Vol. 34, No. 2 February
Barbara Pierce, Editor
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The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, President
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THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF
THE BLIND IS NOT
SPEAKING FOR THE BLIND--IT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES
Vol. 34, No. 2 February 1991
NFB CELEBRATES FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY
PRESIDENT BUSH PROCLAIMS NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND DAY
NATIONAL BRAILLE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER FOR THE BLIND
OPENS NEW OPTIONS FOR BLIND COMPUTER USERS
DICK EDLUND ELECTED TO THE LEGISLATURE
by Kenneth Jernigan
OF SHAKESPEARE AND DOG GUIDES
by Dr. Elizabeth Browne
UNUSUAL HOBBY: FEDERATIONISTS HAVE AS MUCH DIVERSITY AS OTHERS
THIS IS HOW WE WORK: A RESOLUTION FROM WEST VIRGINIA
FEDERATIONIST EXCELS AT MARTIAL ARTS
THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING
COLLEEN ROTH SEES TO IT IT'S A HAPPIER WORLD
by Tom Ensign
ART SCHREIBER HONORED
WITH PRIDE WE DEDICATE
by Karen Ortega
1990 JOB REPORT
by Lauren L. Eckery
COULD HANSEL BUILD A GINGERBREAD HOUSE?
by Heidi Sherman
DIABETICS, DON'T GIVE UP ON BRAILLE
by Allan Nichols
HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE
JERRY DRAKE DIES
Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1991
[PHOTO: Hazel tenBroek speaking at microphone in Harbor Room. CAPTION: Hazel tenBroek, the first First Lady of the National Federation of the Blind, speaks at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore on November 16, 1990, at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the founding of the National Federation of the Blind.]
[PHOTO: Marc Maurer and Kenneth Jernigan standing at microphone in Harbor Room. CAPTION: Marc Maurer (left) and Kenneth Jernigan speak at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore November 16, 1990, at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the founding of the National Federation of the Blind.]
NFB CELEBRATES FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY
From the Associate Editor: On November 16 and 17, 1940, the Pennsylvania Federation of the Blind was conducting its annual convention in Wilkes-Barre. Representatives from organizations of the blind in six other states joined the Pennsylvanians on that Saturday to discuss the important question of forming a national consumer organization. Sixteen people took part in that fateful meeting and, as a result, assumed their place in history as the founders of the National Federation of the Blind.
On November 16, 1990, in state capitals and other cities and towns across the country, celebrations of that important event took place. A number of governors, mayors, city councils, and county executives presented proclamations honoring the National Federation of the Blind. And representatives of the organized blind movement proudly walked alone and marched together in salute to our history, dedicating ourselves to carry forward the work that our founders began fifty years ago. Each of these solemn processions around a civic landmark or state capitol culminated in an appropriate ceremony and commemorative photograph. In newspaper interviews and television and radio appearances across the nation, Federation leaders announced the official publication of our book, Walking Alone and Marching Together.
They also described with understandable pride the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind being dedicated that day at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore. In addition they told the press and public that the National Federation of the Blind will be establishing a low-interest loan program for blind people who need to purchase technology.
The Federation has always recognized that technology is only a tool enabling already competent blind people to extend their efficiency. It opens doors and multiplies possibilities, but it is not a magic wand, able to produce a capable blind person where before there was only a semiliterate, uncertain one. For this reason, Federationists also announced the beginning of a nationwide effort to pass legislation in every state guaranteeing the right of every legally blind child to be taught Braille and requiring that every special education teacher who works with blind children pass a test administered by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped that would certify competence in both reading and writing Braille.
These new initiatives, though they were announced and discussed across the country, were most impressively unveiled at the ceremony at our national headquarters in the National Center for the Blind. A number of state and federal dignitaries attended the event, and Mrs. tenBroek flew to Baltimore from her home in Sacramento, California, for the occasion.
Most of the presentations took place in the beautiful Harbor Room, which looks out over the city to Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Then the group adjourned to the courtyard to watch Mrs. tenBroek, President Maurer, and Dr. Jernigan cut the ribbon to open the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, which is located in an impressive two-floor facility in the central courtyard area at the National Center for the Blind. The National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind is unique since nothing else like it now exists, or has ever existed, anywhere else in the world. A full description of the Center is given elsewhere in this issue of the Braille Monitor. Here is what happened on November 16, 1990, when the Federation officially turned fifty and the nation wished it and us a happy birthday:
DR. JERNIGAN: This, for us, is a memorable occasion. It was fifty years ago on this day that the organized blind movement in the United States came into being with the founding in Wilkes- Barre, Pennsylvania, of the National Federation of the Blind. It is, therefore, particularly fitting that we should meet here today, fifty years later, to celebrate the birthday of the organized blind movement in this country and to inaugurate certain initiatives. I want to begin this program by reading to you two letters. First, from the House of Representatives from Congresswoman Beverly Byron, we have this to President Marc Maurer:
Dear Mr. Maurer:
I am sorry that I can't be with you today to help celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind. How wonderful that you are celebrating this special anniversary by announcing the establishment of the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind at the national headquarters in Baltimore. For the first time in history there will be gathered under one roof for display and comparison all equipment that can be used to produced Braille. The low-interest loans being made available to purchase this equipment will surely help to improve Braille literacy in our country. The NFB is to be commended for working so hard to meet its objectives of providing all blind people with the tools necessary to become productive members of society. Congratulations on your anniversary and on the opening of the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind. Please accept my best wishes for many years of continued success.
Congresswoman Beverly Byron
DR. JERNIGAN: From the United States Senate to President Maurer:
Dear Mr. Maurer:
Congratulations. It is with great pleasure that I congratulate the National Federation of the Blind on its fiftieth anniversary. What a great way to celebrate, by establishing the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind in Baltimore. Unfortunately, I will not be in the Baltimore area and will be unable to join you for your anniversary. I commend NFB for the outstanding work and dedication it is doing. The work you do to further independence for blind people is a moving testimony to the ideal of self-empowerment. You have made history and changed history, and I look forward to even greater achievements in the second half of your first century. Keep up the great work.
United States Senator
DR. JERNIGAN: In beginning this program of commemorating our fiftieth anniversary, it is only fitting to say that, in establishing the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind and in announcing these other initiatives, we are ushering in a new era for blind people in this country. You will shortly have the opportunity to see the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind. It is established and a going concern, although Mr. Miller and others on the staff worked late into yesterday afternoon to get it up and going.
One of the people who deserves credit for the technology that brings this Center into being is Mr. Charles Cook, who is here. Mr. Cook, of course, has developed and created our Braille translation system. I should also say that we have with us today Mr. Arthur Segal, who is Handicapped Services Director for the Office of the Mayor, and Marian Vessels, who is Director of the Governor's Office of Handicapped Individuals. We are pleased to have both of you here and appreciate the fact that the mayor and governor have asked you to come.
For the first item on our program, I want to present to you the President of the National Federation of the Blind, who will have remarks to make, Marc Maurer:
MR. MAURER: Thank you, Dr. Jernigan. On the fiftieth birthday of the National Federation of the Blind, it is suitable that we look back to the beginning of our organization and that we look forward to the next fifty years. We have come to understand that, just as we Americans did at the founding of our nation, we as blind people must find a way to secure independence and equality for ourselves. No one can give that to us; we must find a way to do it.
So today we are releasing to the public the fifty-year history of the National Federation of the Blind, the book, Walking Alone and Marching Together. This book is the history of the organized blind movement of the United States, and it is the record of the work that blind people have done for fifty years. We gathered together in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in 1940 to begin the process of making a future for the blind. At that time there wasn't anything with which to work, except the hopes and the dreams of those who had come together to think about a future that would be different from the past. This record of the fifty- year history of our organization is a suitable record. It has both elements. It says that, if we want to make progress, we must learn to stand on our own and to be independent. Yet, in order to achieve that independence and to gain that equality, we must learn to work with one another and be a part of a larger society.
As we issue this book to the public today, we think about the next fifty years and the initiatives that are being announced here today--the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind and the call for literacy for blind people throughout the United States. Two parts to that call for literacy must be made. One is that we call upon the legislators of the states and the Congress of the United States to adopt legislation making it possible for those who want to learn Braille to get a chance to have it. In many states, as you know, there is no Braille available for blind children, and many of the teachers who are expected to teach the blind cannot either read or write Braille. If you can't read it, then you can't write it. It is astonishing that anybody should suggest that you might be able to teach it.
We are establishing the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, which makes it possible for us to gain information, but you can't gain the information if you can't read the printed word on the page. Therefore, we call upon the Congress and the legislators to adopt our legislation and develop the literacy programs. And we'll do our part as well. We have the National Braille and Technology Center, but we are also announcing the establishment of a low-interest loan program, which will make loans available to buy technology at a three percent interest rate for those who need but cannot afford it. In the 1950s and the 1960s I was a child, a blind child, growing up in the Midwest. I wondered what it would be like when I came to be an adult. I read the materials in the books that were then available to me, and I thought about my own life and hoped that it might be worth something. But I knew that I was blind, and I knew that the way blind people had always been portrayed was negative, was not independent, was always second-rate. For example, I went to a swimming pool (I had swum for many years and was reasonably good at it), and the lifeguard said to me, "You can swim in the shallow end, but don't swim in the deep water."
I said to myself, "Why?"
The lifeguard said, "It would be more difficult to watch you," which makes no sense to me today, but I didn't argue about it then. Only later, when I met the National Federation of the Blind and learned that we as blind people can do the same things that other people do, that we can have the independence that other people want, that we can achieve the kind of lives that other people are looking to achieve if we will only work at it and do our part, did I know that those incidents were not right.
So, today, we announce these initiatives. I look forward to the next fifty years and to a time when the blind are not kept in the shallow end of the pool. In that day we will have the opportunity to read and will know how to do it, and then blind people will be a significant part of this society in the place where we ought to be making our contributions. So happy birthday to the National Federation of the Blind!
DR. JERNIGAN: Thank you, President Maurer. We must move on to the next person to be introduced, who is, as far as I know, the only person now alive who attended the founding meeting of the National Federation of the Blind. Her husband Dr. tenBroek was our first president and our founder. I first came to know him in 1952. He and I came to be the closest friends. He was my mentor and teacher and, as I have often said, spiritual father. I first met Mrs. tenBroek in 1952. She is the founding first lady of the National Federation of the Blind. It is with pleasure that I present to you Mrs. tenBroek.
MRS. tenBROEK: Thank you, my friend. If you don't stop, I'm going to cry. It's very exciting to be here today and to remember what it was like in Wilkes-Barre all those years ago. The seven states who sent representatives are frequently called the intrepid ones, but at that time they had no idea they were being intrepid. What they knew was that the time had come for blind people to break those bonds, however gentle, of kindness and custodialism and go for it. It was time to claim their position in society as independent, producing, contributing members and to take their place with the rest of the citizens in fulfilling the obligations of citizenship as well as partaking of its privileges.
The idea that blind people could be independent was not entirely new, but it was well hidden and stepped on whenever it reared its head... and nobody thought that that could ever happen. But there was that group of people who felt that it could, and Dr. tenBroek especially felt that, with education--and this is a familiar phrase in the Federation--with education and training, the blind could become independent. Having acknowledged the fact of blindness and having acquired the skills and the alternative methods of dealing with it, the blind should take advantage of every technological advance that has ever come down the pike. Of course, he had no idea what was down there. It is to Dr. Jernigan that we must hail the salute today for seeing what was down there and making it available through this new and wonderful center.
DR. JERNIGAN: Thank you very much, Mrs. tenBroek. Next it is my pleasure to present to you the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services of the United States Department of Education, Mrs. Nell Carney. I have known Mrs. Carney a long time; as a matter of fact, early on in her life and reasonably early in mine, she was a student of mine in high school. She has done good work throughout her life in helping blind persons achieve independence and first-class status. We are pleased that she could be with us today, and I want to present her to you now for whatever she cares to say.
MRS. CARNEY: Thank you, sir. It's certainly an honor to be here today and to bring you greetings from the Bush administration, the only administration in our history which has made disability issues a primary concern of the federal government. As President Maurer said, it is appropriate to look backward and then to look forward today, I believe. As a young person growing up in Tennessee and being blind, I learned very early in my life the impact that the advocacy and activity of the National Federation of the Blind could have (and indeed did have) on educational and rehabilitational services in which I participated. As I advanced through my educational and rehabilitation activities and training and went on to a career and at one point in my life participated in the National Federation of the Blind movement, it became even clearer to me that this organization would make a difference so that we would never again return to the societal attitudes toward blindness that we had once experienced.
It seems like a very short time in a lot of ways that so much could have been done in fifty years. For those like Dr. Jernigan, Dr. tenBroek, Mrs. tenBroek, and many, many other people, who toiled so diligently in this movement to build it to what it is today, who have literally devoted their lives to this movement, it must have seemed like a very long five decades. As we look ahead in this decade of technology and advanced activity and programming in education and rehabilitation, it is appropriate, Dr. Jernigan and President Maurer, that you--that we--should open a National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind as we face the new challenges of providing educational and rehabilitation services to people who are blind. I look forward to working with the leadership of the National Federation of the Blind and with the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind as we together move forward to create new opportunities for the blind of this country. Thank you very much.
DR. JERNIGAN: Thank you, Commissioner Carney. I realize that you have major accomplishments, but I hope I may be pardoned for having some pride in your accomplishments because you were once a student of mine.
I want to present to you now, for comments that he would care to make, somebody who has been a real friend of blind people in this state. Attorney General Joseph Curran has worked with us through the years. I have called on him to help us on a number of occasions, and he has always done gladly what he could do to help us and has always shown himself to be a friend of the blind of this state. It is, therefore, particularly appropriate that he should be with us today on this fiftieth anniversary birthday and as we announce these new initiatives. I present to you now Joseph Curran.
JOSEPH CURRAN: Thank you very much, Doctor, President Maurer, distinguished leaders in government. I'm grateful I was in a position to be of help to you. I want to thank you very much for inviting me to be here today on this very happy birthday; and being parochial for a moment, we in Baltimore are obviously pleased that you saw good reason to come to Baltimore from the other state that you had been in for many years. That is why, I'm sure, the mayor's representative is here and the governor's representative is here. We are very pleased that Baltimore in the state of Maryland plays a role in the progress that you have made. I don't want to extend my remarks any longer because I want to get downstairs and see those tremendous pieces of equipment. I'm not going to buy one of those $80,000 Braille printers, but maybe we can see what we can do about one of those cheaper models. You know money is tight in the federal government, and money is tight in the city and state. So I am just happy to be here, and I want to reiterate that we in the law department of the state are pleased to work with you from time to time. Call upon us whenever you need us, and rest assured that you have a friend in government with Governor Schaefer and Mayor Schmoke and myself. Thank you.
DR. JERNIGAN: Thank you very much, Attorney General Curran. Now to bring greetings to us from the National Council on Disability, I want to present the Deputy Executive Director of the National Council, who is Dr. Harold Snider.
HAROLD SNIDER: Dr. Jernigan, Mrs. tenBroek, and colleagues. As a long-time member of this organization, it is indeed my pleasure to be here with you, representing the National Council on Disability. I have a message that I would like to read to you from the Council's Director, Sandra Swift Parrino:
On behalf of the members and staff of the National Council on Disability, it is my pleasure to congratulate the National Federation of the Blind on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary today. The achievements of the National Federation of the Blind over the past fifty years have been truly remarkable. Your organization has always been a leader in advocacy for the rights of blind persons.
I would also like to congratulate the Federation on its new initiatives announced in conjunction with its fiftieth anniversary. Making technology available for the blind through low-interest loans is a significant step in the right direction. Braille literacy is absolutely essential if blind persons are to succeed in employment. The National Council on Disability wants to work with the Federation to ensure that those persons who teach Braille to the blind in federally financed programs are competent to do so. Your National Braille and Technology Center is a major achievement, and I look forward to visiting it on my next trip to Baltimore.
I understand that you have recently published Walking Alone and Marching Together: A History of the Organized Blind Movement in the United States. This book is a testimony to the effectiveness of a grassroots, self-help movement like the National Federation of the Blind.
Finally, I am sorry that I can't be with you on this most auspicious occasion. We look forward to working with the National Federation of the Blind. Please accept my best wishes for your continued success.
