Vol. 41, No. 10 November 1998
Barbara Pierce, Editor
Published in inkprint, in Braille, on cassette, and
the World Wide Web and FTP on the Internet
THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
Marc Maurer, President
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
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Web Page address: http//www.nfb.org
Letters to the President, address changes,
subscription requests, orders for NFB literature
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should be sent to the National Office.
subscriptions cost the Federation about twenty-five
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requested, to cover the cost. Donations should be made
payable to the National Federation of the Blind and sent to:
National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE
BLIND IS NOT AN ORGANIZATION SPEAKING FOR THE
BLINDIT IS THE BLIND SPEAKING FOR THEMSELVES.
Table of Contents
Kenneth Jernigan, November 13, 1926, to October 12, 1998
by Barbara Pierce
U.S. Public School Eucation of the Blind in the Early Twentieth Century:
One Pupil's Account
by Jana L. Schroeder and Martha B. Hays
North Carolina Agency Survives Surprise from Legislature
by Herman Gruber
by Matt Maurer
NFB Scholarship Winner Educates the Press
A Life-changing Experience
by Diana Knox
The 1999 National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program
Bunsen Burners and Chemical Reactions
by Susan Povinelli
Independence and the Blind Child in a Mainstreamed Education
by Denise Mackenstadt
My Hols: For Sir John Wilson, Sound, Smell, and Touch Are His Compass
by John Hatt
New Talking Blood Glucose Monitor and Insulin Identifier
by Ed Bryant
NMSVH Settlement Announced
Daddy Read Me
by Bonnie Peterson
The Wall-to-Wall Thanksgiving
by Barbara Pierce
Braille Monitor, November, 1998 Complete Issue
LEAD PHOTO: *** Elizabeth Malby/Courtesy of the Baltimore Sun
DESCRIPTION: The photograph shows the hearse slowly moving through the cemetery with a dense mass of mourners following.
CAPTION: In Thanksgiving for a Life of Love and Service:
At a little after seven on Monday evening, October 12, 1998, Kenneth Jernigan, deeply loved leader of the National Federation of the Blind for nearly fifty years, died quietly at his home in Baltimore. His family and several of his closest colleagues were at his bedside, and the thoughts and prayers of thousands of Federationists and friends from around the world enfolded him at the close of his gallant fight against the lung and bone cancer that ultimately took his life.
The funeral took place at St. Joseph's Monastery Church in Baltimore, and his body was buried at Loudon Park Cemetery on Thursday, October 15. Hundreds of grieving friends gathered for the service and walked in procession or rode buses to the grave side for the brief interment service. The procession is pictured above.
Those who could not be present at the funeral should note that a memorial service will take place on December 5 at 1:00 p.m. at the Omni Hotel, 101 W. Fayette Street, (410) 752-1100. Everyone able to come is invited to take part in this celebration of a life lived in passionate dedication to the struggle to improve conditions for blind people everywhere and to educate the public about the abilities of the blind.
The January issue of the Braille Monitor will be devoted to our recollections of this remarkable man whom we loved and who offered his intelligence, experience, imagination, and love to change the world and set blind people free. We invite all those wishing to contribute their thoughts and recollections to do so. We can't possibly publish everything we receive, but part of Dr. Jernigan's gift was his ability to make friends and share interests with all sorts of people wherever he went. In this memorial issue we hope to capture both tiny glimpses of his work and the broad sweep of his contributions over the decades and continents. This invitation is extended to blind and sighted children and adults who have known and been affected by Dr. Jernigan's life and friendship.
If you are moved to writeand we must request that contributions be in print or Braille rather than on tapeplease do so as soon as possible. Send letters and reflections to National Federation of the Blind memorial issue, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.]
[PHOTO #1 DESCRIPTION: The casket stands on a bier in the living room of the Jernigan home. A crucifix can be seen behind it, and two chalices stand on the closed lid. CAPTION: Dr. Jernigan's casket is pictured in the Jernigan living room shortly before the arrival of the hearse.]
[PHOTO #2 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: The pallbearers and honorary pallbearers stand in the Jernigan dining room. Each man wears a tie purchased by the Jernigans last fall in France. Pictured left to right are Herbert Magin, Mohymen Saddeek, Charles Cook, John Cheadle, Anthony Cobb, Marc Maurer, Allen Harris, Lloyd Jernigan, Donald Capps, and Wayne Wilhelm.]
[PHOTO #3 DESCRIPTION: The Jernigan home, driveway, and gate can be seen in this photograph. The hearse is in the driveway, David and Dianna Maurer are standing near the gate with their flags, and Larry McKeever stands beside a huge tree in the driveway. CAPTION: The Jernigan home the morning of the funeral.]
[PHOTO 4# DESCRIPTION: Mrs. Jernigan, President and Mrs. Maurer and Lloyd and Mary Jernigan stand in the foreground of this picture. Other Federationists and friends can also be seen. CAPTION: Family and friends gather for the walk to the church.]
[PHOTO #5 DESCRIPTION: David Maurer, holding the American flag; Dianna holding the NFB flag; and Larry McKeever, acting as marshal, are pictured in the foreground. The hearse is immediately behind them, and the rest of the walkers can be seen in the background. CAPTION: Mrs. Jernigan, family members, and friends walked from the Jernigans' home to the church, following the hearse. David Maurer carried the American flag. His sister Dianna carried the NFB flag, and Larry McKeever accompanied the flag bearers.]
[PHOTO #6 DESCRIPTION: The casket is being carried by men, each using one hand, enabling several to use their white canes. The hearse is visible at the left, and the pillars of the church can be seen to the right. CAPTION: The pallbearers and one official from the funeral home carry the casket into the church.]
[PHOTO #7 DESCRIPTION: This picture was taken from the back of the church looking down the center isle. The casket is in place at the head of the aisle, and worshippers can be seen in the pews on both sides of the nave. CAPTION: The nave of St. Joseph's Monastery Church]
[PHOTO #8 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: Marie and Tony Cobb stand at the lectern as he reads the Twenty-third Psalm. Craig Gildner is seated in the background.]
[PHOTO #9 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: Marc Maurer delivers the eulogy. Father Gregory is seated in the background.]
[PHOTO #10 DESCRIPTION: This is another picture of the procession to the grave. The hearse can be seen at the right side, and the picture demonstrates how long the procession of mourners was. CAPTION: The procession through Loudon Park Cemetery to the grave site.]
[PHOTO #11 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: The pallbearers carry the casket to the grave.]
[PHOTO #12 DESCRIPTION: Father Gregory speaks into a microphone as he faces the casket beside the grave. Mrs. Jernigan, the Maurer family, and Lloyd and Mary Jernigan can be seen on the other side of the casket. The crowd is visible in the background. CAPTION: Father Gregory conducts the interment service.]
[PHOTO #13 DESCRIPTION: Taken from above, this photograph shows the family under the canopy at the grave site. It also reveals just how large the crowd of mourners was. CAPTION: Almost everyone who attended the funeral participated in the interment service as well.]
