Today was a remarkable testament to how many people Anthony's sweet spirit has touched over the years. Dozens of friends lined up in Schuler Books & Music on Alpine Avenue NW to get autographed copies of his book. The store sold out of more than 100 copies. Another batch will be printed ASAP to meet demand and shipped to stores by mid-week.
Many were current or former neighbors who held fond memories of Anthony. One was a young woman who met him when she worked as a school safety. Another was a childhood playmate. Another was a neighbor whose bottles and cans Anthony faithfully collects and redeems.
"This is his dream," said Marianne Mallekoote, who met him in a Bible study about 10 years ago. "He'd call us every day: 'I want my book published!' He's wonderful. We love him to pieces."
Some dabbed tears as they watched Anthony sign copy after copy in his careful, painstaking script.
"This has meant so much to him, and to all of us," said Linda Mroz, whose children once played with Anthony. "It's just been a joy."
So far more than 300 copies of "Anthony's Prayers" have been sold with very little publicity. A story on his book by Tom Rademacher is due out any day in The Grand Rapid Press, which should generate even more interest.