Sandra Swift Parrino
Dr. Jernigan then thanked Dr. Snider and announced that Maryland State Representative Elijah Cummings, a long-time friend of the Federation, was unable to attend the celebration but sent his greetings. Representative Bryan McHale, in whose district the National Center for the Blind is located, then made a few congratulatory remarks.
DR. JERNIGAN: I want next to present to you the acting executive director of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, Dr. Ralph Pacinelli. Of course, the chairman of that committee is our good friend, Justin Dart, who said that he would have liked to be here if he could. We didn't know we were going to have this celebration soon enough for him to do that. We are very pleased, however, to have you with us, Dr. Pacinelli, and I want to present you now.
DR. RALPH PACINELLI: Thank you, Dr. Jernigan, distinguished guests, and friends. I'm pleased to be here to represent Justin Dart. You all know about Justin Dart and his work in the field of advocacy and rights for all people with disabilities. Dr. Jernigan is right--he does apologize for not being here. He dearly wanted to be here. But it is a special treat for me to represent him and the committee today for two reasons. Dr. Jernigan didn't mention it, but I am an executive on loan from Commissioner Carney's program to the President's Committee. So I get to do double duty today--the work of the Committee and my real position of record, the Regional Commissioner of RSA in Philadelphia, which includes Maryland as one state within that region. And we, too, are delighted that the decision was made to move from Iowa to Region III--a very intelligent move, I'd like to add. I'd like to salute the NFB on this birthday for the reasons of enlightenment and professionalism, the pursuit of independence and employment and productivity for individuals who are blind, and the work that you do that impacts on all people with disabilities. I want to salute you for that on the occasion of your birthday and also to pledge to you the support of the President's Committee in the important work that we know you will continue to perform in the many years ahead, the many good and glorious years ahead. So thank you very much.
DR. JERNIGAN: Thank you, Dr. Pacinelli. Now, I present to you a long-time friend, colleague, fellow worker in this field, a man who I think has done a great deal to advance the well-being of blind persons. He is the Director of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped of the Library of Congress, Mr. Frank Kurt Cylke.
Mr. CYLKE: Thank you very much, Dr. Jernigan. When thinking about coming down here, I thought of why we were here. And, of course, I wrote some notes, and I was going to inform you all about that. Then, I thought, how wonderful is that? To tell you why you are here? You know that. You know you are here for the fiftieth anniversary of the NFB; you know you are here because of this magnificent building that we are in. You know that we are here, of course, to open the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind. So I gave some more thought to Kenneth Jernigan and Dr. tenBroek. I thought about Marc Maurer. Then I started thinking about the thousands and thousands and thousands of other people who have been involved with the Federation over the fifty years and the impact that they have made on the library program for the blind and physically handicapped--the input that they have had, the suggestions they have had, the benefits that they have paid to society (and I think that's the most important thing), the benefits that they have received from the books, the magazines, the other informational material that they synthesized; and (like everyone else) they went to work, put what they learned into action, and used the library program, used the NFB (in the best sense), and made a better world for all of us.
So I want to say thank you, Dr. Kenneth Jernigan; thank you, Marc Maurer; and thank you, Mrs. tenBroek and Jacobus tenBroek, for the opportunity and the privilege of working with you. I certainly hope that we'll be doing so for many years ahead. Thank you very much.
DR. JERNIGAN: Thank you, Mr. Cylke. I intend to be around for the hundredth anniversary. I hope you will, too, and we'll get together and talk again at that celebration. Now, as I said, shortly we'll be going down and actually having a hands-on demonstration of the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind. Mr. Miller will be in general charge of that, demonstrating the machines, and others will help.
Anyway, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, is where it all started fifty years ago; and it is, therefore, particularly appropriate and fitting that we have with us a member of the United States House of Representatives from Wilkes-Barre. He is Congressman Paul Kanjorski. Congressman, I have here a copy of Walking Alone and Marching Together, which is the definitive history of the organized blind movement in this country from 1940 to 1990. It was written by a distinguished professor, Dr. Floyd Matson, who is in the Department of American Studies of the University of Hawaii. The copy of the book that I will give you is autographed by Dr. Matson, by Mrs. tenBroek, by President Maurer, and by me. It is a pleasure to give you this book and also to have you with us here to celebrate this anniversary.
CONGRESSMAN KANJORSKI: Mr. Director, thank you very much. I'll certainly honor that. I'm really pleased to have it. Mr. President, Mrs. First Lady, Mr. Attorney General, members of the state legislature, and distinguished visitors here today, you know, when you represent a city like Wilkes-Barre that is an older eastern city that perhaps has passed beyond the limelight as this nation has expanded west, you think of the part your city has played in history. In 1940 Wilkes-Barre gave birth to the National Federation of the Blind, and now the National Federation of the Blind does its parent great honor because probably your national and international reputation exceeds that of the city that gave you birth.
I have often heard that people consider blindness as a disability--what nonsense! What better evidence can there be than Dr. tenBroek's distinguished life, blind members today of every profession imaginable, new and diverse business opportunities for blind people, even a former member of the State Senate of Pennsylvania who was blind and who aspired to and almost won the lieutenant governorship. How often we allow the characteristic of blindness to stunt our ambition and to create a discriminatory wall in this country. The importance of this fiftieth anniversary is that the founders of this organization demonstrated great foresight about how far it could go.
I want to tell you one little personal thing, though, because this organization did me the great honor of requesting me to introduce Resolution 667, which recognized the fiftieth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind. When the request came to my office, as hundreds do every year, my staff and I met, and I said, "What an honor. I wasn't aware that Wilkes-Barre was the NFB's founding place." But there were only two or three weeks left in the Congressional session, and a bill cannot go to the floor to have a national day in commemoration of a particular organization unless it has the sponsorship of a majority of the House of Representatives, 218. That's no small chore, and we indicated that to the organization. Well, you may not have learned all the characteristics of success in life, but I can tell you one thing, you know the political process of the United States. In less than one week, this national organization propelled more than 218 members of the United States House of Representatives to contact my office--and tied my telephones up, I may say. We had the sponsorship, and this moved through. That attests to political sophistication among those who are usually thought of as having very little. You understand the system.
Illiteracy, whether the victims are blind or sighted, is inexcusable and unacceptable in our system. So as we move into this new, enlightened age of the 90s and the next century, I'm proud to be just a little part of an organization that came about and grew from a seed planted some fifty years ago in my home town. On the basis of the resolution we passed in Congress, we do have today, hot off the press, the proclamation in recognition of the Federation and its outstanding work. The Congress by joint Resolution 667 has designated November 16, 1990, as National Federation of the Blind Day and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that day.
I'm not going to go through the full proclamation because it is lengthy, but I do hope we can have it translated into Braille so that every member of the organization eventually can read it. The conclusion of the proclamation is, however, "Now, therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 16, 1990, as National Federation of the Blind Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this day through appropriate programs and activities that reaffirm our appreciation of the rights, needs, and abilities of persons who are blind. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November in the Year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the two hundred and fifteenth. --George Bush, President of the United States."
Dr. Jernigan, on behalf of the President and the Congress of the United States, I am pleased to present to you the first original copy, which will be followed by the official document, the Proclamation of the President of the United States, designating this day as National Federation of the Blind Day.
I have just one little thing that is also hot off the press and hot off the feet of some young page. This morning I had to do a lot of fast work. That is, I know you are dedicating the Center today, and in representation of the people of the United States, I have asked that a flag of the United States be flown over the Capitol. In fact, this morning it was, and I would like to present it to you with a certificate that says, "This is to certify that the accompanying flag was flown over the United States Capitol on November 16, 1990, at the request of the Honorable Paul E. Kanjorski, Member of Congress. This flag was flown for the fiftieth anniversary of the National Federation of the Blind." I hope we are all around to see another flag flown at the hundredth anniversary.
DR. JERNIGAN: Congressman Kanjorski, we appreciate your remarks. We appreciate the proclamation, and we much appreciate your bringing the flag. As a matter of fact, I can assure you that the proclamation will be translated into Braille, or rather it has already been translated. I won't take time to read it either, but I have it here. In reading the first paragraph of it only, I want to make a point that I think all of us should keep in mind. What reasons are given by the people, sometimes the professional educators, who tell us that Braille should not be made available to blind children? It is not the cost, for it doesn't cost very much. As a matter of fact, you can get an instrument for making Braille for $5 or less. The paper doesn't cost that much. The reason, we are often told, is that Braille is inadequate, slow, inefficient, outdated. Nonsense! You have seen people read Braille here today, and in no other way could a blind person do some of the things that we have done. Recording is fine, but it won't cut it on an occasion like this. Large print is fine, but you can't haul around big pieces of equipment for generating oversized print. Besides, many people couldn't use it anyway. Braille is as usable as print, and very often the people who are unwilling to teach it have simply been inadequately prepared or were too lazy to learn it. That, we must put an end to! That's the reason for announcing our initiatives.
I read you the first paragraph: "Since its founding half a century ago, the National Federation of the Blind has been a leading advocate for Americans affected by severe visual loss. Its administrators, staff, and supporters know that persons who are blind possess not only the desire but also the ability to lead full, independent, and productive lives, and they have encouraged all Americans to recognize this fact as well."
Now again, to make the point, and not simply to brag about reading--all of us, I suppose, should brag about our ability to read--for that is a passport to a full life. But I believe that the demonstration, not just of my reading, but of others who have read here today, would indicate that Braille is just as effective as print. We should not ever let anybody propagandize us to the contrary. I say that particularly since we have some state officials of Maryland here. If you hear in the future that we are out there lobbying to try to get the right for blind children to have literacy, don't take seriously anybody who says, "It can't be done." It can be done.
[PHOTO: Kenneth Jernigan in Harbor Room shaking hands with Congressman Kanjorski and receiving presidential proclamation. CAPTION: Congressman Paul Kanjorski (left) presents presidential proclamation to Kenneth Jernigan at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore at the fiftieth birthday celebration of the National Federation of the Blind November 16, 1990.]
PRESIDENT BUSH PROCLAIMS
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND DAY
From the Editor: When an organization is distinguished by having Congress set aside a special day in its honor and when the President of the United States issues a proclamation on that day, no editorial comment is appropriate or required. Here is the proclamation:
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND DAY, 1990
By the President of the United States of America
Since its founding half a century ago, the National Federation of the Blind has been a leading advocate for Americans affected by severe visual loss. Its administrators, staff, and supporters know that persons who are blind possess not only the desire but also the ability to lead full, independent, and productive lives, and they have encouraged all Americans to recognize this fact as well.
Through an effective community outreach program, the Federation has been working to enhance the public image of blind Americans and to promote real equality of opportunity for these members of our society. This outreach program includes television and radio appearances by Federation members, public presentations, and the distribution of educational materials. In addition, the Federation produces monthly and quarterly publications that serve as a valuable source of news and information on issues affecting Americans with impaired eyesight.
If the United States is to remain a strong and prosperous country, one that is competitive in the rapidly changing global marketplace, we must utilize the talent, creativity, and skill of all our citizens. Helping more blind Americans to enter this country's social and economic mainstream is, therefore, not only a moral imperative but also a wise investment in our Nation's future. On July 26, I was pleased to sign into law the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for persons with disabilities, this legislation prohibits employers covered by the Act from discriminating against qualified applicants or employees on the basis of a disability; it guarantees persons with disabilities access to public accommodations, such as offices, hotels, and shopping centers, and it calls for improved access to transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications as well. This legislation--like the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind--reflects our commitment to ensuring equality of opportunity for all Americans.
In recognition of the Federation and its outstanding work, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 667, has designated November 16, 1990, as "National Federation of the Blind Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that day.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 16, 1990, as National Federation of the Blind Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this day through appropriate programs and activities that reaffirm our appreciation of the rights, needs, and abilities of persons who are blind.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Marc Maurer (left), Hazel tenBroek, and Kenneth Jernigan cut the ribbon to open the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore November 16, 1990.]
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Braille embossing devices and other technology are demonstrated at the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind in Baltimore November 16, 1990.]
[PHOTO: David Andrews, sitting at a computer in the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind. CAPTION: David Andrews, Director of the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind.]
NATIONAL BRAILLE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER
OPENS NEW OPTIONS FOR BLIND COMPUTER-USERS
On November 16, 1990, Marc Maurer, Kenneth Jernigan, and Hazel tenBroek cut the ribbon to open the National Braille and Technology Center at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore. This act marks the beginning of a unique program since nowhere else in the world today is there a collection of technology like this one. (See "NFB Celebrates Fiftieth Birthday" elsewhere in this issue.) At the close of the brief ceremony, invited guests streamed into the beautiful new two-story facility. The second floor contains offices and a conference center, and the first floor (comprising the heart of the operation) consists of a large room more than a hundred feet long containing technology.
What the guests saw on November 16, 1990, (and what future visitors will see) was enough to take the breath away--at least of those knowledgeable enough to recognize what they were experiencing. For the first time anywhere, every Braille-producing, computer-driven printer in the world of which those operating the Center are aware is present under the same roof. Would-be purchasers, consumers, interested professionals, and curious members of the public can tour, observe, and operate the equipment.
But this facility includes much more than Braille printers. Computers with refreshable Braille displays, raised-line drawing equipment of various sorts, scanners and readers, and a growing array of voice output computer screen-reading systems are also there, ready to be tried and compared with each other.
Around the perimeter of the large room is a series of stations displaying various groupings of equipment available for demonstration. Several members of the NFB's staff are trained to conduct tours and demonstrate the equipment to groups. Those visitors with a serious personal or professional interest in studying and comparing several systems can make arrangements to spend extended time in the facility and discuss technicalities with David Andrews, the newly appointed Director of the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, who assumed his duties on January 14, 1991.
Mr. Andrews has a master's degree in broadcasting and ten years of experience in the radio reading service field. For the past seven years he has worked intensively with a number of computers and computer projects. Most recently he has been the director of NEWSLINE for the Blind, the dial-up newspaper service provided to blind New Mexicans by the New Mexico Commission for the Blind. Developing the new facility at the National Center for the Blind offers Mr. Andrews the opportunity to use all the skills he has amassed in the last decade.
When one enters the National Braille and Technology Center, Station 1 is on the right at the near end of the long wall. By traveling in a counterclockwise direction around the perimeter of the room, a visitor can examine the equipment in all thirteen stations. The type and variety of equipment available are changing constantly, but at the time of this writing (mid- January, 1991) the following is an accurate description of the devices available for demonstration in this exciting new facility:
STATION 1: Leading Edge Personal Computer, Braillo 400S Braille Printer, and Pixelmaster Printer. The Braillo 400S is distributed in the United States by the American Thermoform Corporation. It is manufactured by Braillo Norway and produces interpoint Braille at 400 characters per second. It costs $80,000. The Pixelmaster, which produces tactile color graphics print and Braille, is distributed by American Thermoform and manufactured by Howtek, Inc. It generates print or Braille at the rate of 20 seconds per page using black ink and 3.2 minutes per page using full-color graphics. The cost of this device is $6,889, and it can be found already in many business offices. The cost of adding the Braille-producing font to the existing equipment is comparatively minimal. The National Federation of the Blind provided the technical know-how to adapt the Pixelmaster for the production of Braille and worked closely with Howtek to make the necessary alterations.
STATION 2: Leading Edge Personal Computer, Speaqualizer, and Braillo 200 Braille Printer. The NFB Speaqualizer is a hardware speech-output screen-reader developed by the National Federation of the Blind and distributed by the American Printing House for the Blind. Its cost is $810. The Braillo 200 Braille Printer is distributed by American Thermoform and manufactured by Braillo Norway. It produces 200 characters per second of interpoint Braille and costs $39,995.
STATION 3: Leading Edge Personal Computer, Speaqualizer, TED 600 Braille Printer, and Resus RS214 Braille Printer. The TED 600 Braille Printer is manufactured and distributed by Enabling Technologies and produces interpoint Braille at 450 characters per second. It costs $37,500. The Resus Braille Printer is distributed by American Thermoform and manufactured by Resus International, the Netherlands. It produces Braille at 140 characters per second and costs $15,595.