[PHOTO #14 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: Marc Maurer and Mary Ellen Jernigan sprinkle dirt on the lid of the casket]
[PHOTO #15 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: Mary Ellen Jernigan, Marc Maurer, Marie Cobb, and Tony Cobb stand at the casket after all the mourners scattered dirt or flowers on it.]
[PHOTO #16 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: President Maurer makes an announcement to the luncheon crowd seated at tables on the Skydeck.]
[PHOTO #17 DESCRIPTION: Several display boards of photographs are visible, including a large portrait of Dr. Jernigan. The lamp he made using empty thread spools is visible at one side. CAPTION: Part of the display of photographs and furniture in the dining room at the National Center.]
[PHOTO #18 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: Two tables filled with paper airplanes in the Harbor Room in the National Center]
[PHOTO #19 DESCRIPTION: Dr. Jernigan stands on the dais at a National Convention. He is smiling broadly and has his hand raised, about to sail a paper airplane. CAPTION: Dr. Jernigan testing a paper airplane during a National Convention lunch recess. Don Bell stands in the background.]
[PHOTO #20 DESCRIPTION/CAPTION: Eight floral tributes that arrived at the National Center are pictured here in the conference room.]
Kenneth Jernigan, November 13, 1926, to October 12, 1998
by Barbara Pierce
A blanket of red roses draped the closed lower portion of Dr. Jernigan's casket at the Loudon Park Funeral Home on October 14. The card read, "From the organized blind movement." A single pink rose rested inside the open lid of the casket. That card read simply, "From the Good Girls of America," and was a remembrance from Dianna Marie Maurer of the game she had played with her unofficial grandfather since she was a toddler. Dr. Jernigan was the vice president and she the president of their club. More than sixty other floral tributes flanked the casket and occupied every surface in the room in which hundreds came to pay their respects to the man who, more than any other single individual, had altered the face of work with the blind and educated the public about the abilities of blind Americans.
This scene took place on Wednesday, the visitation day during which people came to pay their respects and spend time with the family. Dr. Jernigan had died quietly on Monday, October 12, and that evening word went out across the nation and the world that the long vigil had ended. Knowing that time was short, Dr. Jernigan himself had participated in making many of the plans for the two-day celebration of his life and work.
Following the Wednesday evening wake (a quiet service of scripture and prayers), the casket was returned to the Jernigan home for the last night. Thursday morning the Jernigan family, Mrs. Jernigan's family, the pallbearers, and a few close Federation friends walked the three blocks to the church, accompanying the hearse carrying Dr. Jernigan's body. The day was perfect October weatherwarm sun, cool breezes, intensely blue sky, and trees just beginning to change color.
Meantime buses were loading at the National Center for the Blind, and cabs were carrying Federationists and friends from hotels around the city. Four hundred mourners gathered in St. Joseph's Monastery Church for the 10:00 a.m. Mass of the Resurrection. Ramona Walhof, Secretary of the National Federation of the Blind and a colleague of many years; Tony Cobb, Dr. Jernigan's son-in-law and a member of the National Center staff;
Charles Cook, a long-time colleague; and Wayne Wilhelm, a close personal friend, read scripture. Jim Gashel led the congregation in prayer, and Mrs. Jernigan's nephew James Irwin sang "How Great Thou Art." Father Gregory Paul delivered the sermon and presided at the service, and President Maurer delivered the eulogy. Craig Gildner of the national staff acted as server during the service.
At the close of the eucharist Mr. Cobb read a deeply moving compilation of some of Dr. Jernigan's words capturing the Federation's determination to march forward and claim the promise of tomorrow. Here is the text he prepared and read:
Walking Alone And Marching Together
Many of Dr. Jernigan's students and colleagues in the National Federation of the Blind came to the movement in the 1970's and 1980's to march by his side on the way to first-class citizenship. It is therefore fitting to remember the pride and profound respect many here today felt as he spoke the following words:
On Madison Avenue in New York City, July 6, 1973:
Finally we came marchingmarching to take part, marching to be heard, marching to be free, marching to be treated like human beings. And when we came marching, they closed their eyes. They locked us out, and they turned us out, but we are here today because they cannot turn us off.
On Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis, Convention week, 1980:
We have come from our farms, our businesses, our workshops, and our agencies. We have come so that we might demonstrate our determination to be free. . . . Through our sacrifices, our turmoil, and our scars, we have climbed close to the final plateau on the stairway to freedom.
We have come today from throughout this nation to sustain our march toward freedom, to renew our climb up the stairway to first-class citizenship.
Finally, who of those present at the 1985 National Convention Banquet Speech in Louisville could forget the mood as Dr. Jernigan concluded with this moving invitation:
Tomorrow is bright with promise. We go to meet it with gladness:
and we take with us all that we haveour hopes and our dreams, our will to work and our knowledge of deprivation, our faith and our purpose, and our heritage of slavery. And this also we take our trust in ourselves, our love for each other, and our belief in the ultimate goodness of people. My brothers and my sisters, the future is ours! Come, join me!--and we will march together to freedom!
So it was then, is now, and will be in the future Dr. Jernigan now passes to each of usa future which we accept with its implicit challenge to love as he loved, to give as he gave, and to persevere as he persevered, walking alone and marching together.
The pallbearers then accompanied the casket to the hearse as the recessional began, and Mrs. Jernigan and those seated in the family pews followed the pallbearers out of the church, leading the procession to the grave site. David Patrick and Dianna Marie Maurer soberly carried the American and NFB flags at the head of the line. As people left the church pew by pew, they either fell into the procession wending its way into the cemetery or stepped aside to board buses for the short ride to the grave.
The walk represented the last time we would follow Dr. Jernigan in an important march. Even in the midst of our sadness, it became a wonderful affirmation of the unity and love of this movement which Dr. Jernigan worked so hard to build and which he loved with every ounce of his being. Members of the press recorded the event, and all those who took part will never forget the experience.
The committal service was brief, and it concluded with Mrs. Jernigan and President Maurer sprinkling dirt on the casket as it waited to be lowered into the grave. All those interested in doing so were invited to pay their final respects by also sprinkling dirt on the casket. Then they boarded the buses for the return trip to the National Center.
As people arrived on the fourth floor, they were invited to step out onto the new Jernigan Skydeck, where luncheon was served to everyone. Following lunch guests were encouraged to visit several areas of the building where special events or activities were taking place. In the dining room was a display of photographs of Dr. Jernigan and examples of the furniture he had made. In the East Mall was an audio retrospective of many of his speeches. In the conference room was a video montage of highlights of Dr. Jernigan's life. And in the Harbor Room were materials for constructing paper airplanes. Dr. Jernigan used to make planes and fly them into the audience during the lunch recess at conventions. Now, while listening to some of Dr. Jernigan's favorite music by Bing Crosby and Vera Lynn, Federationists had the chance to write messages on their own planes and take them home or leave them to be made into a collage to commemorate the day.
