to become acquainted with this daring duo!