STATION 4: Leading Edge Personal Computer, Thiel Braille Printer, and Marathon Braille Printer. The Thiel Beta X3 Braille Embosser is distributed by Blazie Engineering and manufactured by Thiel, GMBH, Germany. It produces Braille at 130 characters per second and costs $15,500. The Marathon Braille Printer is manufactured and distributed by Enabling Technologies. It produces Braille at 200 characters per second and costs $11,500.
STATION 5: Leading Edge Personal Computer, Braille BookMaker Printer, and Braillo 90 Braille Printer. The Braille BookMaker Printer is manufactured and distributed by Enabling Technologies and produces interpoint at 80 characters per second. It costs $8,995. The Braillo 90 Braille Printer is distributed by American Thermoform and produced by Braillo Norway. It generates 90 Braille characters per second and costs $5,795.
STATION 6: Leading Edge Personal Computer, Speaqualizer, Ohtsuki Print/Braille Printer, and Index Braille Printer. The Ohtsuki Print/Braille Printer is distributed by American Thermoform and manufactured by Ohtsuki Communications Products, Inc., Japan. It produces print and Braille simultaneously at 8 characters per second and costs $5,180. The Index Advanced Braille Embosser is distributed by Humanware, Inc. and manufactured by Index International, Sweden. It generates 50 Braille characters per second and costs $3,795.
STATION 7: Leading Edge Personal Computer, Versapoint Braille Printer, and Romeo Braille Printer. The Versapoint Braille Embosser is manufactured and distributed by Telesensory. It produces Braille at 40 characters per second and costs $3,795. The Romeo Braille Printer is manufactured and distributed by Enabling Technologies and generates 40 Braille characters per second. It costs $3,450.
STATION 8: CompuAdd Personal Computer, DECtalk, and Canon Scanner with Calera TrueScan. The DECtalk is a speech output screen reader, produced and distributed by Digital Equipment Corporation, which costs $4,498. The Canon Scanner (Scanrite System) is an optical character scanner produced and distributed by Canon, Inc. With a 2-megabyte expansion card, the Canon Scanner costs $3,995. With a 4-megabyte expansion card, the cost is $4,995. In either case, Calera OCR software is included.
STATION 9: Kurzweil Personal Reader Model 7315. The Kurzweil Personal Reader scans printed material automatically or with the use of a hand-held device. The text can then be read by using the device's built-in DECtalk speech output system. The cost is $12,160, including carrying case and shipping.
STATION 10: Zenith 183 Portable and Navigator Braille Interface. The Zenith portable is a laptop computer, which is here equipped with the Navigator refreshable Braille display. A forty-character Braille line display is demonstrated in this unit. Telesensory manufactures and distributes the Navigator, the cost of which is $5,595.
STATION 11: Braille 'n Speak and Braille Blazer. The Braille 'n Speak is a laptop Braille computer with speech output, produced and distributed by Blazie Engineering. It can be cabled to either a print or a Braille printer and costs $945. The Braille Blazer, also manufactured and distributed by Blazie Engineering, produces 10-15 Braille characters per second on 8- 1/2 by 11-inch paper only. It costs $1,695.
STATION 12: Eureka A4. This is a Braille laptop computer with speech output, which can be cabled to a print or Braille printer. It is manufactured by Robotron Australia and distributed in this country by Enabling Technologies. Its cost is $2,595, with additional cost for options.
STATION 13: Creative Form and Sensory Quills. The Creative Form is produced and distributed by American Thermoform Corporation. It can produce a high or low relief impression on a plastic sheet by use of heat. It costs $2,895 plus shipping. The Sensory Quill produces a raised line on a plastic sheet and enables one to make tactile drawings. It is an intriguing instrument. There are two models of this machine at the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, both procured in 1987. At that time the cost was $425 for the smaller (or Personal) Sensory Quill and $795 for the larger (or Institutional) model. At the time of this writing we do not know whether this product is still manufactured or what its price is.
This is an inventory of the items currently located at the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind, but very soon there will be expansion and change. In fact, it is contemplated that the Center will be in a constant state of expansion and change. Already the Center is in the process of adding Artic Technology's Business Vision and the Arkenstone Reader, and other additions will be made in the immediate future. It is the objective of the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind to have on display at all times at least one of every currently produced computer-driven Braille-embossing device, regardless of the cost and regardless of where the item is manufactured. It is also the objective of the Center to have on display as many speech communication devices as can be secured. So far as is known, there is no other facility like this one anywhere in the world. The National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind should, in its own way, contribute to a revolution in communications for the blind. It should allow comparisons and contrasts which have never before been possible, and it should bring the blind closer to full participation in society and control of their own lives.
[PHOTO: Dick Edlund talks with a man while campaigning at a local scenic park. CAPTION: Dick Edlund (right) successfully campaigns for a seat in the Kansas legislature, and that means going to the people.]
DICK EDLUND ELECTED TO THE LEGISLATURE
by Kenneth Jernigan
State of Kansas
Certificate of Election
I, BILL GRAVES, Secretary of State of the State of Kansas, do hereby certify that at the General Election held on the 6th day of November, A.D. 1990,
RICHARD J. (DICK) EDLUND
was duly elected to the office of
State Representative, District 33
for the regular term beginning on the second Monday of January, A.D. 1991.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed my official seal, this 28th day of November A.D. 1990.
Secretary of State
The certificate was brief and the language formal, but the drama which it symbolized was as significant and poignant as the struggle of the blind for first-class citizenship and equal status in society. This was the first time, so far as anyone knows, that a blind person has been elected to membership in the Kansas legislature, and one of the few times in any state legislature anywhere in the country.
Dick Edlund is, of course, no stranger to the blind of America. He served as treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind from 1974 to 1978 and as president of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas until October of 1990 when it was certain that he would be going to the legislature. He has not simply been a leader in name but also in action. In the seventies and eighties he led the battle to organize the workers in sheltered shops throughout the country, seeking better living standards and the rights of collective bargaining. He traveled tirelessly to help state affiliates of the Federation and do trouble shooting; and he was (and continues to be) a source of strength in the organized blind movement and at NFB conventions. The March, 1982, Braille Monitor said:
Richard Edlund preaches Federationism every chance he gets-- as the newspapers of Kansas attest. In one article he is quoted as saying: "Any loss of one of the body's senses is naturally going to create a problem. But it is little more than that if a person has some training and the right attitude." In another interview he said: "We maintain that blind people can be just as competitive as anyone else if they have the proper training. All we're saying is give the blind the same chance as the sighted person." Or at another point in that interview: "We've got to change public attitudes. Today if a blind person is very successful, he's labeled an exception in the blind community. If the public would only give us a chance to prove ourselves, we could make cases like this the accepted rule."
Born in 1924, Edlund was blinded in his late teens as the result of a blasting cap accident, and he soon learned to hold his own and do his share. As he later told a reporter: "My parents let me know that just because I was blind I wouldn't get any special treatment. I had to get back to work and take my place in the family." After high school Edlund wanted to become a lawyer, but a counselor told him it would be impossible because he was blind. Since that time he has had varied jobs--including owning and managing an airport. He successfully took courses in engine repair and has taught the skill to other blind persons. As Federationists know, he owned and operated a hardware store for many years, doing what independent hardware merchants do--cutting glass, making keys, selling feed, and advising his customers.
When he decided in early 1990 to run for the state legislature, he was no stranger to politics. He had been a long- time precinct leader in the Democratic party and was for years the campaign manager for one of Kansas's leading legislators, Fred Rosenau. Federationists will remember that Dick and his wife Eileen brought Rosenau to one of the NFB national conventions several years ago.
Rosenau retired from the legislature in 1988 and was succeeded by a Republican, Hank Turnbaugh, who was a popular insurance man. So when Dick Edlund decided to run, he had to face an incumbent--and before having the right to do that, he had to win a primary against three other Democratic opponents. One of these was a newspaper publisher; one was a fire chief at Colegate; and the third was a real estate broker. Dick Edlund was prepared to lay it on the line, to prove that a blind person can be "just as competitive as anyone else."
In the June 13, 1990, Record (the newspaper published by one of his opponents) an article was carried announcing Edlund's filing. It said:
Richard J. "Dick" Edlund filed as a Democratic candidate for State Representative from the 33rd Legislative District, June 5, at the Secretary of State's office in Topeka.
Edlund is currently the president of the National Federation of the blind of Kansas, a position he has held since 1971. He is a member of the Delaware Masonic Lodge No. 96, the Kansas State Library Committee for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, an Advisory Board member of the division of Services for the Blind, and the Kansas Taxpayer's Coalition.
He has served as a Democrat Precinct Committeeman for the past 26 years in 9-8B.
Edlund was the owner and operator of Edlund Hardware in Muncie for 40 years until 1986. He also was the organizer of the "Antique Aircraft Association." He owned and operated Edlund Airport, a landing strip at 86th and Kaw Drive, until 1971.
Edlund said he will work for sweeping tax reform in Kansas. He said he will eliminate real estate and personal property tax by broadening the sales tax base through elimination of "special interest" exemptions. He also said he will work to find the $1.5 billion necessary to eliminate the property tax state-wide from the $3.5 billion currently going uncollected.
Edlund said he opposes any increase in the sales tax rate.
The Kansas primary was held on Tuesday, August 7, and as might have been expected, the contest heated up in the week before election--but Edlund was doing all right. He was proving that "a blind person can be as competitive as anybody else." The August 2, 1990, Kansas City Star carried an article which said in part: "The four Democrats vying for the chance to replace Republican Hank Turnbaugh in the 33rd Kansas House District agree that property tax relief is the biggest issue of the campaign. Only one, however, voiced a plan for reducing property taxes."
As Federationists would have guessed, the one candidate who had a plan was Edlund--and as they also would have guessed, he would manage to get the name of the National Federation of the Blind prominently displayed. Here is how the Kansas City Star article continued:
"Richard J. (Dick) Edlund, 65, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas, said Wyandotte County and about 10 other Kansas counties are dying. The economic sickness will continue to spread unless strong medicine is administered, he said. Edlund advocates abolishing all property taxes, which contribute about $1.5 billion to the state budget. He said he wold replace the lost revenue by removing some of the many sales tax exemptions written into current tax laws. If all of the exemptions were removed, $3.5 billion would be collected, he said, `so somewhere there has got to be $1.5 billion.'"
August 7 came, and Edlund beat his three opponents. Now, he must face the incumbent, but first he had to face something else- -something which might have been expected, the charge that because he was blind he couldn't handle the job. Obviously the incumbent was scared, so he appealed to superstition and prejudice, to man's ancient fear of the dark. Here is how it was reported in the October 4, 1990, Kansas City Star:
Kansas Rep. Hank Turnbaugh of Kansas City, Kan., never brings up his general election opponent's blindness in his campaign for re-election. When asked about Dick Edlund, however, the 33rd District Republican is candid:
"I respect the man. I consider him a friend, but at the same time there is the question of whether he'll be able to function in that setting.
"We see about a thousand bills, and it's very important to read and study them. It would be very difficult for him," Turnbaugh said of Edlund, his 65-year-old Democratic foe.
Edlund, who was blinded in a construction blasting accident at age 19, said while his blindness may suggest problems in coping with life, it is only a nuisance to him.
"Blindness is inconvenient as hell, but it's not a tragedy," said the winner of last summer's four-candidate Democratic primary race.
Edlund's blind friends include an Alabama legislator, two judges, several attorneys, and the president of a major corporation, he said. He met most of them during his tenure as treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind, an elective volunteer office he held 14 years until 1988. He still is president of the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas, and has been since 1971.
Edlund notes he has worked as a lobbyist and advocate for the blind in the halls of government for many years, including the Kansas Legislature and Congress.
"I've spent so much time up there (Topeka), I probably know 25 percent of the legislators," Edlund said. "And I know the procedure and the process."
Edlund said he routinely tackles large volumes of printed material by hiring "readers" to review documents and record the highlights on tape.
"With a well-trained reader, I can get through more stuff than a guy who sits down and reads a whole document," he said.
He takes notes in Braille and also uses a small tape recorder. His wife of 20 years, Eileen, serves as his driver and co-worker. Both are long-time party precinct committee members.
So said Edlund's opponent in his desperation effort to ward off defeat, but the people weren't buying it. We have come a long way since the founding of the National Federation of the Blind in 1940, and our campaigns of public education have had their effect. On election day in November Dick Edlund and the blind of the nation were the winners. Here is how it was reported on Wednesday, November 7, 1990, in the Kansas City Kansan:
Edlund Unseats Turnbaugh for
Only Legislative Change
by John Carras, Kansan Staff Writer
Hank Turnbaugh, a Republican elected to the Kansas House of Representatives from Wyandotte County two years ago, was the only incumbent state representative in the county to go down to defeat in Tuesday's election.
Turnbaugh, an insurance agent, lost big to Democrat Richard Edlund, a blind man who formerly owned and operated a hardware store here. Edlund won, 2,564 votes to 1,716 for the 33rd district seat.
Edlund, who snared 60 percent of the vote, said he campaigned 18 hours a day but spent something less than $5,000....
This is how the newspaper reported it, and the election is now behind us. At the time of this writing (early January, 1991) Dick Edlund is preparing to take his seat in the Kansas legislature and has been appointed to three prestigious committees: Labor and Industry, Federal and State Affairs, and Economic Development. For the second time in the twentieth century the Democrats hold a majority in the Kansas House of Representatives, so Edlund will be working from a position of strength. This position will be further enhanced by the fact that Kansas also elected a Democrat as governor last fall, one who is a friend of Edlund.
So where does all of this leave us? What does it mean to the blind of the nation that Dick Edlund has been elected in Kansas? In the first place it should be said that he will not be simply a one-issue legislator. He was elected to represent all of the people of his district, and that is exactly what he will do. He will be a legislator for the people of Kansas--all of the people, not just the blind. But when all of that is said, every blind person in the nation will benefit from the fact that Dick Edlund will be in the state capitol in Topeka this year.
I have known Dick Edlund for almost twenty years, and I have worked with him closely in a variety of situations. He knows the political process, and he is a realist. He will do all right in the legislature. (Anybody who can survive in the political give and take of the Federation will do all right in any legislature.) And ultimately (especially if we do not expect the unreasonable and the impossible of him) he will play a deciding part in determining the direction of programs for the blind in Kansas during the next two years.
There is something more: The election of this man at this time has tremendous symbolic significance. It makes a statement in tangible form about what the National Federation of the Blind is and is becoming--about what we the blind are and are becoming. We are moving with a mighty sweep toward first-class status and full participation in society, and no force on earth can stay our progress. Yes, it is true that Dick Edlund is simply one person elected to one state office in one district--but the impact is far greater than the event. The message goes out to every blind person in the country; it goes to all who work with us and wish us well; and it goes to those who do not.
OF SHAKESPEARE AND DOG GUIDES
by Dr. Elizabeth Browne
Monitor readers with long memories will remember the name of Dr. Elizabeth Browne (see the Braille Monitors for January, 1980 and February, 1981. Dr. Browne is a balanced, moderate, rational woman; but woe betide the business person who is unwilling to allow her dog guide entrance into a place of public accommodation. Recently she wrote to the Braille Monitor to recount the latest of her adventures. Though Dr. Browne is a resident of Chicago, she and her husband went to Stratford, Ontario, in the spring of 1990 for a short vacation. This is the way she tells the story:
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Vacations for me are far more than lying about on a warm beach and absorbing the lethal rays of sun. Vacations which include the thrill of theater and stimulating discussion along with the warm, sunny sands of a beach are what I long for.
So early in the spring my husband and I, and dog guide Candide, made plans for another trip to the Stratford Festival in Canada to enjoy the drama and talks and to wander through the charming, quiet town with its myriad of excellent restaurants and antique shops. All was planned ahead. Accommodations reserved and tickets purchased in advance, we drove north into Ontario.
At the door of the quaint, picturesque motel we were stopped, refused entrance despite our reservation, and abruptly told that no dogs would be allowed. "No pets," the angry proprietor snapped, and his equally outraged wife joined in with her rendition of Canadian law: "No pets!"
"Let me have men (motel owners) about me who are fat (who know the law). Yon proprietor had a lean and hungry look!"
What to do? A long drive from Chicago, tickets in hand, but nowhere to stay.
We retraced our steps to the Festival Information Center and told our story. The sweet and friendly clerks were sympathetic and, after having checked with all the local motels, hotels, and inns, informed us that no place would allow the dog. "No pets," they said and felt very sad but finally placed us for one night only in another motel.