The celebration lasted well into the afternoon. Everyone experienced moments when tears filled the eyes and the throat constricted at the thought that this wonderful man would never again walk among us. But we were surrounded by his words and filled with his determination to change the world. The love that he had poured out so lavishly upon blind people everywhere welled up within us, and we found ourselves comforting each other and rededicating ourselves to the work Dr. Jernigan had called us to undertake. In short, it was a day that Dr. Jernigan would have loved and which everyone who took part will always remember.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Jana Schroeder and session moderator Georges Busson, professor at the French National Museum of Natural History]
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Martha Hays]
U.S. Public School
Education of the Blind
in the Early Twentieth Century:
One Pupil's Account
by Jana L. Schroeder and Martha B. Hays
The following paper was prepared for the Second International Conference on the Blind in History and the History of the Blind, which took place in Paris, June 22 to 24, 1998. Jana Schroeder was a 1984 NFB scholarship winner and a history major in college. She has worked for some years for the American Friends Service Committee, but she has never lost her interest in oral history.
In 1996 Martha Hays received the NFB of Ohio's Knall Garwood Award for steadfast and loyal service over many years in the NFB of Ohio. Martha, who was ninety at the time, charmed the entire convention as she spoke briefly about her long life of service to blind people. Among other tidbits she revealed was the fact that she was one of four blind women social workers who worked with Dr. Hoover to develop his long-cane technique for the use of World War II veterans.
Jana, who lives in the same city as Martha, was struck with the importance of recording some of Martha's recollections. Martha had always hoped to write the story of her life but had concluded that the project was now too big for her. That is the way the collaboration came about. As this issue was going to press, we learned of the death of Martha Hays at the residential facility in which she had been living. She died quietly on Saturday morning, October 24. Here are the fruits of Jana's and Martha's labor as they were presented to conferees in Paris:
Martha Bell Miller Hays was born on August 1, 1906, near Youngstown, Ohio, in the United States. Although neither of her parents graduated from high school, they exhibited a keen interest in ensuring that their blind daughter would receive both academic and practical training. This paper provides a first-hand account of early education of the blind in public institutions in the U.S. as experienced by Martha B. Hays.
Martha's access to a quality education, which included both grounding in the special skills needed by blind individuals and traditional fields of study, was due to three factors. First, education of blind children in public schools was begun experimentally in the early years of this century. Until that time the only specialized education available to blind students was at segregated, residential schools where students usually lived far from their families and did not interact with sighted students. Robert Irwin, who later became the first executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind, initiated the Cleveland public school program, which Martha attended beginning in 1912. The fact that such a program was begun in a location not too distant from where Martha's family was living just at the time she was ready to enter school was quite significant.
Second, Martha's parents provided support that was crucial to her educational achievements. Despite the lack of outside guidance and support, they combined common sense with a determination that their daughter should be exposed to a variety of experiences and opportunities for learning. Ultimately the quality and scope of Martha's education were determined by Martha herself. From an early age she asked the questions and demanded to be taught the things that she knew she needed to live as an independent person.
The bulk of this paper consists of excerpts from interviews I conducted with Martha Hays between January and May of 1998 for a planned full-length oral history or biography. These excerpts clearly show how the three factors described above interacted throughout Martha's school years. They also provide a fascinating glimpse into the education given to blind children in U.S. public schools in the early years of this century from a student's perspective. Martha's education was accomplished before there were computers, tape recorders, or even many Braille textbooks. She lived through the transition from American to English Braille. Although her immediate family was extremely supportive, she was no stranger to the almost unquestioned discrimination against blind people in what she refers to as "the tin cup generation." I have deliberately chosen to preserve Martha's own voice in the pages that follow because I know of no other way to convey her vivid recollections of incidents which not only have autobiographical significance but are also important to the preservation of the history of the education of the blind.
When I came along in 1906, there was no help. My mother was on her own. She had nothing to go by. There was no one that she could follow. There was no support group. Someone gave her a book about Helen Keller, but you know how much good that would be. So Mother's idea was, "Well, I don't know what to do with her, so I'll try to do with her the same as I would with any other daughter."
My brother Walter was three years older. He was a lot of help. I had a lot of normal experience in running and that sort of thing because of my brother. He knew that, if he just kept a certain distance from me, I could follow him. I got a lot of normal exercise that way.
I learned early how to hear the trees and hear objects. Mother didn't realize what she was doing, but when we went walking, I would say, "What's that? What's that?"
She'd say, "That's a tree. That's a post. That's a doorway." As I noticed differences, I was curious, and she took the time to tell me what I asked. I learned an awful lot that way. She didn't understand what she was teaching me. She probably caught on after a while, but by just allowing me freedom, she was able to discover what I needed to know and how I needed to know it.
We lived on a farm that was near Girard, Ohio, near Youngstown. Grandpa had a little farm, and he built a little house for his family. We lived there. When Grandpa built a big house over on the other side of townhe was an architectwe moved into the big house on the farm. We had a cow and chickens, and Mother would sell what milk and eggs she could. Grandpa, of course, got his milk and eggs from us. My father worked in Youngstown. He was on the railroad for a while, and then he worked for the Youngstown Car Company when it was time for me to go to school.
My parents were determined they weren't going to send me to the school for the blind in Columbus. If they had sent me to Columbus, I'd have been out of the home. I suppose I'd have learned certain things, but I'm so glad they didn't. I knew the world wasn't going to be easy. So often when they come out of the school in Columbus, they're stopped because they expect certain things that aren't going to happen. I think they're doing better now, but we have to realize that we're dealing with the early part of the century.
We used to call our home the resort for schoolteachers. Some of our best friends were schoolteachers. Mother deliberately did favors for them and encouraged them because she had me in mind. We lived close to the river, and they liked to go skating in the winter particularly. I was naturally ready for school because there were always so many teachers around.
Mother insisted she was going to send me to school anyhow. Of course the superintendent of schools had fits and said, "She won't learn anything," but when school started in 1912, she sent me to school with my brother. I did learn a few little things.
I remember our little first-grade book. We'd go home to Grandma's for lunch, and Grandma would read to me. The teacher always told me what they were going to be reading. The teachers were all our friends, so she understood. I remember one thing Grandma always said was, "Now you remember this because I'm not going to be able to read it again." She put that in my mind. Of course, I've been spoiled since then because I can read for myself. Nevertheless, that made a difference. I could recite from that book that afternoon like the other children because I had read it and I would remember. But that didn't have to go on very long.
The general movement of mainstreaming began in about 1909. It began first in New York and Chicago. When Robert Irwin came to Cleveland, there was no school, so he took a job in the broom factory. All the ladies from the Cleveland Society for the Blind were proud of what he did, so they came to visit, and he gradually promoted his idea of educating blind children in the schools. They tried it experimentally in 1911. In 1912 it was made permanent.
Girard is about sixty miles from Cleveland. We had no idea that anything was happening. At that time they had publicity in the papers about the fact that they were educating blind children in the public school in Cleveland. One morning in September the lady who lived up the lane came to get her milk and eggs and gave Mother a clipping from the Cleveland Sunday paper. Not everybody got the Cleveland paper, but it just happened that that family did. That's how we learned about the school in Cleveland.
