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The Braille Monitor December, 2000 Edition
by Crystal McClain
From the Editor: Crystal McClain is President of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the NFB of Ohio. Her husband Mark serves on the Board of the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Their daughter Macy faced a worrying problem when she was a bit younger. Crystal described it in Oh Wow!, the eighteenth in the NFB's Kernel series of paperback books. It begins with President Maurer's introduction:
The world is filled with serious questions relating to blindness. For some of these, we are happy to confirm, we have found very satisfactory answers. Crystal McClain reports the following:
Christmas time at the McClain home in Bellfontaine, Ohio, is filled with happiness and love. Our family decorates; writes wish lists; makes candy and cookies; and, of course, loves to shop.
Letter-writing to Santa has been a tradition that all three of our daughters have taken great joy in doing. When Brianne, our eldest daughter, now seventeen, was small, she would dictate her letter for Santa to her father and me. We would listen intently, diligently copying every word for her. Next we all made a trip to the post office to mail this very important letter addressed to the North Pole. Just to be sure that Santa received the letter in plenty of time, a second copy was delivered to Santa personally at a local mall. As Brianne grew older, she began writing her own letters to Santa, but the tradition continued.
In 1990 our twin daughters Madison and Macy were born three months prematurely, and Santa was the furthest thing from our minds. In spite of their uncertain beginning, Madison and Macy have blossomed into very typical, happy eight-year-olds. They each have a distinctive personality and differ in many ways. The most evident difference is Macy's blindness, which means she reads Braille while Madison reads print.
When Christmas season came last year and the girls began to write their letters to Santa, there was a serious dilemma in the household. Macy insisted on writing her letter in Braille, which was her method of communication and therefore not unusual to her. Madison was very concerned that there would be a terrible problem--she was sure Santa could not read Braille! Macy was crushed as Madison continued to insist there was no way Santa would be able to read Macy's letter.
A heartbroken Macy came to her father and me for reassurance that Madison was wrong and that Santa did indeed know Braille. We tried our best, but Macy was not convinced that Santa would be able to read her letter and feared that therefore Christmas would be a disappointment.
Macy patiently waited for a response from Santa, wondering if Madison was correct and hoping she was wrong. Would Santa really be able to read her letter?
Soon two letters arrived--one in print and one in Braille! Macy's face lit up with a huge smile. She was delighted. Macy read the letter over and over again.
Parts of the letter read: "Yes, Macy, Santa does know Braille just as he knows print, English, Spanish, Italian, and all other spoken and non-spoken languages. . . . Written words of all the children around the world are known and answered by Santa."
Madison had made a mistake but was happy to learn of it. Shortly after learning of Santa's ability to read and write Braille, Macy discovered that the Tooth Fairy knew it as well. So to children everywhere, remember: Yes, Macy, Santa does know Braille.
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