In the morning we began to check out local laws, and we started making phone calls. Pilot Dog School in Columbus, Ohio, read Ontario's law to me over the long distance line, while the mayor's office attempted to mediate the unpleasant situation by phoning the obdurate owner of the motel. Nothing doing.
Next the director of Stratford Tourism was called in, and she too attempted mediation with the motel owner, but all in vain.
Now a city attorney was phoned and advised us that there are two laws on their books: the Blind Persons' Rights Act, enforced by the local constabulary and magistrates, and a provincial law about public accommodations. He suggested that we contact the Human Rights Division in London, Ontario, to file a complaint, which we did, but also advised that we could lay a charge before the local magistrate, which we also said we were quite willing to do.
Our own version of the Berlin Wall was now firmly in place, and from each side we dug in for battle. On one side the intransigent motel owners; on the other, my husband, my dog guide, and I.
When they sensed that we were not about to be cajoled out of our well-planned vacation, we were directed to the police station to "lay a charge." The police were polite but seemed bewildered as they deposited us to wait in an "interrogation room," frigidly cold and windowless, perhaps in hopes that it would freeze us out and we would take leave. We sat and shivered and waited.
"There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries."
Finally, a provincial officer arrived. I imagined I could hear a military firmness as he marched into the cold room to interrogate me about what exactly I wanted.
"Simple; my accommodations, my vacation, my rights, justice!" "Well," he said, "do you want to press charges? Are you willing to return to Canada when this comes before the judge?" "Absolutely!"
"Follow me," he said, and off we went to the motel, following the squad car and noting happy guests picnicking on the lawn, puzzled about the new arrivals with their police escort.
We were finally invited in to meet the suddenly complaisant owners of the motel, who explained that it was all a misunderstanding. If only we had told them what a dog guide was, and so on and on we went as they attempted to save face.
We moved in for the rest of our stay and received an invitation from the City of Stratford to be wined and dined at its most exclusive restaurant, The Old Prune, where we were warmly welcomed and treated with the elegance and charm that this delightful Shakespearian town offers.
The motel owner did not charge us for one night's stay and apologized for the inconvenience he had caused us.
Oh yes, we are planning our next trip there this fall. (The following is a copy of the thank you-note I sent to acknowledge their official concern and apology.)
Barbara Quarry, Department of Tourism
August 27, 1990
The Stratford Festival
Stratford, Ontario, Canada
Thank you once again for making our Stratford trip a delightful and enriching experience. The theater was excellent, the dining splendid, and the accommodations most suitable and even charming.
But, most of all, thank you for helping tear down the walls of misunderstanding and unfriendliness and restoring hospitality and dignity to a regrettable situation.
Please convey my sincerest gratitude to all those who were concerned and helpful: our host at the Swan, Judy Purcell at the Mayor's Office, Gerry Cullerton for clarifying the legal situation, Officer William Kreps of Sebringville, and most especially to the Old Prune and its charming hostess and its sumptuously delicious and artistically presented fare.
It was an experience we shall long remember and frequently share with friends.
Looking forward to our next Stratford trip, hopefully this fall.
Dr. Elizabeth Browne
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Portrait of Donna Maglin.]
UNUSUAL HOBBY: FEDERATIONISTS HAVE
AS MUCH DIVERSITY AS OTHERS
From the Editor: We have often said that the members of the National Federation of the Blind are a cross section of society, having as much diversity and difference as the rest of the population. There was a time when the blind, like other repressed minorities, were constrained to fit a single stereotype--but no more! If you need evidence, we think we can give it to you in this article.
Donna Maglin is a long-time member of the Federation-- steady, working for a living, minding her own business, and as normal as the next person. But she has an unusual hobby, one about which your editor had no knowledge until he received the following letter:
Concord, New Hampshire
October 4, 1990
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
I am enclosing a copy of the article that appeared in last Monday's Wall Street Journal regarding a rat and mouse show in which I participated as a member of Northeast Rat and Mouse Club, International. I was not specifically mentioned in the article, but my rat, Pudgy, who was mentioned, took second place in pet class.
One of the purposes of the Northeast Rat and Mouse Club, International, is to promote rats and mice as pets. Any blind person who joins NRMCI will, if he or she requests, receive our club newsletters on cassette. The club member who reads the newsletter does an excellent job, describes all pictures, and reads everything, including the ads. We currently have two chapters, one located in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, and one for people living in New England, although we have members all over the country and expect that more chapters will be formed. Even if distance keeps one from participation in any club activities, the newsletter alone is worth the $15 annual dues.
For further information contact Liz Fucci, President, NRMCI, 275 Spring Street, Ossining, New York 10562; telephone (914) 762- 6299.
When I read that letter from Donna, my curiosity was piqued, so I read the Wall Street Journal article. I think it is worth sharing with Monitor readers. As you read it, keep in mind that most members of the Rat and Mouse Club are sighted, that the Club does not discriminate against the blind, that Club publications are made available to the blind in an accessible form, and that blind persons vary as widely in their tastes and hobbies as sighted people do. More power to Donna Maglin and her show rat Pudgy, and congratulations to Pudgy on his second-place award. Here is the Wall Street Journal article:
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 1, 1990
What's Not to Love In a
Long Pink Tail And Big Red Eyes?
* * *
Finest Rats on East Coast
Line Up to Be Judged;
And the Winners Are...
by Ellen Graham
BLOOMFIELD, N.J.--Groomed, and powdered, their whiskers aquiver with excitement, some of the finest rats on the East Coast line up on the judging bench, awaiting what may be the pinnacle of their show careers.
A back yard in the New Jersey suburbs may be a far cry from Madison Square Garden, but then, this isn't the Westminster Kennel Club.
It's the fall show sponsored by the Northeast Rat and Mouse Club, a group beguiled by the rodents that most people love to loathe. Rat fanciers, especially, confess that until they found the club, theirs was a lonely and more or less secret passion. "We kind of soft-pedaled it because we didn't want to be pegged as kooks," says Elizabeth Fucci, club president.
So Easy to Love
Ms. Fucci, a peppy brunette who keeps 125 rats and 50 mice in her three-room apartment in Ossining, N.Y., is an ardent rat booster. As pets, she explains, they are both loving and low- maintenance. "Rats greet you, they interact, they try to please," she says. "They are as close to a dog as you're going to get in a rodent."
Ms. Fucci, who has thinned her colony from an earlier peak of 700 rats and 500 mice, has few illusions about the magnitude of the rat's public relations problem. Still, club members believe that as the rat comes into its own on the show bench, the scorn heaped upon animal and owner alike should diminish. Says Bob Rizzie, the host today: "Shows take the rat out of the sewer and make it respectable."
Fancy rats--the purebred cousins of the wild rats that scurry along alleyways and lunch in garbage cans--have been bred and shown in England for almost a century. Shows in this country began about 20 years ago in Southern California. In 1988, Ms. Fucci and four other fanciers started the Northeast Rat and Mouse Club. Today, it has about 100 members, divided about evenly between "ratters" and "mousers," as they sometimes call themselves.
The 38 rats being exhibited in Bob Rizzie's backyard are all Norway rats. Rarer breeds, such as Rattus rattus, or the roof rat, and the African giant pouched rat, aren't represented today.
These "fancies" come in a dizzying array of colors and coat types. Besides the common smooth-coated variety, there are velours, whose coats have the texture of crushed velour; curly- coated Rexes; and hairless Sphynxes. As for color, the club's hefty official rule book lists no less than 22 shades, including apricot and lilac. Marked varieties may be hooded, blazed, striped, spotted, masked, or "potpourri."
Once classified, animals are scrutinized for conformation to strict standards. Rats must have full tails--equal to or greater than the body in length; points are deducted for missing tips. Overlong teeth are faulted. Eyes--black, pink, or ruby red--must be large but not bulging; whiskers should be straight and long-- except in varieties requiring short, curly ones.
Temperament is crucial, too. Here the rule book is crystal clear: "Any rat which bites any judge shall be eliminated." Judges nuzzle the animals to assess their sociability, and sniff their fur for "off" odors, another serious fault. "Rats have a sweet natural odor" that smells like sandalwood, says Ms. Fucci. "If you wore it, people would flock to you."
But this show isn't just for the body beautiful. Some rats are entered in the more democratic "pet" class, an event designed to encourage adoption of defective animals that might otherwise wind up as snake food--the dread fate to which pet stores consign culls. Today's entrants include Ms. Fucci's Weebee, a young male with a wry neck, and Pudgy, a rat born without eyes.
"This is horrible--I hate doing pets," mutters judge Roxanne Fitzgerald, a teacher from Los Angeles who is flustered by the lack of firm standards in this category. "When you see a little face like that looking up, how can you eliminate it?" After much stewing, she awards top honors to "Dr. Eric Joshua III," whom she pronounces a "nice big buck rat--very responsive."
Judging of the main event--rat standards--proceeds after a tense moment in which the judges search frantically for a missing rat belonging to Ms. Fucci. It turns out that the rat, Fuzzy Britches, was disqualified at the door when he began wheezing. "Just a stress reaction," Ms. Fucci shrugs. "This happens."
One by one, rats are eliminated--this one for skittishness, that one for obesity. Judge Gina Loiacono gives the top prize to Suki, a black and white hooded doe, whom she holds by the tail, inspecting its underbelly. "No spots on the groin--that's good," someone remarks.
Suki's owner, Eileen Brown of Trevose, Pa., has 25 rats. "I like their temperament--so gentle," she says, kissing Suki on the nose. Her husband isn't as smitten, but Mrs. Brown says he tells her, "If it keeps you sane, go ahead."
To break the tension of the day-long affair, rat races are held during lunch. Bob Rizzie has constructed a wooden track complete with a sliding starting gate. Grouped in heats, the contenders run down the track, coaxed along by their owners, known as "jockeys."
The two-dozen spectators cheer as Mr. Rizzie's rat Molly and Ms. Fucci's Weebee compete in the final heat. It's no contest. Molly dawdles at the gate, while Weebee--after a detour to gnaw on a wooden strut--sprints across the finish line.
"He was born to it," Ms. Fucci crows, clutching Weebee's golden, winged trophy. She says that Weebee has been in training for months, tirelessly running laps on her bed, where he sleeps.
The much-awaited "Best in Show" event, judged by Ms. Fucci, pits the top rat--Mrs. Brown's Suki--against three mice: winners of the English mouse, American mouse, and Egyptian spiny mouse categories. The trophy goes to Harlequin, a black satin roan mouse owned by Wanda Wilson of New Cumberland, Pa. "He epitomizes the American standard," Ms. Fucci declares, as Harlequin perches atop its 18-inch trophy. Suki places second.
Today's show, all agree, is a model of efficiency and decorum compared with previous events, which were somewhat fractious affairs plagued by delays, rule disputes and, in at least one instance, a narrow brush with flying fur. A TV crew completely disrupted one show, Ms. Fucci recalls indignantly, by trying to "stage a showdown between a neighborhood cat and an exhibitor's beloved pet rat."
Club members grow weary of defending their hobby. Wanda Wilson, whose article, "I'm OK, You're OK," appeared recently in the club's bimonthly journal, writes of her relief at finding kindred spirits in the club who are "so reassuringly sane" and who don't bore her, as other friends do, with chatter about baseball scores, star charts, and high-fiber diets.
After all, baseball scores don't come when called (rats respond to their names) or have endearing, humanlike ways. Ms. Fucci is charmed by the way her domesticated rats wet their hands in their water bottles, carefully shake off the excess, and wash their faces.
Yet, humans tend to fear the rat, and club members offer lots of theories that address this. Some trace it to the plagues of the Middle Ages, and the wild rat's reputation for spreading disease. Others think it all boils down to the animal's long, hairless tail. For Bob Rizzie, it's the name itself. "Just the word turns people off," he says.
Not much help are lurid newspaper accounts of jumbo "killer" rats stalking the subways. But club members are quick to draw a distinction between their pampered pets and rats in the wild. "Wild rats probably deserve the bad rap they get," concedes Ms. Loiacono, a Manhattan artist. "It's like the difference between a pet dog and a wild dog."
Even Liz Fucci, who spends eight hours a week cleaning out 62 cages of rats and mice, wouldn't tolerate an invasion of her home by a street-wise rodent. "I'd have no qualms about [trapping] it," she says. "A sewer rat is an absolute no-no--you don't know where it's been. I'd have to protect my own colonies from disease, even if it meant killing a wild rat to do it."
THIS IS HOW WE WORK:
A RESOLUTION FROM WEST VIRGINIA
National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia
WHEREAS, one of the chief purposes of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is to support equal employment opportunities for blind persons; and
WHEREAS, for many years blind persons have been employed as long-distance telephone operators, utilizing various forms of adaptive technology to perform their job duties as well as their sighted colleagues; and
WHEREAS, in early 1989 two blind persons, James Olive and Vicki Smith, who were employed as long-distance operators at the Charleston office of AT&T Corporation, were notified that the company planned to install new computerized switchboard equipment which, the company said, could not be modified for use by a blind person; and
WHEREAS, the installation of such equipment, the company said, would result in the downgrade or possible loss of employment for the two blind operators; and
WHEREAS, both the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia (NFBWV) and Local 2001 of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) offered support to Olive and Smith in an effort to preserve their jobs; and
WHEREAS, this support led to a series of meetings involving the workers themselves, along with representatives of AT&T, CWA, and the NFBWV, aimed at discovering technological solutions to the problem facing the blind workers; and
WHEREAS, both the company and union representatives involved in these discussions displayed a genuine eagerness to do whatever was necessary to assist Olive and Smith in retaining their level of employment; and
WHEREAS, through its nationwide network of blind persons, the Federation was able to help the company and the workers to identify and evaluate various technological options and ultimately to discover systems which enabled Olive and Smith to continue to perform their respective jobs in an efficient and competitive manner; and
WHEREAS, this type of cooperative discussion is an excellent example of the kind of creative problem-solving which leads to productive and secure employment for blind persons: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia, in annual convention assembled this fourth day of August, 1990, in the city of Lewisburg, West Virginia, that this organization commend both AT&T Corporation and the Communication Workers of America for their positive attitudes toward the equality and employment potential of blind persons and for the spirit of cooperation which characterized their participation in the discussions which secured competitive employment for James Olive and Vicki Smith; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this positive problem-solving scenario serve as a model for future efforts to secure employment for qualified blind persons; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be sent to appropriate officials of AT&T and CWA and to the president and executive director of the National Federation of the Blind.
If you or a friend would like to remember the National Federation of the Blind in your will, you can do so by employing the following language:
"I give, devise, and bequeath unto National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation, the sum of $_____ (or "_____ percent of my net estate" or "The following stocks and bonds: _____") to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons."
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Greg Hanson, one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, demonstrates self-defense techniques to Dale Cochran, Iowa's Secretary of Agriculture. Mr. Cochran, a Democrat, served for many years as majority leader in the Iowa House of Representatives and worked closely with Dr. Jernigan when Dr. Jernigan was Director of the Iowa Commission for the Blind. Mr. Cochran has always been a friend and supporter of the blind and constructive programs for the blind. The picture was taken January 16, 1991, at the annual Information Fair of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa in Des Moines.]
FEDERATIONIST EXCELS AT MARTIAL ARTS
From the Associate Editor: The following story, written by Debbie Hare, appeared in The Daily Iowan in Iowa City, Iowa, on July 24, 1990. Greg Hanson is the Vice President of the Five Seasons Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa and a man who practices his Federation philosophy. In late November, 1990, he will attempt to earn his temporary black belt in tae kwon do. It is highly characteristic of Greg, however, that he has not limited his interest in the martial arts to his personal gratification. Instead he has designed and taught community classes for others who need to learn self defense. Here is what the Daily Iowan had to say:
UI student Greg Hanson doesn't let blindness slow him down.
Hanson, who lost his sight to diabetes seven years ago, is involved in several community and university activities in which he incorporates his firsthand interest in rights and independence for blind people.
Hanson transferred to the University of Iowa in June, 1989, after attending Briar Cliff College in Sioux City and Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.
Hanson designed his own interdisciplinary honors major in public relations at the University of Iowa. His honors thesis is called "Attitudes and Behavioral Norms of the Sighted Public Toward Organizations and Agencies for the Blind."