My father went immediately to Cleveland and found Mr. Irwin. He came home with a Braille alphabet that was printed on tin and a book. In three weeks we had sold the cow and the chickens. We were headed for Cleveland. I was in school there three weeks from the time we got that clipping. My grandparents had a fit about my parents' moving the family to Cleveland, but Mother and Dad didn't accept any of their arguments. Grandpa could get his milk and eggs somewhere else.
We had six hours of school instead of five. We always started when they rang the first bell. We had a shorter noon hour.
In the first eight grades we had a home room. That's where we learned our typing and Braille. We only spent part of the day with the other children. When the other children in the regular class were doing penmanship and drawing and that sort of thing, we were back in the home room. We had reading with the sighted children, but of course we had to learn the basics in the home room. The amount of time gradually increased as you learned what you needed to know and learned to read well enough to go in with the other children. I don't think I spent much time reading with the other children in the first grade. We had to gradually work into it.
All grades were together in the home room. There were probably about a dozen of us. Some of the older ones had gone to Columbus, and some hadn't gone any place to school before.
The room was arranged so that on one side were the desks and on the other side was an open area. We had a swing. There was a big pole in the middle of the room. The ceilings were high. The great thing to do was to be able to climb that pole and slap the ceiling and come back down. I was slow at it, but my friend Celia could do it. I finally did it. My mother had a fit.
Celia and I were quite active. We would skip around and play. The teacher would use us to help the younger ones who came in. Often the children who came in hadn't had the opportunity to walk very much. The families sat them in a chair and did not know what to do with them. Some of them carried the children into the classroom. Teacher used to say, "Here, Celia, you and Martha Bell take Viola and teach her to walk." So we'd get her between us, and we'd make her walk. We weren't therapists, but that was the way therapy was done then. We learned to make her walk with both of us for a while. Then one of us would walk with her, and then we'd separate and make her walk from one to the other.
We were given a lot of things to do that a kindergartner would do now because many of the students had not used their hands. We had little pegboards, and the teacher would give you a design to copy. They also had a frame that had material on it. They had one with buttons, another with hooks and eyes, and one that you laced like shoes.
When they started the classes, there was no sightsaving. Everything was Braille. Even the children who had quite a little vision still learned Braille. They used to have to put a frame on their desk and put cardboard down so they couldn't try to read Braille with their eyes. They were very strict about not being allowed to read it with their eyes. They learned their Braille with much more sight than they do now. It was in the 1920's that the schools began to think about sightsaving.
In those days a teacher had two years training after high school. That was it. All of the teachers were sighted except for our music teacher. There wasn't any special place for training teachers of the blind. I suppose they got a lot of ideas from Irwin. If the teacher was absent, sometimes he substituted.
The school on the West Side was an observation school, which was in connection with what we called the normal school, where teachers were educated. When I was in fifth or sixth grade, they moved us to an observation school. The teachers in training could come in and observe us and get some ideas.
By then they were beginning to have more centers where blind students could attend school because the city was pretty good sized. They were beginning to spread out as they discovered more blind children and learned what they should do with them.
I had the same home room teacher the first three years. Her name was Ruth Brockway. Then she went to Toledo, Ohio, to start a program for blind children in the schools there.
When we went to high school, we were separated. We went to the school in the area where we lived. I was the only blind student in the high school at the time. Once we got to high school, we didn't have any special teacher. We were expected to manage without. That's why we were given typing so early.
The Cottage Experiment
I think it was in about 1918 that they decided to try an experiment of cottage living in Cleveland where we would spend the week in a cottage and go home at the weekend. They had one group for boys, and the girls went much more successfully, I think. There were about a dozen of us in that cottage group. They did that for about five years. I was with it part of the time. I didn't go too much after I was in high school because there was too much work.
They decided to send some that were from good homes and some that were not. I think they got me to go because I did more things than some of the others. I was delighted to go because that meant other kids to play with. Mother never particularly wanted me to have blind friends for some reason, so naturally I enjoyed the companionship of the kids. We did more yard play, and that's possibly one reason my parents let me go. I had so little opportunity to do that in the city. We used to jump rope and things like that to entertain ourselves.
The purpose of the cottage was to learn a little bit about housekeeping. We did a little bit in the kitchen, but not much. It was basic living because a lot of these kids didn't have anything like that at home. I had been making my bed, but there we learned how to change the sheets and other things that we didn't necessarily do at home because Mom was too busy to show us. We had sewing classes, I think. I got so much of that at home, but I got more of it there too. It worked together.
I think Mother had a blind spot about food, but so did everyone else then. Your food was always put down in front of you ready to eat. I'm sure now, when I think about it, that Mother let me eat with a spoon a lot longer than I should have. One thing we have to realize is that a person who is totally blind doesn't see what other people do. Therefore, unless someone tells you or shows you, you don't think anything about it. I had a spoon, so I ate. Finally I realized that people were eating with forks. When the first dinner was served at the cottage, I just picked up my fork and started to eat. That was the end of spoon eating. This shows that occasionally you need to get away from home.
Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic
Before I went to school, I used to look at books. My brother
was reading, and I thought, "Now when I'm as big as he is, I'll be able to read that." There were some people who visited us, and they were reading on that paper with dots, but it didn't occur to me what that meant. I knew all about the alphabet. When I got the alphabet on tin and the book my father brought back from Cleveland, I began to realize that was how I was going to have to read.
I'll never forget the first four lines of the first reader I had in Braille. It was, "This is Kate. And this is Fan. Kate is a girl. Fan is a cow." Those lines have always stayed with me. It shows how deeply impressed I was at the time.
We started with American Braille. They began to spread the idea of maybe using English Braille in about 1915. Ruth went to a convention, and she copied the English Braille alphabet and brought it home. When she was at our house one night, she gave me the alphabet and said, "If you can produce that for me in an hour, I'll give you a nickel." I took the alphabet, and I came back in an hour and earned my nickel. The cute part of it is that, when she copied it, she copied the s and t wrong.
I think I was in about the fifth grade when we started to transfer over to English Braille. That was a nice picnic. Quite a few letters were different. The thing about English Braille is that it's organized. The first ten letters are in the upper four dots, and the next ten add dot 3. American Braille was not organized that way. For example, the letter c was like j. E was simply dot 2. What American Braille tried to do was make the most common letters simpler. It was quite a bit of change. I know it slowed me down on reading. By the time I reached high school, I was still taking notes in American Braille and reading English Braille. Gradually I realized that this couldn't go on, and I stopped doing it. We changed it slowly and rather reluctantly.
I never learned New York Point, but if I had gone to the state school in Columbus, I would have been given New York Point. They were slower in changing to English Braille. In Cleveland we changed as quickly as it was official. All over the country they had the debate on what they would do. In Columbus they started the new students with the new Braille, but anyone who had gone beyond the fifth grade, they kept in New York Point, which is sort of foolish.
We all started with the slate and stylus. You didn't start using the Braillewriter until you were about in the third grade. I got into it earlier because we knew the teacher. The teacher typed your spelling off on the Braillewriter. I know by third grade I was using it because, if the teacher was absent, I was the one who would write the spelling papers for the substitute teacher.
Nobody thought about owning a Braillewriter. There were some at the school. They were the old Hall Braillers. You rolled your paper in like you do in a typewriter. It made beautiful Braille. It was the same principle as the Perkins Brailler, with six keys, and in the center was the spacer. You had to turn the line up by hand, but it was a good machine. My father called it "the old stone crusher" because that's how it sounded.
I bought one in 1929. I didn't have it all the way through college. When I entered college, the only equipment I had was a good typewriter and a four-line pocket slate. A Braillewriter wouldn't have done me much good in college anyway.
I think I started typing in the fourth grade so that by the time I was ready for high school, I'd be able to type my own papers for the teacher. I didn't get my own Underwood typewriter until I was through the eighth grade. When it came to changing ribbons and things, nobody did it for me. Dad would sometimes watch, but he would always say, "You do it."
They didn't teach us any handwriting. I was determined that, whenever I had to sign anything, I wouldn't use a mark. I hated that, and I wanted to write, especially to write my own signature. Somehow I couldn't get anybody interested in helping me. I had to really teach myself as far as my signature was concerned. I sent to Boston for instructions. I was all the way through college by the time I taught myself that. When I got so that my niece, who was about third grade at the time, could tell what I wrote, I figured I was doing a pretty good job.
In the first grades of school Cleveland had its own print shop. A blind woman ran the machine that made the Braille plates. It had to be made on tin plates. Then it had to go through the press. Of course it was all done on one side of the page. We had arithmetic books and readers. As we got along in junior high, we didn't have readers. After we got into high school, we didn't have any textbooks in Braille. I never had a textbook in my hand from the time I left eighth grade. I became quite a note taker.
My first language was French, and I started that when I was in junior high. I was always good at conversational French, but I was behind with the reading because I didn't have anything much to read. We had a contest, and I went through the conversational part with flying colors. But when it came to the other, somebody had transcribed the print part of it into Braille and handed it to me, and I was way out in left field because I hadn't had a regular Braille textbook. In junior high I won the bronze medal for the best second-year French student in the Cleveland schools.
I continued my French for a little while at high school, but then I dropped it and took Latin. I don't know why. I suppose because the French was getting too complicated for me because I didn't have any book. So I took Latin. They didn't have the textbook I needed, so I copied my own Latin textbook. They read it letter by letter. I made up the signs I needed. I didn't know them in Braille, so I made them up. I got a lot of cooperation at home. I'd be writing, and, if Mother needed to go do something else, my brother would take over. Anyone who was around just took up where she left off. I sat there and copied. So we got it done. I had a year and a half of Latin.
In high school my social activity was mostly the chorus. I didn't have time to engage in extracurricular activities because everything had to be read. I just had to use my time at home. At that time the state did provide readers to some extent. I think they got twenty cents an hour. It was good money. The readers were other students. I didn't have very many. They couldn't begin to do all of it.
Arithmetic is one thing we started with in the home room. We never heard of an abacus. We had a board with square holes and little cubes that fit into the squares. The cubes had Braille markings that represented various numbers, depending on how you turned the cube. That was our arithmetic equipment. We had a lot of mental arithmetic. I think it was in seventh grade that they kept four of us, and we just did mental arithmetic. You just sat there and did it, and the only thing you wrote down was the answer. That was wonderful training.
Some of them went into high school before me, and they didn't take the math courses. I insisted on taking them. I remember they didn't like it. There was a worker from the Board of Education who used to help arrange our classes. After she'd get it arranged, if I didn't like it, I'd go to the office and rearrange it. They got used to my doing things like that. As long as I made good on it and could do it, there was nothing they could say. I wanted the courses that could get me into college. They didn't want me to necessarily worry with Latin or math, but they changed their minds rather quickly when they realized that was what we were going to do. So the Board of Education provided a tutor for algebra and geometry.
Preparing for the Future
Singing had been on my mind through my whole life to that time. I decided that I'd probably like to go to a college where I could study music. I thought maybe I would go to Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, which was quite a well-known college at the time. In 1922 or '23, a friend and I took the tram and went to Painesville to see about the school. We met Dean Lovejoy, and I told her that I was interested in going to Lake Erie College. I don't know where I was going to get the money to do it because we didn't have much. The response was, "Well, I don't know, unless you can bring somebody with you because we have girls from the better families, and they might object to their daughters walking with you to the dining room and being with you." That was a complete rejection.
We went home rather dejected. In other words, we don't want you. Your voice might be all right, as far as that's concerned, but we have the high cultured people here. I was not equal to them. She didn't know anything about my family, but just the fact that I was blind, I was not acceptable. I suppose now it would bother me, but it didn't seem to bother me too much because I knew it could happen.
When I said I wanted to go to college, my grandparents said, "We thought you'd be satisfied to stay home with a little bit of music or something like that." They didn't figure that I would ever do anything. Well, nobody knew. I didn't know at that time whether I'd be able to do anything.
When we were getting started toward college and Mother was trying to see if there was any help for readers or anything, the state people said to her, "What's she going to do? What's the use of going to college?"
Mother's answer was, "I don't know what she's going to do. She may have to sit and think, and if she's going to have to sit and think, I want her to have something to think about." I thought that was a pretty good answer. My parents were both always behind me in whatever I wanted to do. At first I'd have to convince them it needed to be done, but then that was it. That was a big help to me.
I did high school in three years. I went in the summer because I wanted to get through, get out, and get to college. I graduated from high school in 1923. It was a big class. I think there were 200. I was the only blind student. My graduation received a good deal of publicity. I was the first blind student to come through the Cleveland schools having taken all the courses that were required.
It's a struggle, but you've got to have those degrees or nobody's going to look at you. You realize that now you're not necessarily using what you got in those classes. You're using what you learned since. You got a method. You learned how to get the knowledge that you needed from around you, and that's what you work with, not necessarily what you got from books in school.
The life that I've lived would not have been lived that way had I been able to see. I would never have had education to amount to anything. My mother probably would have died because the farm work was too much for her. She was ill when we went to Cleveland. She got well when we got into a steam-heated apartment. What my life would have been, I don't know. It probably would have been very ordinary. I've always felt that there was a reason for my being blind because of the way things happened.
In 1927 Martha earned a bachelor's degree with double majors in English and psychology from the Ohio State University in Columbus. She went on to receive certificates in voice and piano from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and a master's degree in social administration from Ohio State. Each step on this path was carefully planned by Martha not only to further her education but also to increase her independence from her family.
Among her many other life accomplishments, Martha worked for several years as a social worker and helped develop the systematic approach to travel for the blind using the long white cane following World War II. Now nearly ninety-two years of age, Martha Hays lives in Dayton, Ohio, and has graciously agreed to share her life story.