After receiving his degree next spring, Hanson plans to enter a graduate program at the UI and eventually work in public relations and fund-raising for a social group or agency.
Dan Berkowitz, UI assistant journalism professor and one of Hanson's major advisers, said Hanson is the first blind student he has worked with.
"Greg is very purposive in what he does," said Berkowitz. "I see him as being rather successful."
Hanson is now gathering research on impressions and misconceptions sighted people have of blind people.
"I've lived in both worlds," Hanson said. "I know the attitudes of the sighted world about blindness."
Hanson's wife Sue said many people seem to think he is deaf and dumb as well as blind. People often raise their voices, assuming Hanson is hard of hearing, and often defer questions to her instead of talking to Hanson directly, she said.
Among his other achievements, Hanson is also vice president of the local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. He said he works with the NFB because it focuses on blind people helping themselves and being independent, as well as educating the public about blindness.
Hanson is currently designing a self-defense course for blind people. He said there have been several muggings of blind people in Des Moines.
The response to these crimes by the sighted public is often that blind people shouldn't be out alone at night, he said, and added that kind of attitude is counterproductive to blind people achieving independence.
Hanson also teaches a self-defense course in his neighborhood for women and children, and he trains in tae kwon do.
Hanson became interested in martial arts in 1985 for exercise and to work on his balance, control, and agility. But he was repeatedly turned away from martial arts classes because instructors wouldn't teach a blind person.
He finally found a tae kwon do instructor who would work with him in Sioux City. After moving to Iowa City, he began training at Choe's Tae Kwon Do, 224 Stevens Drive.
Since Hanson can't see the instructor demonstrating styles and techniques at the front of the class, he said it takes a little more effort and modification. The instructor has to put Hanson's body in position initially for him to learn new techniques.
When he is sparring with opponents, they must yell before hitting or kicking him, and he has adapted a beeper for them to wear so he can track their location. Someone must tap the wood when he is breaking boards so he can locate the target.
Hanson said his tae kwon do class has accepted him, and he is expected to master the same techniques and styles as everyone else. But Hanson said he has had to fight discrimination at tournaments, where only black belts agreed to spar with him because the others were afraid Hanson would hurt them.
"I've never hurt anyone yet," said Hanson.
He said he has the disadvantage when his opponents are hitting or kicking because he can't see where it's coming from. On the other hand, Hanson said, he has an advantage with spin kicks. Usually people have to turn their heads to spot their opponents before kicking, but Hanson can spin kick simply by sound.
Last Saturday Hanson tested for a black tip on his red belt, only two levels away from a black belt. He will find out soon whether he has advanced.
In Hanson's spare time, he and his wife run a mobile music service called Dancin' in the Dark. She runs the lights and Hanson is the disc jockey.
THE PROOF OF THE PUDDING
From the Associate Editor: One of the most satisfying aspects of watching the years roll by as a member of this movement is observing the growth and maturation in people who have joined the organization more recently. As a member of the Scholarship Committee in 1985, I was assigned the task of notifying Ken Silberman, an astronomy major at the University of Pennsylvania, that he was one of that year's winners. His file was impressive. In addition to his academic work in a field which I could not fathom, he indicated that he had been a member of a volunteer fire department and had done scuba diving.
We talked at length by telephone several times that spring, and I came to understand that Ken, like so many others, was doing some remarkable things, but he had no real self-confidence as a blind person. He could not use Braille. He did not travel effectively or confidently with a cane. His alternative techniques for completing his mathematical and scientific work were inefficient and cobbled-together. In short, I did not hold out much hope for his future despite his impressive academic record.
I am learning, however, that one should never underestimate the power of the Federation's impact on a person of character and determination. Ken looked around that summer at the first truly competent blind people he had ever seen and decided that he wanted what they had. He took himself off to a rehabilitation program in which he really could master Braille and the use of the white cane. He earned a master's degree from Cornell in aerospace engineering, and he began looking for a job. He found one in data base management at the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station in Philadelphia. But he has continued to nose around for something that would lead more directly toward aerospace program management. Meanwhile, he began working as a Job Opportunities for the Blind volunteer in Pennsylvania, which helped him to hone his own skills in job-hunting. Now it is all paying off. Here is a letter which explains what has happened and puts it all in perspective:
September 18, 1990
Dear President Maurer:
It has often been said that change is the only true constant. I guess this is so. At any rate, I'm not doing anything to disprove this philosophy. On 21 October, I shall be starting work at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in the Space Data and Computing Division.
My job will involve researching and interpreting data from the archives in response to the queries of astronomers. The data from all American (and some foreign) space missions is stored in these archives. It's time to put some of my undergraduate training to work.
It's not exactly what I want, but it gets my foot in the door. I had hoped to get into the space program from the military side. Oh well, there's more than one way to skin a cat. I hope to move into management. (Based on my experience in government, this is an area where my talents are desperately needed.) I plan to do a superior job, to learn what opportunities are available or can be made, and to use some political finesse to make helpful allies. Who knows? With a lot of hard work and a little luck, I might get to fly. After all, when the space station becomes a reality, they're going to need a lot of disciplines, not just fliers. I know this is a lot of dreaming. But, if you don't shoot for a target, you won't ever hit it.
A lot has happened since my first NFB national convention in Louisville. I've gone from being a mess to being one of the best in 5 years. Back then, I didn't believe that a blind person could do very much. However, after being touched by the Federation and its leaders that summer, I could only conclude that Ken Silberman couldn't do very much. And I was not prepared to be content with that. There was only one thing to do--get off my backside and get to work. Well, this job is the result. Not bad, eh?
As I close this letter, I am struck by the fact that I could not have achieved any more if I had been sighted. Of course, it would have been much easier if I had not had to overcome the handicap of the professionals who did their best to set up road- blocks in front of me. But, with the help of the Federation, I have done it. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. I've earned this job. I deserve it. And I've got it!
[PHOTO: Portrait of Colleen Roth. CAPTION: Colleen Roth, Federationist from Ohio.]
COLLEEN ROTH SEES TO IT IT'S A HAPPIER WORLD
by Tom Ensign
From the Associate Editor: Like most of us, Colleen Roth has many responsibilities. She is a wife and mother of a multiply handicapped daughter, who requires a great deal of attention and supervision. But also like many others in the National Federation of the Blind, Colleen refuses to limit herself to her personal life and responsibilities. She finds time to do lots of things in her community, and her community stretches across the nation. In the April, 1990 Braille Monitor we carried a Monitor Miniature announcing that she had been chosen as a Jefferson Award winner in the Toledo, Ohio, area. Subsequently she was invited to Washington, D.C. as one of seventy winners from across the country to compete for the national award. On Thursday, May 21, the Toledo Blade ran a story written by Tom Ensign about Colleen Roth and her many activities. Here is what it had to say:
Colleen Roth spends a lot of time helping people less fortunate than herself.
She also spends a lot of time helping people more fortunate than herself.
In fact, Colleen Roth spends a lot of time helping just about anyone who needs it, and she dearly loves her work.
She must. Here's a quick rundown on just some of her volunteer activities:
- Chairman of the committee on the multi-handicapped blind of the National Federation of the Blind.
- First vice president of the Parents of Blind Children Division in Ohio.
- First vice president of the Toledo Federation of the Blind.
- President of Association for Retarded Citizens in Wood County.
- A volunteer with Family First (a support group for parents with children with disabilities).
- A surrogate parent who acts as advocate for children with disabilities who live in foster homes or institutional settings and don't have parents to speak for them.
- A volunteer reader for the Sight Center Audio Network.
- A licensed respite-care provider (a specialized baby-sitting service to children with disabilities) in Wood and Lucas Counties.
The list goes on, and while her activities are impressive, they are particularly astounding when you consider that Mrs. Roth is blind.
Not only that, her husband Dudley is also legally blind, and their adopted daughter Karen is legally blind and profoundly retarded.
That would seem enough to keep anyone busy, but these are not handicaps to Mrs. Roth. In fact, she's not too fond of the work "handicap."
"I use the word "disability," she says. "We're only handicapped by our attitudes and those of society. My blindness is a disability, but it is not a handicap."
Mrs. Roth has met and overcome some severe adversities in her 38 years. She was born a premature twin. Six days later her sister died, and Colleen was in an incubator three months. It was during this time that she became totally blind.
She was reared in Toledo by her grandmother and was educated in Catholic schools. She graduated from Ursuline Academy and Bowling Green State University.
As she was growing up, she had a fervent interest in helping people and became involved in volunteer work. She married and had a daughter Monica, who was visually impaired and mentally retarded. Two years ago, when she was 6, Monica was killed in a bus accident.
"I've never had a feeling of helplessness that has to do with blindness," Mrs. Roth says. "I had a feeling of helplessness when my daughter died."
Many might have withdrawn into depression and self-pity, but Mrs. Roth didn't have the inclination or the time.
Last June Karen came to live with the Roths, and in February they legally adopted the 19-year-old girl. She has provided a light that was dimmed with Monica's death.
Karen needs total care, and Mrs. Roth fits that in with all the rest of her activities.
Mrs. Roth is quick to praise people who help her out so she can go out and help others, and she has special thanks for her friend, Mary Lou Andaverde.
"I wouldn't be able to do all the things I do without Mary Lou. She reads and drives for me. There are lots of mailings, lots of trips to the post office. She reads the letters to me and just puts in so many hours. She's really an exceptional woman. I have a lot of material to send out to people, and she does so much. I can type, but I avoid it when I can because I have rheumatoid arthritis, and it causes problems with my hands.
"There are a lot of people who help me in so many ways; you wouldn't believe it. Sometimes I feel guilty because if it wasn't for all the people in my life who do things so that I can volunteer, I couldn't do it."
She has a feisty spirit and says what she thinks whether it's popular or not. For instance, she does not believe in mainstreaming. "I believe that sometimes a mainstream setting is actually more restrictive. If the services that a person needs are not available in a mainstream setting, and the teacher and other people in that setting object to it, you're not going to get good feedback.
"There are many who would disagree with that, but I can tell you from my own experience that it can be very painful being where you are not wanted."
There are certainly many areas where she is wanted, and her volunteer efforts were recognized recently when she was one of five Toledo-area residents who won a Jefferson Award for public service.
The local competition was sponsored by WTVG, Toledo Channel 13. She then was nominated for the national competition and was in Washington, D.C. Tuesday and yesterday for the ceremonies. She didn't win the national honors, but it really wasn't too important to her.
"I believe everyone should find something to do for someone else in this world," she says. "Everybody has some talent, and it can be as simple as going over and checking on an elderly neighbor. Everybody has something to contribute, and if more people contributed and reached out to other people in the world, we'd have a happier world to live in."
There's little doubt that Mrs. Roth will be continually striving to make our world a better place, even if it's sometimes difficult to see the beauty.
With her, love is blind.
[PHOTO: Arthur Schreiber standing at microphone. CAPTION: Arthur Schreiber.]
ART SCHREIBER HONORED
As Monitor readers know, Arthur Schreiber is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico; but because of his unassuming demeanor, many of his other accomplishments are not so well known. For many years he has been one of the leaders of the radio broadcasting industry in this country, and he has also made substantial contributions to the civic betterment of any community where he has lived.
On November 15, 1990, Mr. Schreiber was honored by the American Lung Association. In a letter about the event Fred Schroeder, NFB Board Member and Director of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind, said:
On Thursday, November 15, 1990, Arthur A. Schreiber was honored by the American Lung Association as the recipient of its National Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism Award. Arthur is only the seventh individual in the nation to be honored in this way.
Arthur's contributions to the community at large, and in particular his support of the National Federation of the Blind, have done much to promote positive attitudes toward blindness. Arthur's stature as a community leader and successful business person are living testimony to the belief that blind people can lead normal lives, as fully participating members of society.
The National Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism Award was presented to Arthur during the annual Lung Association banquet in Albuquerque. Bruce Williams, a notable talk show host from NBC's "Talknet" was the evening's featured speaker. New Mexico's civic leaders, including Congressman Steve Schiff and Lt. Governor Jack Stahl, were present at the banquet to pay tribute to Arthur, and to honor him for his numerous contributions to the community.
As you will see from the enclosed banquet program, Arthur is committed to furthering the work of the National Federation of the Blind and uses every opportunity to promote a positive attitude toward blindness.
The banquet program booklet to which Fred Schroeder refers says:
Arthur A. Schreiber
In 1981 Arthur A. Schreiber moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to become the new General Manager of KOB Radio. Neither he nor the Land of Enchantment has been the same since.
A long-time radio man, Art knew the value and responsibility of being a part of the community he lived in and, of course, he immediately became immersed in the professional and public activities of his new city.
It was less than a year later that his life completely changed. As Art says, "The lights went out." He became blind. Few of his new friends knew that Schreiber had lost the sight in one eye many years before due to a torn and detached retina. Suddenly the same condition blinded the other eye. After seven months of surgery and special training, Schreiber was back in Albuquerque with a promotion to general manager of both the AM and FM stations. He had very little vision but he had a new insight and a banner to carry. He knew the problems of people with handicaps and he was determined that others would hear.
Mr. Schreiber brings a unique perspective to the position of radio station general manager for he is one of the few in the business who has done it all in radio news: reporter, news director, national and then White House correspondent, and bureau chief.
During his news career, he covered many of the significant and historical events that made the sixties a decade to be remembered... events such as manned spaced flight, national political conventions, civil rights, and the first United States tour of the Beatles.
But Art Schreiber has never forgotten the thrill of getting his first full-time radio job at WHIZ in Zanesville, Ohio. It was a station where he could learn to do everything, and he soon learned so well that he moved to Cleveland as a news director and 17 years with Westinghouse Broadcasting Company.
During that time he served as national political correspondent covering the campaign of John F. Kennedy. Later he covered President Kennedy's funeral. Throughout the sixties he was at every major civil rights disturbance in the United States, including the Watts riots in Los Angeles. He traveled with Dr. Martin Luther King and was on the Selma to Montgomery march.
In 1964 Art Schreiber was one of five news people who traveled with the Beatles on their first cross-country tour of the United States. He was with them for five weeks, hitting 27 cities in 31 days. During the many night-long Monopoly games he played with John Lennon, a strong friendship was formed that continued until Lennon's death in 1980. He also lost a few shirts and ties as the Beatles' adoring fans would literally rip off souvenirs from anyone in the Fab Four's entourage. Looking back, Schreiber describes it as his most difficult but exciting assignment.
His other Westinghouse duties were equally frenetic as he was tapped to be the White House correspondent during the L.B. Johnson years and asked also to establish bureaus in Madrid, Tel Aviv, Bonn, Saigon and Hong Kong.
After he moved into management, Schreiber's resume reads like the list of top news stations in the country. He managed stations in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and St. Paul before moving to Albuquerque. KOB was not in a success pattern when Schreiber took over. He has led the stations to the top in the market, and KOB is recognized as the most listened-to station in New Mexico.
At one point in the 70s he left radio and took a new challenge. When gas was in short supply and lines were long, Schreiber was living in Los Angeles, the single-car driving capital of the United States. One day while waiting in a three- hour gas line he decided that something could and must be done and came up with the idea of Commuter Computer. With the help of Mayor Bradley of Los Angeles, the county of los Angeles, and Arco Oil and Gas it became the first non-profit cooperation between business, industry, and the private sector and one of the first ride pools in the country. The program grew from 100 riders a month when it began in 1972 to over 25,000 a month when he went back in 1977.
Art Schreiber has become a champion of the blind and will not accept a speaking engagement without the understanding that he may educate his audiences briefly on the problems the blind experience. He is Chairman of the New Mexico Commission for the Blind and on the Board of the New Mexico Federation of the Blind which has given him their "President's Award" honor. Recently, due to Schreiber and the Commission's work, New Mexico has become the third state in the country to start a "talking newspaper" by which blind people can dial on their phones certain sections of an Albuquerque newspaper and hear the news or sports or even the grocery ads or comics firsthand.
There are few professional or community boards that Art Schreiber has not been a member of. He is past president of the New Mexico Broadcasters Association, President of the Albuquerque Press Club, and is currently a member of the Second Judicial District Judges' Nomination Commission, the Coalition for Children, and the American Lung Association among others.