Preserving the memories of Martha Hays and other blind people educated in the early decades of this century is important for at least two major reasons. First, much of the available literature was written by educators and other professionals and does not reflect the perspectives of the students themselves. It is one thing to read a paper describing what an educator hoped was being accomplished and quite another to read or hear what the students themselves experienced.
Second, much of the writing about early twentieth-century educational efforts was written at the time. Educators as well as those blind people who did write about their own educational experiences often fell into the common stereotypes and cliches associated with blind people. Asking people to reflect upon their early experiences from the vantage point of today often allows for a more candid assessment of the obstacles and advantages of a bygone era.
We must begin by recognizing the historic value of older blind persons' experiences. The next step is to get involved in sharing and preserving this history. I hope that the work Martha Hays and I have done will encourage others to undertake similar projects of oral history, autobiography, and historical survey to bring to light the hidden history of blind people in all eras and cultures.
Charitable Remainder Trusts
A trust is a plan established to accomplish goals for the individual making the trust and the beneficiary. The donor creates the trust, appoints a trustee (the donor, a family member, a bank trust officer, etc.), and designates a beneficiary. In the case of a charitable remainder trust, money or property is transferred by the donor to a charitable trust. This trust pays income for life. After the donor's death the funds remaining in the trust go to the National Federation of the Blind.
There are two kinds of charitable trusts. The first, a charitable remainder annuity trust, is set up to pay income to the donor based on a fixed percentage of the original gift. The second is a charitable remainder unitrust. The income from this trust is based on the annual assessed value of the gift. Both types of charitable remainder trust are common and relatively easy to set up. Appreciable tax deductions are available, depending on which type of trust is selected.
The following examples demonstrate how trusts work, but the figures are illustrative, not exact:
Michael Brown, age sixty-five, decides to set up a charitable remainder annuity trust with $100,000. He asks his brother John to manage the trust for him. During Michael's lifetime John will see to it that Michael is paid $5,000 each year (5% of $100,000). In addition, Michael can claim a tax deduction of $59,207 in the year the trust is established.
Mary Ellen Davis, age sixty-five, sets up a charitable remainder unitrust with $100,000. She asks her attorney to act as trustee. During Mary Ellen's life her attorney will pay her an amount, 5%, equal to the annual assessed value of her gift. If the $100,000 unitrust grows to $110,000, Mary Ellen will be paid $5,500. If it grows again to $120,000, she will be paid $6,000 in that year, and so on. Also Mary Ellen can claim a tax deduction of $48,935 in the year she establishes the unitrust.
For more information on charitable remainder trusts, contact the National Federation of the Blind, Special Gifts, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230-4998, phone (410) 659-9314, fax (410) 685-5653.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Herman Gruber]
North Carolina Agency Survives Surprise from Legislature
by Herman Gruber
From the Editor: On Tuesday morning, July 21, I was at my desk when the phone rang. It was Wayne Shevlin, Second Vice President of the NFB of North Carolina. His news was dismaying, but all too familiar. The state agency was in deep trouble, and the affiliate was swinging into high gear to rescue it if it could be done. Wayne had already talked to President Maurer and Peggy Elliott, and now he was turning to me for a crash course in media relations and help with writing a press release. Of course I dropped everything to do what I could. The rest of the exciting story appears in the following article written by Herman Gruber, President of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina. It was first published in the August, 1998, edition of News and Views, a publication of the NFB of North Carolina. Here it is:
How many times must we go to the brink? The answer is that we will go as long and as often as we need to.
The North Carolina Commission for the Blind first came into existence in 1937, two years after the Social Security Act was passed by Congress. The Commission for the Blind offered quite a comprehensive array of programs. There were Social Service, Medical Eye Care, Business Enterprises, and Rehabilitation programs in a single agency.
The commission functioned as a stand-alone agency until 1972 when the state government reform act was passed. Then it was encompassed by the umbrella department known as the Department of Human Resources. It goes without saying that the layers of bureaucracy now grew and the number of bases to be touched multiplied. None of this did anything good for consumers nor for those who had the responsibility of administering and directing the programs. Still it was much better than being a part of some division whose mission was generic.
In 1989 the Governor Morehead School became part of what was now the Division of Services for the Blind. The addition of the school further expanded the comprehensiveness of services available from a single agency. In some ways this was unique in that it now offered a network of services that ranged from infancy through adulthood.
As has been the experience in so many other states with a specialized agency serving the blind, periodically it is necessary to defend the existence of a separate agency. When new governors and new legislatures arrive and bring with them their efficiency studies and their re-organization studies, sometimes, seemingly for no reason at all, it has been necessary to fight to maintain our specialized status.
Fortunately we have always been able to withstand the challenge. As long as our resolve is there and we are willing to put mind and effort to it, perhaps we can continue to survive. We can be sure that survival will not come automatically. It will come only as long as we are determined it should and we are willing and have the collective will to defend it.
Our latest challenge began in December, 1996, when the
General Assembly authorized the Peat Marwick firm to conduct a
re-organization study of state government. When it was done and
the recommendations were made, there were the usual suggestions and outright recommendations for merger. Fortunately the General Assembly did not mandate the implementation of all these recommendations. However, it did recommend that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) study the Marwick report and implement any changes that the department deemed appropriate. Once more we should have recognized that our wake-up call had come.
Beginning in the spring of this year rumors began to circulate that the Division of Services for the Blind, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and the Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing would be merged into a single division. During a conference with some other consumers on June 16, I asked Mr. Peter Leosis, who is Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services and is supervisor of the Division of Services for the Blind in the department, if there were plans to merge DSB with other divisions such as Vocational Rehabilitation and the Deaf. The answer was that he had no plans to merge. We hoped merger would now be a dead issue.
Only one month later to the day, on July 16 at a sub-committee Budget meeting, Representative Charlotte Gardner, one of the sub-committee's three co-chairs, unexpectedly introduced a special legislative provision to merge the Division of Services for the Blind, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing into the Division of Disabilities. The Special Provision was also co-signed by the remaining two chairs, Representatives Cansler and Clary. The blindness community certainly was not consulted, nor was there even token inquiry, so far as we can tell.
Since the special provision was entered at the eleventh hour of the committee's budget considerations, it would appear that they recognized there would be strong opposition, and they hoped the last-minute introduction of the bill would minimize any possible response. As usual, they underestimated the National Federation of the Blind. They didn't appreciate how fast we could put a plan in place and rally the forcesor did they?
Immediately the wheels started turning. As soon as I received a call informing me of the events of the sixteenth, I set out to discover the next step in the budget process, which turned out to be for the special provision merger to go to the full Budget Committee of the House of Representatives on the twentieth. We alerted our members and urged them to contact members of the Budget Committee and try to persuade them to vote against the special provision.
When the full committee met, I was there along with my wife Penny and our legislative chairman and Second Vice President, Wayne Shevlin. It was not long till we learned we would not be allowed to speak. Representative George Holmes, who was presiding, announced that no statement by members of the public would be allowed. This closed one avenue we had hoped would be open to us. It did not sound promising, but we determined to stay until the end. We did. When the full committee finished its deliberations and passed its budget bill, the special provision was still alive. Based on comments during the hearing, I had the distinct feeling that not all proposed amendments to the Human Health Services budget had been heard when discussion on this budget was closed at 11:00 p.m. We were resolved that we would still find a way to be heard. We were not finished yet.
In the meantime various people in this affiliate had talked with President Marc Maurer, Jim Gashel, Peggy Elliott, and Barbara Pierce. Though they were miles away, they really were ever so close. We were sure our national leaders were supporting us in every way, including their presence if necessary.
In consultation with our leadership, we planned our strategy. It would be necessary to call our plight to the attention of the public and the press and initiate personal contact with members of the conference committee charged with resolving differences between the budgets passed by the House and Senate. Fortunately the Senate budget did not include the merger provision in the House budget.
During the following days many Federationists along with friends gave many hours of serious devotion and dedication to taking our fight to the members of the General Assembly. One of the real strengths that emerged from this crisis was the way in which so many made calls, contacts, and visits, led by Federationists such as First Vice President Hazel Staley, Second Vice President Wayne Shevlin, and chapter presidents. These actions were critical to the successful outcome. These challenges can often bring our strengths to the fore. I assure you this one did.
Although North Carolina has previously faced threats of consolidation, those earlier threats were administrative and were not an act of our elected officials. The process had never gone this far before.
We began planning a small rally for Thursday, July 23, outside the capitol to hand out flyers and attract media attention for a larger gathering planned for Thursday, July 30. In the meantime we were busy contacting members of the legislature who were likely to be on the Conference Committee. Incidentally, we felt we were making good progress with some of the Senators who were likely to be on that critically important committee.
The unexpected and devastating news of the special provision had come on July 16. Then with equal suddenness on July 23 came the victorious news that the special provision had been deleted on the floor of the House during the previous evening's deliberations and subsequent actions. So much had transpired in seven long, arduous days.
Why did it happen? A number of factors figured in the final equation. Federationists all across the state were rising to the occasion. Not only were we coming to the battle, but it seemed that other blind people, and those interested in the blind, were joining the crusade in unprecedented numbers. It was heartening to see that interested people from all corners of the blindness community were ready to join the fight. We had organized our campaign, notifying the security force that we planned to demonstrate, calling the press to tell them what was happening, then beginning to circulate a press release. It was clear to everyone paying attention to the situation that we intended to use every resource at our disposal, and I don't believe anybody doubted our determination.
Our many attempts to convince our representatives were coming to full fruition. Representative Martha Alexander, with whom we had discussed the crisis and who had previously served on the Consumer and Advocate Advisory Committee for the Blind, opposed the special provision on the floor and was successful in having it deleted. Though the vote was close, fifty-seven to fifty-five, the victory was still sweet and one to be savored. The day the emergency ended we were flooded with emotions. First we were grateful. Then we remembered how quickly the whole thing had arisen in the first place. Our experience is a grim reminder that what happens once can happen again. But we will not be denied the joy of victory.
We must remain watchful, and we must be ever ready and prepared to do what we have to do. Perhaps some victories are not finally won but must be won again and again.
We must thank those in the General Assembly who helped us by their vote. We must thank our national leadership who stood by us with more than words. We must thank every person who made a telephone call, sent a fax, spoke a word, or wrote a letter. It may well be that without any one of these components the victory would not have been ours. But we all did our part, and for the moment the danger of having our state agency swallowed whole and our services diluted has been averted.
[PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A boy of twelve or thirteen stands balancing a bicycle. CAPTION: Marc Maurer in 1962.]
by Matt Maurer
From the Editor: I was going through the mail one day last May with my secretary when we came upon a brief letter from a man in Indiana. He explained that he was sending me a short piece about starting a paper route with his brother in 1962 or -3 when they were kids. He explained that his brother was blind and that, aside from the humor of the story, he thought it demonstrated the determination of a blind boy.
I turned to the article with curiosity and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. In passing I wondered whether the blind boy had grown up to become a member of the NFB, so I asked my secretary to read me the name of the writer. It was Maurer. At least that cleared up the question of whether the boy had grown up to be a Federationist. I hope you enjoy this glimpse of President Maurer as a boy. Here it is:
My brother and I knew very little about newspapers when we got our first paper route. I was only eight or nine, so the newspaper meant little to me beyond the Sunday funnies. He was twelve or thirteen, and, since he was blind, he had little to do with the newspaper either. Besides, we were far too busy to fool around reading the news. We had snow forts to build at the gas station on the corner in the winter and fox holes to dig behind the garage in the summer. We had important business like fishing golf balls out of the pond at the golf course and discovering what was inside. Yes, we had serious tasks to complete like designing and building giant rubber-band guns. Who had time to pay attention to the news? All we knew was that there was money to be made.
We got a morning route, and it took us a couple of hours each day to complete. We had to go down to the newspaper office, get the papers, walk to our route, deliver to each house, and walk home. We had to rise in the wee hours of the morning to get the job done.
As I recall, we started the paper route on a Monday. I was the eyes of the team, and my brother was the brawn. Together we figured out the various problems that presented themselves. The first problem was finding the houses. All we had was a set of cards with names and addresses. Those first few days the job took us a long time, and a few houses got missed, but by the end of the week we had paper delivery down like clockwork.
On Friday night the paper boys collected for the week, and on Saturday morning they took their money down to the newspaper office and settled up. The profit margin was narrow, but we had so little money that the meager profit was a fortune to us. I probably spent mine on pop and fried piesfood of the gods!
Our relative success during the week did not prepare us for the difficulties of the Sunday paper. Compared to the rest of the week, Sunday was a completely different animal. First of all, the papers were much bigger, big enough that the average kid could not carry them all from the newspaper office. I guess that is why they delivered the Sunday paper right to our route. Another difference was the customers. Not everybody who got the daily paper also got the Sunday one, and a few people took only the Sunday paper. With all these changes, we faced our first Sunday with more confusion than we had felt during the entire prior week. We were not sure where the papers were going to be dropped. We had a guess, but when we got to that corner, nothing was there. We wandered around a while, and finally we found a pile of Sunday papers.
We started loading them into our bag, but to our surprise, there were not enough papers for everyone. We seemed to have only about two thirds of the necessary number. Not having paid much attention to newspapers in the past, we sat on the curb and examined the bundle. There was an awful lot of paper there, but there definitely were not enough papers for each of our customers to get one. So we made a decision that seemed brilliant to our young minds. We reassembled the various sections and gave each customer their fair share. It might have been easier if there had been fewer papers. In that case somebody would have gotten the front section, and somebody else would have gotten the back. However, since we had approximately two thirds the number of papers we needed, something much more complex was necessary. A total reassembly was required. My biggest worry was that not every house would get the funnies. The rest of the paper seemed more or less irrelevant to me, but in my heart I knew that every house should get the funnies. Alas, that was impossible, so we had to proceed with a less than perfect plan.