With his encouragement, KOB Radio has sponsored several American Lung Association fundraising activities: The Million Dollar Hole in One, The Ski Privilege Card, and the Bike Trek through northern New Mexico. He himself is working on the Association's major gift campaign.
Arthur A. Schreiber is truly a friend of non-profit agencies, a person who understands their needs and is always there with a warm and welcome smile and an outstretched helping hand.
His many awards include the prestigious Dupont award from the Columbia School of Journalism and the Broadcast Pioneer's "Golden Mike" award.
This is what the banquet booklet program said, and November 15, 1990, was truly a day to remember, not only for Art Schreiber but also for all of the blind of New Mexico. Earlier that day broadcaster Tim Gallagher aired the following editorial:
Art Schreiber--One of our Best
It is rare when people gather to honor one of the community's "good people."
Such an event takes place tonight when Art Schreiber, KOB-AM and KOB-FM radio vice president and general manager, receives the National Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism Award. The award is made by the New Mexico chapter of the American Lung Association in recognition of Schreiber's many community efforts.
And that list is long. His latest coup is arranging for the reading of the Albuquerque Journal news articles over the telephone to blind people. But Schreiber's contributions only start there.
Find a worthy cause in Albuquerque and you'll find his radio station's name attached. Blankets for the needy. Clothes for poor school children. Shelters for the homeless.
Cynics might argue that most of the community efforts are designed only to raise the radio stations' profiles and attract more advertisers. And while that might be true for the bottom- line bean-counters at corporate headquarters, it is the antithesis of what drives a good person such as Art Schreiber.
We remember one private party thrown by former Mayor Ken Schultz who was touting the mayor's annual charity ball--a swanky affair that raised money for worthy causes. Art suggested the hosts serve bean soup and bread to the guests so they had a little taste of what it was like to be needy. For some reason that suggestion fell on deaf ears.
His other ideas have been more successful. It is great to see his efforts recognized.
[PHOTO: Karen Ortega and others in front of Tucson library during dedication of book. CAPTION: In front of the new Tucson, Arizona, City Library (left to right): Thomas Garcia, Tucson public librarian; Carol Zimmerman, Executive Aide to Mayor of Tucson; Karen Ortega, member of the NFB Distribution of Publications Committee; and Lee Kerr, President of the Tucson Chapter of the NFB of Arizona.]
WITH PRIDE WE DEDICATE
by Karen Ortega
From the Associate Editor: Karen Ortega is the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Tucson and is Arizona's appointee to the NFB Distribution of Publications Committee. She takes her responsibilities seriously, and her chapter is prepared to work hard alongside her. All of us can benefit from Tucson's example. Our book, Walking Alone and Marching Together, is a valuable resource that should be in every library and university in this country. Each state affiliate and local chapter can help the blind everywhere by making a New Year's resolution to work energetically to spread the word about the book to those who have responsibility for building book collections in every community. Sometimes (as in the case described here) it is appropriate to present a copy of the book. But mostly we need to let book buyers know that it is available and a bargain at its price. This is the way the Tucson chapter did it:
On July 16, 1990, our new book, Walking Alone and Marching Together, was dedicated by the blind of Arizona to the citizens of Tucson for use in our new main public library. (We had already been working with its staff on other issues.) Here is how it happened--and happened quickly after our 1990 national convention.
At the Dallas convention, during the first week of July, each state president was asked to designate someone from the delegation to represent the affiliate at a special meeting of the Distribution of Publications Committee. It had been decided that a concerted effort was needed to have our new book spread far and wide throughout the land. I was extremely pleased when Ruth Swenson, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona, asked me if I would represent Arizona at the committee meeting. President Swenson made it clear, however, that if I were to have the privilege of representing Arizona on the Committee, I also had the responsibility for doing something when I got back home. So I did.
The Arizona affiliate had bought several copies of Walking Alone and Marching Together at the convention so that we would have some to use as gifts and others to show to prospective buyers. We decided to make a gift of the first copy.
On the Monday after the convention I set to work. First I called our Mayor to see if I could get him to agree to participate in a dedication ceremony. I figured that, since he probably had the busiest schedule, I should get his commitment first and then work around his schedule. After I explained what the Federation is and what we wanted to do, he agreed to participate. The first available appointment he had was just one week later, so I grabbed it.
Then, I called key officials of our new main public library to arrange for their participation. Once I told them what was going on, they too were eager to participate. And, of course, once they knew the Mayor was coming to a dedication ceremony out in front of their new library, you couldn't have kept them away with a team of horses.
Next I called our newspapers and television stations. I told them about the Federation and what was going on with the ceremony. When they learned that the Mayor and key library officials would be participating in the dedication, they were naturally interested and promised to be there.
We then called our own chapter members so that we would have a good crowd on hand for the event. The final step in the preparation process took place on the morning of the ceremony. I checked back with all of the major participants to make sure that they were still coming.
We had a wonderful ceremony, and our pride in the Federation and in our new book was bursting out all over. To emphasize the Braille literacy bill which we were successful in passing this year, the presentation of the book was made by reading from a Braille text. Our Tucson chapter members were on hand in good numbers to represent not only the blind of Arizona but also the blind of the nation. All of the City officials were pleased with the presentation and pledged to make good use of Walking Alone and Marching Together. Also we received both television and newspaper coverage.
As a long-time Federationist and a former teacher of mine, Jan Gawith, used to say, "We done good!"
It is our hope that other appointees to the Distribution of Publications Committee will do the same.
1990 JOB REPORT
by Lauren L. Eckery
Laurie Eckery is one of the many Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) volunteers across the country. One reason she is an effective volunteer in this program is that she knows firsthand what it is to suffer job discrimination. (See the June, 1989, Braille Monitor for the story of her victory in a ten-year employment discrimination suit against the Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska.) Early in 1990 Laurie and two other blind people were hired by the Marriott Corporation to work taking hotel reservations by telephone. This kind of job using computer technology holds a lot of promise for blind people. Not everyone is suited to the demands of the work, but these first three blind Marriott employees are clearly doing splendidly in their new jobs.
Laurie has been keeping Lorraine Rovig, Director of the JOB Program, fully informed about her problems and progress with the job. Here are excerpts from two of Laurie's letters that chart her successes and illustrate the ways in which a knowledgeable, patient, resourceful blind person can solve problems and educate co-workers:
Dear Miss Rovig,
Well, did you survive the convention in good shape? I bet you did. I was a little frazzled for a couple of days, but I think I am getting enough rest to catch up some. It was hard to go back to work, but it was also really neat to have my job to go back to once I got there. People had noticed I had been gone and wanted to know about how things were in Texas.
Some of what I will relate in this report I already told you at the convention, but I wanted to write it down officially in case any of the information could be helpful to someone else.
The three of us blind folks who were hired by the Marriott World-Wide Reservation Center in March, 1990, are doing just great. Our work time is divided into four-week periods, and at the end of each period our statistics are compiled, and our supervisors go over them with us. If people do well in any area, their names are put on a list, which is posted on the bulletin board, and their achievements are publicly recognized at our team meetings, which occur once a period. All three of us scored in this way during the fourth period (coming right out of training) and again in the fifth. I would guess we will be in the top in sixth period, judging by the statistical review I had today.
I had the best conversion ratio in general sales in the center for fourth period. This entitled me to two hours of work time by one of our supervisors, which I can take whenever I like. The other two blind employees have also been top in conversion ratio and top in sales. I have been second or third in sales. My sales record may be slightly lower overall because I am so thorough with customers and tend to put their needs above hurrying.
You asked me at convention if we knew why we were doing so well. Today I received a perfect score on monitoring (which does not happen very often) and very high scores in other areas. I asked my supervisor if he had any thoughts on why the three of us were doing so well. His first remark was, "Laurie, you guys are so good. You're just good!" He said we were dedicated to our work, really worked during training, were trained well, and are exceptional listeners. I believe another factor might be that jobs have not come easily to us. The other folks could go work at the McDonald's across town if they lost their jobs at Marriott. We would be capable of such work but would most likely not be hired. Therefore, I think we may work harder, knowing that we cannot take this job for granted. In my case, it took three years and three months after a master's degree finally to get my job.
Also two of us are family folks and are not caught up in the social scene in such a way that we would be irresponsible off the job with dire consequences. Most of the employees are much younger than I am, and my life is quite tame compared to some of what I hear. Also, I would guess that our IQ level is probably on the high side if we were to consider the average of those working at Marriott. This may be untrue and may mean absolutely nothing. I am just guessing. At any rate, Marriott is very pleased with our work, and they have hired a blind person in Utah and may have hired another in California. We have been observed by hotel personnel from all over the country, and Omaha plans to hire more blind folks, possibly this fall.
Several state rehabilitation clients have come in to observe us. In fact, it is not at all unusual for someone to be standing behind us while we work. If anyone had told me this would be happening, I would have been frightened and self-conscious. However, we are so busy that we barely notice it. It pleases us to be enlightening folks and perhaps helping other blind persons find similar employment. In this vein, I did end up talking to several people at convention about my job and may be hearing from some others. None sounded interested in relocating to Omaha (who would?), but they were interested in finding similar work in their home areas. That's exciting!
We had problems regarding our phase two training in resorts, courtyards, and residence inns. Most agents go into special services a month or so after phase one training. We have been in general for more like three months. This, by the way, may be another factor in why we are doing so well; I just thought of that. Anyway, I was persistent in inquiring occasionally about more training. The other two expected me to do this. We began to be concerned that they thought we couldn't handle the extra load. Finally we were told that it was taking a long time to get the materials on tape for us and to find a trainer who was free to work with us this summer. All of this has been remedied. We begin phase two training next week, July 16, for two weeks. We're getting their best trainer in resorts. We know that there are quite a few videos in the regular training, so we are anxious to find out if we will see these also. I hope we do, so there won't be a problem.
I mentioned in a previous report problems in access to much of the information that pours out of the Reservations Center. We have been trying various means of dealing with this general problem. Some information is now being put on the computer, which is convenient for everyone. The reception desk folks are taping memos that come to them, and they now have a duplicator, so they can make copies for all of us. The best method for me is to have my little APH recorder or Talkman with me at all times. If something comes up, I can turn it on and have my supervisor explain or read it on the spot. He has gotten a kick out of this. Their major problem is remembering to tell us things. I had this same problem at the Red Cross and other places I have volunteered. The tape recorder method with my reminding them by asking for information seems to be working very well for me. If all of us do this, they may go nuts, however. Maybe we can duplicate the information I get, although I think that we all should be somewhat responsible for getting our own information.
Also, now that we know more people, they are likely to ask, "Did you go visit the such and such hotel representatives upstairs? They have such and such for us." Sometimes I already know, and sometimes not. We all ask each other if there's a special premium or whatever. Word of mouth is something that takes a while, especially since there are so many workers, and we all have different shifts. But it can get better.
The cafeteria situation is still not ideal, although most of the time I have laughed about it. They still put the three of us together and tend to think of a certain table as ours, and one day one of them cut my pizza in small strips. I have quietly said that much of this is not really necessary, but it is hard to deal with because they like us a lot, and they think they are doing it to be extra kind. I will continue to observe the trend and see how the others feel about it. The problem is that I don't think it bothers one of them very much; and, since the other sees quite a lot, he is exempt from some of it. I wonder what will happen when we get more blind folks at Marriott; maybe that will be the time to deal with this problem. Some days I bring my food from home and sit where I want. That works well. However, I like Marriott food and prefer to eat it much of the time. There are also picnic tables outside. I may try that alternative sometime.
That's all for now.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Portrait of Heidi Sherman.]
COULD HANSEL BUILD A GINGERBREAD HOUSE?
by Heidi Sherman
Heidi Sherman is one of the leaders of the Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind. She recently completed training at Blindness: Learning in New Dimensions (BLIND, Inc.), the National Federation of the Blind's rehabilitation center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The following article is reprinted from the Fall, 1990, edition of "The Student Slate," the newsletter of the national Student Division. Of course Hansel can build a gingerbread house. The secret is to tackle the job one small step at a time. Here is Heidi Sherman's account of learning this lesson:
The blind are on the road to first-class citizenship. The National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped (NAC) has been reduced to a mere skeleton of an organization. Some of us are receiving the quality training we need to live full and productive lives, and more and more members of the general public are realizing that blindness is respectable. These are major accomplishments, considering the mere fifty years of the NFB's existence. At the 1990 National Federation of the Blind convention in Dallas, Texas, we set goals for the next fifty years. We will continue to work for passage of the Air Travel Rights for Blind Individuals Act in Congress. We will strive to see that blind people begin to play a significant role in choosing the facilities in which they receive their training, and increasingly blind people will come to participate fully in society because they will have the training and the confidence to do so. Let me tell you how I discovered that igniting a flame in a gas oven deserves a place in this list of lofty accomplishments.
A short time after I completed my training at BLIND, Inc. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I had an experience that reduced me to a gelatinous blob of helplessness. Unbeknownst to me, early one cold Minnesota day, the exterminator inadvertently extinguished the pilot light in my gas oven. How could he have known that such an innocent act could challenge all that I had fought for during the nine months that I had just spent at BLIND, Inc.?
When I got home that evening, I was very hungry, and I craved something hot--something that required a good searing in the oven. As I turned the temperature gauge, I noticed that the familiar whooshing sound of gas was curiously absent. I stood there for what seemed an hour, and finally I realized that the pilot light must have somehow been extinguished. A parade of alternatives came to mind. Should I order out? Should I call the building manager and ask her to light the flame for me? Should I settle for a cold, unsatisfying sandwich? Or, should I just sit and starve? The flame would have to be lit eventually since I couldn't order out every night. I cringed at the thought of calling the building manager and confirming her belief that blind people are incompetent. But I really wanted something hot in my stomach; so, if I couldn't have that, then I would have to settle for starvation unless I could manage to light the flame myself.
Peering into the shadowy cavern of the oven, I strained to see with my limited vision where the sound of the spewing gas was coming from. Throwing caution to the wind, I stuck my head into the oven, thinking all the time of the witch in Hansel and Gretel. In frustration I began to throw lighted matches at any little black opening I could distinguish. Ten minutes passed, and I withdrew my sore neck and blackened nose, sat back on my heels, and yelled in frustration. Turning off the gas, I sat paralyzed by my greatest fear--the fear that I could not do the thing facing me because of my blindness.
Beset by a black cloud of defeat, I suddenly had a realization, which gave me hope. I had been forgetting a major lesson of my training. At BLIND, Inc. I learned that a blind person can have a successful career, lobby for legislation, climb a mountain, or achieve anything else he or she wants. The most important lesson, however, is that in order to reach these goals, you have to do the preliminary, usually small, things first. You can't raise a house without laying a foundation. You can't get a job without knowing how to sign your name. And you certainly can't climb a mountain without first sweating in the foothills. In the National Federation of the Blind we talk about the importance of setting goals that are based on high expectations for ourselves, but these dreams will forever remain mere dreams if we can't muster the guts and determination to work toward them.
Switching on the gas, I inched forward and began feeling inside the oven. Very quickly I located the source of the gas and drew the lighted match to it, keeping my head well out of the oven. Like the sound of a roaring crowd, the flame ignited. This time my shout was one of joy. In great satisfaction I cooked the best meal that I had ever eaten.
[PHOTO: Portrait of Allan Nichols. CAPTION: Allan Nichols, Federationist from Wyoming.]
DIABETICS, DON'T GIVE UP ON BRAILLE
by Allan Nichols
From the Associate Editor: This article is reprinted from the Fall, 1990, edition of The Voice of the Diabetic, the quarterly publication of the Diabetics Division of the National Federation of the Blind. Allan Nichols is an active member of the National Federation of the Blind of Wyoming. He is also a determined and courageous man--the very stuff of a good Federationist. His recognition of the importance of Braille and his battle to learn it will hearten anyone engaged in the same struggle. Here is Allan's story as he tells it:
If you are a long-term insulin-dependent diabetic like me, and you have attempted to learn Braille, you may have said to yourself, "Oh, I can't learn Braille, my fingers aren't sensitive enough." Unless there is a substantial loss of feeling in one's fingertips, there is hope for some diabetics, at least, to use Braille. I can't speak for everyone, but I can relay my own experience and pass along some tips which may help those with this problem.
Long-term diabetics often have a condition known as "diabetic neuropathy," a circulatory problem causing many of the complications that we diabetics often encounter. Neuropathy causes not only insensitivity in the fingertips and toes, but also blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and other related medical problems. I have been a diabetic for over 25 years and have suffered several of these complications.
In 1964 at the age of 13 I was diagnosed as having diabetes. It wasn't until I was twenty-two years old that I began noticing the first complications.
The first, diabetic retinopathy, began with a hemorrhage in my left eye. Then four years later, after some photocoagulation treatments on both eyes, including laser and xenon light, I lost most of my vision.
I was first introduced to Braille in July, 1978, at the Allan H. Stuart Camp for the Blind and Visually Handicapped located on Casper Mountain near Casper, Wyoming. Camp lasted for two weeks, and I was able to learn grade one Braille, as well as other alternative techniques of blindness.
At that time I had reasonably good feeling in my fingertips and was able to pick up this skill fairly quickly even though I didn't think so at the time. My expectations of my ability to learn Braille in such a short time were a bit naive and inflated.
At camp I used jumbo Braille, which enabled me to understand the makeup of the cells more easily. Later I was introduced to the regular-sized Braille letters, with which I thought I would have trouble. Looking back, it seems to have been just a matter of experience.
At that time I didn't see the true benefits of learning Braille, other than giving me the ability to play cards again, which I had missed doing with my wife and friends. About once a week, we had gotten together just to unwind and have fun with our card games.
After I learned to read grade one Braille, I slowly began increasing my reading speed on the cards until I was able to read nearly as fast as I had before I lost my eyesight. However, my main motivation was still little more than the ability to play cards.
After being blind for about ten months, I began having problems with swelling in my ankles, a sign of kidney disease, as I found out later. By April, 1979, I was rather sick due to kidney failure. By June I had gained twenty-five pounds from fluid retention due to my kidneys' inability to function properly.
Looking at it in retrospect, it is scary to think that I almost died of congestive heart failure. This condition is caused by the improper filtering of blood through the kidneys.
During this time I did little more than exist, although I was running a small coffee shop. My regular working hours were from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; I worked only in the mornings on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and dialyzed in the afternoons, 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
It was very taxing on my system, and I hated the whole regime--the restricted diet, the constant fatigue, the severe cramping while on dialysis--not to mention the fact that my doctors treated me like a child. Also, I gained too much weight between dialysis sessions.
After almost dying a couple of times because my blood sugar and potassium levels were too high, I decided that there must be a better way to live than the way I was doing it.
After some careful investigation and evaluation, I went, in June, 1980, for a kidney transplant. I told myself and several other people that it would be better to die on the operating table in the pursuit of a good kidney than to continue the agonizing way I was living. It turned out to be one of the wisest decisions that I have ever made. If I had it to do over again, even with the problems that I encountered then and since, I would go through it all again. Despite some complications after the transplant, I now had a good working kidney. And, for the first time in a long while, I felt human again.
Even anti-rejection medication for the transplant was not without its own complications. Shortly after my operation, I noticed that I was losing the feeling in my toes. Despite this concern, I was able to put my life back together. However, about five weeks after leaving Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, I had to return for three weeks when one of my old kidneys became infected; it had to be removed.
At this point I had several complications which probably reduced my circulation. First, my diabetes continued to be a factor. Second, I had just spent a year on renal dialysis with all of its complications, not to mention all of the surgeries involving anesthesia and pain killers. Finally, there was a new difficulty of which I was ignorant for several years. That was the problem of the anti-rejection medications, prednisolone and Immuran. Prednisolone, which is similar to the steroid prednisone, was given to me. I was the first patient to use it to prevent kidney rejection. It offered the benefit of preventing calcium from leaking out of my bones.
There is, however, a complication with these drugs. Recently I have read several articles about transplantation in The Voice of the Diabetic, and I discovered that we transplant patients have a greater risk of amputation.
Sure enough, I was one of the unfortunate ones to be faced with not one but two amputations of my feet, which developed after two separate incidents of infected sores.
The first one took place in 1981, when my right foot was amputated. The next one was in 1987, beginning with a series of amputations of the toes of my left foot, resulting in the loss of my leg up to about six inches below my knee. I now have a matched set of stumps and use two artificial legs.
During these health problems I had a lot of time on my hands. Since the coffee shop where I had been working closed due to its poor location, I decided that with all of this time I would teach myself to use grade two Braille.
I got some beginning textbooks from Services for the Visually Handicapped here in Cheyenne and began to work on it without an instructor. The pace was slow because of the problems associated with my neuropathy, and I was only able to work on it for short periods of time, before the Braille characters would seem to mush together.
If I hadn't had so much empty time, I might have given up on the whole project. But I wanted to be able to read some magazines I had received from National Geographic and Guideposts.
I found that I had to have patience with myself so that I could learn Braille. I made several false starts. There were times when I would read a lot and times I would not read at all. But I began to realize what advantages reading and writing Braille offered.
I began to use the slate and stylus which were given to me at the Casper Mountain Camp, where I had first learned to use Braille. During this period I used Braille for little more than phone numbers and short notes. All this time on my hands also allowed me to think, especially about how I wished I could be working at a satisfying job again. I knew that if I was ever to work again, especially in a satisfying job, I would have to learn the alternative techniques of coping with blindness. Braille would have to be high on the list of priorities so that, when I went back to college, I could take my own notes. At that point I was introduced to the students and staff of the Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB) in Denver at a convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Wyoming.
I had been a member of the NFB since 1983, but I didn't really appreciate all of the benefits that I could gain from such an affiliation.
Talking with Diane McGeorge, Director of the Colorado Center for the Blind and President of the Colorado affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind, and others convinced me that I could gain the necessary skills that I needed to compete on equal terms with my sighted counterparts at college and in the job market.
It took a lot of haggling with the Wyoming rehabilitation agency counselors; but, in February of 1989, I began attending the Colorado Center for the Blind in Denver.
The changes made in the lives of those fortunate enough to attend such a facility are dramatic! Besides the training in cane travel, daily living, Braille, and using the computer for the first time, we engaged in special activities such as cross-country skiing and a six-week course in technical rock climbing.
I began feeling good about myself as a blind person. Using Braille in everyday life began to make some sense.
I began using it to make grocery lists, to balance a checkbook, and to take messages at the apartments and at the Center. Using Braille more increased my reading speed.
I was really enjoying my training at the CCB, especially attending the convention of the National Federation of the Blind, held in July, 1989, in Denver.
My whole world came crashing down at the close of the convention, however. This was partly due to the walking I had done during the convention and partly due to the heat during this time. (It was over 100 degrees for most of the week.) At this time I developed a sore on my right leg where my stump was rubbing on the inside of my artificial leg. The sore became infected, and soon I was unable to put on my right prosthetic leg. I ended up having to spend more time in the hospital and had several setbacks before I could resume my training at the CCB.
Again, I had more time on my hands. I had to use a wheelchair or a walker to get around. This time I was determined to make the best use of my time by earnestly working on my Braille.
To become more proficient in Braille, I began to use the Perkins Brailler. To keep up both my Braille skills and my spirits, I began writing some original jokes for my family and the students and staff at the Colorado Center.
I found that using the Perkins Brailler was a lot faster than using the slate and stylus, although they both have their uses at different times.
I also got some Braille material to read, although there is precious little found in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I read my first two books just for pleasure, All Quiet on the Western Front and The Bridge at Toko-Ri.
I made some discoveries about how I could increase my reading speed and comprehension. These included making sure that my diabetes was under control, getting regular exercise (especially before trying to read), having the Braille material at the right level to facilitate circulation, and having my fingers warm enough.
The most important of these was keeping my blood sugar properly regulated, for my most effective reading was done when a desirable blood sugar was reached. I found that keeping my arms at a slightly downward slant while reading improved blood circulation to my hands. I also found that reading in a warm room or warming up my hands after being outside during cold weather helped me with character recognition.
My leg finally healed, enabling me to continue my training at the CCB. So in mid-October of 1989, I returned to the Center to finish my training there.
I believe that this whole experience has given me more of an appreciation for the abilities I possess instead of worrying about any diminished capacity that I might have.
I graduated from the Colorado Center for the Blind on December 8, 1989, with my next step to be the continuation of my college training.
Presently, I am attending Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. I plan to complete my bachelor's degree at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and eventually work toward becoming a marriage and family counselor.
It has been my experience while taking my psychology and computer courses that Braille is an indispensable tool for me, even though I do use the talking computer for some applications.
When it comes to taking my own notes, Braille is quite valuable in the learning process. I have discovered that just the process of typing Braille notes from the textbook has enabled me to comprehend the material more easily than I would have done if I were merely listening.
Both my Braille and computer keyboarding skills have improved while I have been back in college. I have not been tested on my typing speed lately, but the true test has been using both skills effectively and expediently. I have found that I can increase my reading speed and remember all of the abbreviations which used to give me trouble.
My typing from my computer textbook alone has become quite a voluminous pile of notes.
Another benefit of using the Perkins Brailler has been an increase in my reading speed as my typing speed increases. I believe that the two are related.
I don't know how fast I can get in my reading and writing of Braille, but I know that I wouldn't want to return to the way I was before I learned how to use this valuable tool. I would urge any blind person to use Braille if at all possible. Especially if you are a diabetic and have some feeling in your fingers, be sure you use it or you will lose it.
PHOTO: Portrait of Mildred Rivera. CAPTION: Mildred Rivera, Federationist from California.]
HERE'S HOW IT'S DONE
From the Editor: The following correspondence is self-explanatory and should encourage the rest of us to do likewise:
San Francisco, California
December 3, 1990
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
Enclosed please find a copy of a letter I wrote to Cornell University's Uris Library regarding Walking Alone and Marching Together. As you will note, it is dated November 16, 1990. I have recently received a response, dated November 25, 1990, that the Uris Library will be purchasing our book. It is amazing how such little effort resulted in such swift, positive action.
I felt that these letters would be helpful in giving other Federationists ideas for marketing our book. It is always gratifying to do things that will help change what it means to be blind in this country.
Mildred A. Rivera
San Francisco, California
November 16, 1990
Mr. Yoram Szekely
Ithaca, New York
Dear Mr. Szekely:
I am writing to recommend to your library the purchase of the book entitled Walking Alone and Marching Together. It is a documentary of the organized blind movement in the United States from 1940 to 1990. As an alumnus of your
University, I was always impressed by the vast amount of diverse literature that was available on campus. Unfortunately, this was not true with regard to material that accurately portrayed the blind in America. Now that there is a chance to change this unfortunate circumstance, I urge you to purchase this book. It is written by a well-known and respected author, Floyd Matson, and is over 800 pages long. Walking Alone and Marching Together contains essential facts and material left out of virtually every other book written about the blind. I have purchased this book for my personal library and have found it to be a valuable resource.
Enclosed for your convenience is a short description of the book and an order form. I look forward to hearing that you have chosen to add this book to your fine collection.
Mildred A. Rivera, Esq.
Graduate Cornell School of Industrial Labor Relations 1986
Ithaca, New York
November 25, 1990
Dear Ms. Rivera:
Thank you for your letter of November 16, 1990, suggesting that Uris Library acquire a copy of the book Walking Alone and Marching Together by Floyd Matson. We appreciate your taking the time to bring this work to our attention and will be ordering a copy within the next couple of weeks.
Yoram Szekely, Director
Uris Undergraduate Library
[PHOTO: Portrait of Jerry Drake. CAPTION: Jerry Drake (1918-1990).]
JERRY DRAKE DIES
From the Editor: On December 2, 1990, Jerry Drake of California had a massive heart attack. On December 12 he died without ever regaining consciousness. His death brought many memories to me, for he was one of my early students at the California Orientation Center for the Blind in the 1950s. More than that, he continued as a lifelong friend and colleague until the time of his death.
Jerry was a quiet man, but he was steady and strong of will. He was not belligerent, but nobody was going to push him around. He had the right kind of philosophy about blindness--and he cared. He was not flashy, nor was he a great orator--but he made continuing contributions, contributions of the sort that few make and all will miss. He was of that solid unshakable phalanx which constitutes the body, the heart, and the soul of the National Federation of the Blind.
In a letter dated January 10, 1991, Sharon Gold (the President of the NFB of California) said:
Dear Dr. Jernigan:
Enclosed is a copy of the remarks I prepared and presented at the services for Jerry Drake, which were held in the Little Church of the Flowers at Forest Lawn Mortuary in Glendale on December 15. I am also enclosing a copy of a letter from Ollie Cantos, which Sheryl read during the services at the request of the family and then placed in Jerry's hands.
Two other people spoke during the services, in addition to the minister. They were Joy Smith, the President of the Santa Barbara County Chapter of the NFB of California and a long-time friend and colleague of Jerry's, and Hazel tenBroek, who represented the National Office.
On Friday, December 14, the Los Angeles City Council was adjourned in honor of Jerry upon the motion of Councilwoman Joy Picus. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also adjourned in memory of Jerry on December 18. In addition, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley recognized Jerry by issuing a City of Los Angeles document in his memory.
Sharon Gold, President
National Federation of the Blind of California
Eulogy for Jerrold Drake
December 15, 1990
by Sharon Gold
We have gathered here today to pay tribute to our brother and colleague, Jerrold Drake. The blind of California and this nation will miss Jerry, but we must not spend undue time mourning his death since Jerry would not want us to do so. Instead, Jerry would want us to hold an NFB chapter meeting, to get together for an evening of Federation fellowship, or to go out and find young blind people to introduce to our movement.
Jerry was a reasonably young man when he lost his sight. It was in the early 1950's and Jerry was working as a truck driver to support his family. After losing his sight, he went to the California Orientation Center for the Blind where he received rehabilitation training in preparation for returning home to again become a contributing member of society.
At OCB, Jerry met Kenneth Jernigan, a young blind instructor at the Center who introduced Jerry to the philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind. While at the Center, Jerry learned the skills of blindness. He learned to read and write Braille, to use a typewriter, to cook for himself, to travel independently on streets and public transportation using a white cane, and to understand the laws relevant to the blind.
From Kenneth Jernigan, Jerry learned that blindness need not stand in the way of chores sometimes thought to be done only by the sighted. This philosophy was instilled in the OCB students when Mr. Jernigan led the students to the Berkeley home of Jacobus tenBroek, the President of the National Federation of the Blind, where there was a need to cut down large trees and to clear land in preparation for construction. Jerry frequently talked of those days when he sawed down trees and split logs.
Unfortunately, when Jerry completed the rehabilitation training program at the Orientation Center for the Blind, Social Security laws were such that if a blind person worked and earned even a mere pittance (well below the poverty level), he would lose all benefits and could never regain these benefits at some time in the future. Jerry therefore could not afford to go to work. Thus, he set out to learn everything that he could about the laws pertaining to Social Security and other public benefits for the blind. It became his mission in life to help other blind persons.
For many years, Jerry traveled all over California, using public transportation and serving as a National Federation of the Blind volunteer advocate for blind persons to assure that these persons received the services and meager benefit payments to which they were entitled. In this capacity, Jerry represented blind people in literally hundreds and hundreds of case reviews and administrative hearings before the Social Security Administration and other public agencies. Jerry was responsible for bringing about the correction of many mistakenly denied Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, and other public benefit payments, and he stood against falsely claimed overpayments.
One case that Jerry helped to initiate and for which he served as a consultant was the case of Charles Livermore vs. the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This case, which pertains to the deeming of spousal income to a blind or disabled recipient, was won in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. As a result of the court order, on February 11, 1985, the Social Security Administration issued to Supplemental Security Income recipients the Livermore Notice, which was entitled "We May Owe You More Money." Today the decision in the Livermore case remains the law of the land when computing benefit payments for blind and disabled persons who have working spouses.
Through his work as a member of the National Federation of the Blind, Jerry helped to press for the passage of the 1977 Amendments to the Social Security Act. These amendments permitted persons receiving Social Security benefits to become successfully employed with reasonable salaries before benefits are terminated. The 1977 Amendments to the Social Security Act also made it possible for a blind person to regain benefits under specific circumstances. In other words, these amendments made it possible for persons such as Jerry to seek employment and to become self-supporting. Unfortunately, by the time the amendments were signed into law, Jerry had reached the age where the new laws were of no help to him. However, Jerry continued to serve as an advocate to assure that the amendments were properly applied to younger blind persons.
Jerry's experience and abilities and his knowledge of the laws pertaining to persons receiving benefit payments caused me to appoint him as the representative of the National Federation of the Blind of California to serve on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. Jerry held this position for four years and, at the time of his death, he served not only as our representative to this Board but as a member of the Board's Finance Committee. Just last month Jerry traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he represented the Los Angeles Legal Aid Foundation at a national legal aid symposium.
For thirty-five years Jerry tirelessly and unselfishly served his fellow blind. It was not unusual for Jerry to be at the bus stop at 6:00 a.m. ready to travel for two or three hours one way to help a blind person. Jerry also spent hours traveling to NFB chapter meetings and providing guidance to young or inexperienced chapter officers. Sometimes Jerry took an active role in the chapter meeting while other times he provided quiet support.
Jerry, your understanding and loving concern for others brought you to touch the lives of many people. In one way or another, you have helped all of us to grow. We can all take a page from your "Book of Life" for you lived by the notion that "It is better to give than to receive."
From the Associate Editor: By February the New Year's resolutions to lose a few pounds have usually worn a little thin even if we have not. Then, smack in the middle of the month, comes Valentine's Day with its sweets and gifts to loved ones. Here are some recipes suitable for the occasion. Prepare them with good cheer.
APPLE COUNTRY COFFEE CAKE
by Barbara Pierce
This recipe has many virtues, not the least of which is that it freezes well and defrosts beautifully, making the cook look good whenever it is served.
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
1 can apple pie filling or 1 recipe scalloped apples (see note)
1/2 cup reserved apples
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Method: In a large heavy saucepan melt the margarine and, stirring constantly, add the grated cheese over low heat until cheese melts. Stir in sour cream, 1/3 cup sugar, egg, and salt. Dissolve the yeast in the water and add to sour cream mixture. Be sure that neither the water nor the sour cream mixture is hot enough to kill the yeast (over 110 degrees). With a wooden spoon or an electric mixer beat in the flour until dough is stiff enough to knead. Then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding only enough flour to make the dough smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large buttered bowl and generously butter the top. Cover the bowl with wax paper and a tea towel and put it in a warm place until dough doubles in bulk, about an hour and a half.
Punch the dough down and divide it in half. With a rolling pin roll one half of the dough about 1/2 inch thick. Cut 15 circles with a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Roll the other half of the dough and the scraps from the first half into a 13 x 9 rectangle and place in a greased 13 x 9 pan. Spread the dough in the pan with the apple pie filling or the scalloped apples, reserving a half cup for the topping. Arrange dough circles on the surface of the apples in 5 rows of 3, butter the circles, cover the pan, and put it in a warm place until doubled, about one and a half hours. Keep an eye on the pan; with active yeast this process will take less time. Bake the coffee cake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Stir topping ingredients together and at the end of the baking time put a generous dollop of topping on each circle. Return the coffee cake to the oven for 5 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
Note: As I received this recipe it called for canned apple pie filling, which works acceptably. But through the years I have come to prefer home-made scalloped apples instead. These are easy to make and delicious as an accompaniment to pork or chicken. For use in the coffeecake, generously butter a 3-qt. casserole dish and fill it with peeled apples that have been sliced about 3/4 of an inch thick. Pour over 1/4 cup melted margarine or butter and toss with 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on the tartness of the apples) and 1/4 to 1/3 cup flour. Summer apples are more liquid when they cook and require more flour. Be sure to add a generous amount of cinnamon to the flour and sugar--at least a teaspoon. Cover the dish and cook in a 375-degree oven for about a half hour or in the microwave until half done. Uncover the apples and finish cooking in the oven. Apples are done when they feel soft when stirred. Cool the apples before using them in this recipe.
STRAWBERRY ALMOND BARS
by Sue Drapinski
Sue Drapinski is the Treasurer of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan. Everyone who has tasted these cookies agrees that they are something special.
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oats (quick-cooking)
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter (or oleo)
1/2 cup jam (strawberry, raspberry, peach, or apricot)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2/3 cup slivered almonds
Method: Mix together the first 4 ingredients until crumbly, and set aside 2 cups of the mixture. Press the rest evenly across the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Stir together the jam with the almond extract and spread evenly on the crust. Next mix almonds with the reserved crumbly mixture and spread evenly across the top,pressing gently. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely and cut into bars.
by Gail Bryant
Gail Bryant is an active member of the Columbia, Missouri, chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. Her husband Ed edits The Voice of the Diabetic, the publication of the NFB Diabetics Division, so her contributions to these pages usually keep to the dietary straight and narrow. This delicious fudge is an exception.
24 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
12 ounces white baking chocolate
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Method: Heat milk and chocolate together in microwave or on top of stove. Add remaining ingredients. Place in greased 9 x 13- inch pan. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight preferably. Makes about 4 pounds of sinfully delicious, delightful fudge.
by Ronald Greene
Ronald Greene is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa. In addition to being a fine cook, he is principally responsible for enabling Iowa Federationists to participate in the Boone, Iowa, annual Pufferbilly Days Parade.Ingredients:
Method: Cream sugar, shortening, egg, and vanilla. Add sifted dry ingredients and form into balls the size of walnuts. Dip top half of ball into water, then into granulated sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Press down in center of ball with finger. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
by Ronald Greene
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup strong hot coffee
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Method: Blend shortening, sugar, and egg. Add hot coffee and stir well. Sift dry ingredients and add them to the shortening, sugar, and egg. Add raisins and nuts and mix well. Pour mixture into a jelly roll pan to the thickness of 1/4-inch and bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and while still warm spread with icing made of 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and enough hot water to make mixture of spreading consistency. Food color can be added to this frosting as a festive touch. Cut into squares to serve.
BANANA SPLIT CAKE
by Gail Coppel
Gail Coppel is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina.
2 sticks margarine, room temperature
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup cherries, chopped or halves
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 9-ounce Cool Whip
1/2 cup coconut
1 #2 can crushed pineapple
Method: Mix 1 stick margarine and 2 cups graham cracker crumbs and pat into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Beat the following no less than 15 minutes: 1 stick margarine, 2 eggs, 2 cups confectioner's sugar. Spread this mixture over the graham cracker crumbs and cover with sliced bananas. Drain and spread pineapple over bananas. Cover with Cool Whip. Sprinkle cherries, coconut and pecans on top. Refrigerate overnight.
Sam Gleese, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi, writes: The Mississippi affiliate is pleased to announce the birth of chapter number two for the year 1990. On August 11, 1990, in the presence of members from the Jackson and Hazlehurst chapters, the Warren County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi was organized. The officers are as follows: Tommie L. William, President; William Rider, Vice President; Lavion Dillon, Secretary; Evelyn Moody, Treasurer; Exell McDonald, Secretary-Treasurer; and L. C. Holmes, Jr., Board Member.
We give you the following letter without comment:
November 4, 1990
Dear President Maurer:
The following can only be considered as hearsay evidence, having been told to me. On October 25, 1881, the "shoot-out" at the O.K. Corral took place; 109 years later I was born. A person of my tender years--days--cannot really be expected to draw any significance from these two events. What I do know is that my name is Edward Paul Dressell, Jr., and I was born at 11:49 a.m. on Thursday, October 25, 1990. I weighed in at 5 pounds, 9 ounces, and was 18 inches long. I am told that I was born with a hair lip and cleft palate and will have to undergo a series of operations but that all should be taken care of by the time I am 9 months old. From what I understand, this is part of the Federation mystique--experiencing severe problems then going about the business of overcoming them. Sounds like my kind of organization. Doubtless you will be hearing from me in years to come. Best wishes.
Edward Paul Dressell, Jr.
Michael Baillif, President of the Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind, says:
The Student Division of the National Federation of the Blind will host its second annual National Conference of Blind Students prior to this year's Washington Seminar. Everyone is invited to join us Friday evening, February 1, for hospitality and socializing. Saturday's full agenda will include presentations on civil rights, attitudes about blindness, and chapter development. The conference promises to be both philosophically and socially stimulating. Our festivities will be capped off by an eventful banquet on Saturday evening. Students attending the conference will additionally have the opportunity of participating in the Washington Seminar and playing an active role in meeting the legislative challenges of the National Federation of the Blind. The prevailing Washington Seminar hotel rates will commence on Friday evening, February 1. For more information contact Diane McGeorge at 1608 Steele Street, Denver, Colorado 80206; (303) 778-1130; or Michael Baillif at: P. O. Box 8A, Yale Station, New Haven, Connecticut 06520; (203) 436-2611. This is an event not to be missed. See you in Washington, D.C.!
Janet Schwartz, Secretary of the Tempe-Mesa Chapter, writes as follows: "On Saturday, November 17, 1990, the Tempe-Mesa Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona elected the following officers: President, Debra Newman; Vice President, Susan Schaffer; Secretary, Janet Schwartz; and Treasurer, Norman Gardner. Two board positions were also filled-- Mark Feliz and Ruth Swenson."
We recently received the following letter, which says in part:
"As a blind student, I have just completed my first semester at Palmer College of Chiropractic. I have found that many of my texts written by the instructors are available in computer format either by the professor himself or through him in the form of the printer's computer file. Then, by working closely with my school's computer center, I am able to download into my Braille 'n Speak and then save it in another format. I am interested in finding other blind chiropractic students and blind practicing chiropractors. I am also happy to correspond with or talk to anyone who might not have thought of the career of chiropractic but who is interested. Please write in any format to: Duane Hudspath, 631 East 15th Street, Davenport, Iowa 52803."
The Internal Revenue Service has asked us to carry the following announcement: "Did you know free tax assistance is available evenings and weekends? It is a community and IRS effort through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Call 1 (800) 829-1040 for the VITA site nearest you."
**Diabetics Chapter Organized:
Donovan Cooper of California writes as follows: On November 1, 1990, we organized the Diabetics Chapter, NFB of California. Ed Bryant tells me that, although other states have diabetic divisions or diabetic affairs committees, California is the first state to have organized a diabetics chapter. The following officers and board members were elected for two-year terms: Donovan Cooper, President; Donna Siebert, Vice President; Matt Millspaugh, Treasurer; Adonna Frankel, Secretary; and Betty Hendricks, Board Member.
Arthur L. Williams, Treasurer of the Pueblo Chapter of the NFB of Colorado, writes as follows: The NFB, Pueblo Chapter, held its annual election of new officers and board members for 1991. The election was held at the regular November meeting, and elected to office were: Kay Howard, President; Leroy Quintana, Vice President; Triva Bright, Secretary; Catherine Tonne, Treasurer; David Kovach, First Board Chairman; Dorothy Keen, Second Board Chairman; and Theresa Apodaca, Third Board Chairman. The outgoing officers and board members were given a large vote of thanks for their hard work during the past year.
**Used Equipment Clearinghouse:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement: "I am keeping a list of items in good condition (slate, Braille writers, etc.) which blind persons wish to sell. I am also keeping a list of aids and appliances which people would like to purchase. If you would like to buy or sell, please write to Barbara Mattson, 134 Hall Street, Apartment A, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29302; or call (803) 585-7323."
**Mississippi on the Move:
Sam Gleese, the energetic President of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi, writes as follows: On November 3, 1990, the Mississippi affiliate took a trip to the southern tip of the state. The purpose of the trip was to organize the Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi. And now for 1990 the number is 3. In the presence of the members of the Jackson and Hazlehurst chapters, the Gulf Coast Chapter was organized with the following officers: George Roberts, President; Billy Hallman, Vice President; Kate Roberts, Secretary; Mabel Witherspoon, Treasurer; and Diana Hallman, Board Member.
**North American Van Lines:
In the spring of 1989 we entered into an agreement with North American Van Lines regarding members of the National Federation of the Blind who use North American to move household articles from one place to another in the 48 lower, contiguous states (that is, not including Alaska and Hawaii). Recently there has been a change in this agreement which increases the reduction in moving rates available to our members. Previously, if you arranged for North American Van Lines to move, you got a contract that let you move with 35% off the normal moving costs and 25% off the normal storage costs if you were a Federationist. (There are published tariffs that say how much moving companies should charge for moving materials from one place to another by truck. The Interstate Commerce Commission establishes the rates.) Our new agreement provides for a 40% rate reduction. In addition to the rate reduction, North American Van Lines will continue to make a contribution to the National Federation of the Blind equal to 2% of all costs of moving for those who use this program.
If you want to contract with North American Van Lines to move your materials, you should call Cindy Rupples at 1-800-873- 2673. Tell her that you are a member of the National Federation of the Blind, that you know about the agreement between the National Federation of the Blind and North American Van Lines, and that you want to sign up to get moved. Then remind her that 2% of the moving costs will be contributed to the National Federation of the Blind.
In the January, 1991, issue we printed an announcement about the availability of a wonderful new cookbook from the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico. The book is still available and is still worth purchasing, but David Andrews is no longer the person to contact. He has now become Director of the National Braille and Technology Center for the Blind and has moved to Baltimore as noted elsewhere in this issue. Simply Simpatico may be ordered by contacting Chris Boone, 10517 San Gabriel Road, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87111, (505) 275-7645. Checks in the amount of $10 for a computer disk copy or $15 for a Braille copy should be made payable to the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico.
In the January, 1991, issue we reported that Steve Benson, member of the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind and President of the NFB of Illinois, recently underwent surgery. He now writes the following note to Monitor readers:
During my recent hospitalization, December 1 through December 19, 1990, I received good wishes from many Federationists from all over the country. To each of you who took the time to call or write or send some wonderful gift, thank you. I appreciate your thoughtfulness very, very much. I am home now and in the midst of a prolonged--at least for me prolonged-- recovery. The doctor says that I am doing well, and I expect to be back at full speed within a few short weeks. Thanks again to all of you who expressed your concern.
**National JOB Seminar Planned:
Lorraine Rovig, Director of the Job Opportunities for the Blind (JOB) Program, reports that JOB will hold its 1991 National Seminar on Sunday, June 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the New Orleans Hyatt Regency Hotel. Registration will take place at the door beginning at 12:00 noon. The seminar is free.
JOB is a joint program of the National Federation of the Blind and the U.S. Department of Labor. Anyone who is legally blind and looking for work in the United States is invited to register to receive our free nationwide job-hunter's magazine on cassette as well as our other services. Some of these are available to agencies and individuals assisting blind job seekers. Some services are also available to employers interested in hiring competent blind workers. Call 1-800-638-7518 to register or to get more information on JOB.
The national JOB seminar is planned with the blind job seeker in mind. If you have some of the following concerns, it is for you:
* Do you ask yourself, "What job can a blind person do?"
* Do you want to ask direct questions about the techniques that allow one to be competitive and successful in real jobs?
* Do you want to meet someone who successfully uses only blind techniques, or do you need advice on practical ways of combining low vision ones with them? Do you need to know how to plan now for the future when you may have less sight and your low vision techniques won't work for you?
* Do you need tips on dealing with interviewers or employers?
* Do you want to meet legally blind scientists, secretaries, mechanics, telephone operators, counselors, salesmen, psychologists, English teachers, and representatives of many other occupations?
* Do you know anyone who is blind and has a good job? Do you wonder how you can find a job for yourself?
* Do you have questions about voice output and Braille output computers or the Arkenstone Reader as compared to the Kurzweil Personal Reader? Do you need ideas for funding the purchase of these or other useful aids?
The Job Opportunities for the Blind national seminar is three exciting, down-to-earth, practical, idea-laden hours of information for blind people seeking work. Join us. If you can't make it to convention, call JOB to receive the cassette copy. We'll help you increase your chances of getting the job of your choice.
**Diabetic Technology Lending Library:
We recently received the following news release from BLIND, Inc. (the NFB's rehabilitation center in Minneapolis, Minnesota), which says in part:
BLIND, Inc. has received a grant to open a diabetic technology lending library and instructional service. This will greatly improve services to blind diabetics throughout the state. The Independent Management for Blind Diabetics project will be offered throughout rural and metropolitan Minnesota. The STAR Grant (Systems of Technology to Achieve Results) will allow us to purchase equipment to loan to newly blinded diabetics. The technology will include audio glucose meters for testing blood sugars, systems for measuring insulin, and other home health care aids. Participants will be referred by their State Services for the Blind counselor. For more information call or write BLIND, Inc. at: 33 South 5th Street, Suite 101, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402; (612) 339-8401. Ask for Janet Lee or Ronda Del Boccio.