After the arduous task of reassembling the papers, we delivered them. On our way home we were feeling clever and smug. We had overcome our first big challenge. We were to deliver a paper to each and every customer, and we had accomplished that task. These grand feelings quickly evaporated, however, when we passed the corner where we had originally found our papers. There, sitting on that corner, was a pristine stack of papers the remaining third of our allotment. It quickly dawned on us that we had done the wrong thing. At that point there was nothing to do but take the remaining papers and go home. All that Sunday we got calls from angry or confused customers who were missing the TV section or the front page or the sports section. To my great surprise, not a single customer complained about missing the funnies. Our father spent his Sunday answering the phone and helping us deliver sections of the paper.
I am pleased to report that the Sunday confusion was not enough to get us fired, and we went on to deliver papers for years, or at least my brother did. I got sick of it after a year or so and faded into the background, but my brother kept the route until we started our lawn mowing business. But that is another story.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Stephen Bugner]
NFB Scholarship Winner Educates the Press
From the Editor: The following article is reprinted from the May 19, 1998, edition of the Providence Journal. Steven Bugner was a 1995 NFB scholarship winner and is an active member of the National Federation of the Blind of Rhode Island. He has clearly taken to heart the importance of educating the public about the normality and competence of blind people. Here is the story:
With Guide Dog by His Side, Steve Bugner
Graduates Near the top of his PC Class
by Mark Patinkin
I met Steve Bugner only once, four years ago, but have wondered often how he is doing. He was left blind at age thirteen by a brain tumor; he was eighteen and a senior when we spent an afternoon at North Providence High. He was weighing colleges at the time; it would be his first time out in the world since this happened.
So occasionally I've wondered: did he make it?
A few weeks ago Providence College sent me a story idea:
Might I want to profile their top bachelor of science candidate? He had the highest grades of any business major and ranked seventh in a class of 809.
And one other detail. He was blind. His name was Stephen Bugner.
I met him for the second time Saturday, at his family's North Providence home. When he's not at his dorm, he lives there with his sister and parents. It's a small house just steps off Mineral Spring Avenue. The sound of the traffic is steady, but Steve doesn't mind; it helps him orient.
Four years ago he had a cane. Now he has a Belgian Shepherd named Milo. He spent a month in New Jersey training with him. Milo had been fitted for a cap and gold summa cum laude braids to match his master's, as he would accompany Steve on stage to get his diploma. In a way, Steve said, Milo had earned it; he was there through all of college.
The two were now due on campus for the baccalaureate, a pre-graduation service. On our way out the door, Steve's mom mentioned that her son still does much of what he'd done before. He fishes. He bowls. He plays Parcheesi with the family.
I asked if he has to approach such activities differently.
"If I say I got doubles," his mom told me, "he'll feel the dice to check me."
I stood with Steve on the PC campus. I asked how he and Milo navigate curbs and steps. "Like this," he said. I watched as Milo paused at curbs and top stepsbut so briefly he rarely waited for the go signal. They both know Steve will feel him pause and read the signal.
But Steve also knows the campus in surprising ways. That building over there, he says...
"Way over there. That's called Feinstein." He was right.
"And we'll head into the entrance to this building on your right."
We walked inside, and he asked if I was thirsty.
Thanks anyway; why do you ask?
"Because there should be some Coke machines on the left."
There they were.
We sat in one of his classrooms to talk.
Does he have low moments about what's happened? Anger?
No, that's not how he thinks. I remembered that attitude from last time and asked how he got such perspective on this.
"Before I wend blind, I never went to church. I didn't have a relationship with God." Now that he does, he's got more purpose and focus. Like serving God and valuing his family. He focuses not on what he's lost, but on how lucky he is that so many folks at school have been there for him.
I asked about his choice of majors. I could understand English or history, but business finance? Isn't it hard to do complex formulas if you can't look at the numbers? What about business statements? Spreadsheets?
He said it does take him longer.
What about tests?
That takes focus, he said, but he has an aide to read the questions, like a recent one where he had to do a quarterly income statement.
He was able to do that in his head?
"It's simple," said Steve. "You take the total sales minus costs of goods sold, minus operating expenses, which are chiefly selling and administration expenses; then you get income before taxes, so you subtract the taxes you owe, and the interest you owe if you have debt."
Then he described the way he mentally computes the price of a bond, but I lost him when he got to something about par value and the nth power.
We headed back outside.
"The building on our left is Aquinas," said Steve. "The dorm over therecan you see it?
"That one far away?"
"Yes, a good 100 yards. That's my dorm, McDermott Hall."
He said the baccalaureate ceremony was the other way, just as far, at the Peterson Center, and he pointed precisely at it.
The graduates were lining up outside the building. Steve and Milo were directed toward the front with the class leaders.
As we stood, I asked him how he's able to bowl. He can tell from the sound whether he's gotten a lot of pins, he said, or only a few. It's particularly easy to tell a gutter ball. He smiled. He's had a chance to hear that sound a lot.
Before he lost his sight, he played basketball and today follows most Providence College games. The radio play-by-play, he said, is as good as a front-row seat.
He hopes to go into money management. He thinks it would be a contribution to help families and companies handle their investments.
I asked how all that he's been through has shaped his approach to the field.
For someone like himself, he saidtwenty-two and no family-
-he'd take an aggressive investment strategy, though for older folks with families...
I stopped him and explained that wasn't how I meant it. I meant his blindness. How has that steered his philosophy?
He'd never thought of it that way.
How couldn't he?
You don't go into a job thinking as a blind person, Steve said; you think the same as everyone would, as a professional.
Okay then, how has his blindness changed his approach to life in general?
Oh, he has to have different kinds of equipment, like a Braille writer and a talking computer, and...
I mean your attitude, I said. I thought he wasn't getting my question.
He smiled in a way that said he had understood all along. He was making a point. There are technical adjustments but not philosophical ones.
"It's not `What can I do in life?'" he said. "It's `What do I want to do?'"
For example, he decided education is important, so he set a goal of high grades.
I pointed out that a 3.94 average is beyond that. Clearly he has a gift.
He said he doesn't; he just studied a lot. And never quit until he truly understood the material.
It's that simple, he said: you set a goal and a standard and stick to both.
The ceremony was about to begin. Quickly I asked Steve his plans. He's applied for jobs with Fleet Bank and Fidelity Insurance. He's waiting to hear whether he'll get interviews.
I hope he won't take this the wrong way, but I doubt I'll spend much time wondering how he's doing. I think I know.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Diana Knox]
A Life-Changing Experience
by Diana Knox
From the Editor: The following speech was delivered at the 1998 convention of the National Federation of the Blind of Maine. It is a moving illustration of the importance of our scholarship program. This is what Diana Knox said:
I was awarded an NFB scholarship at the 1997 convention in New Orleans, and I've been asked to speak to you about my convention experience. My story doesn't begin at convention; it begins when I was a child. My mother had been to see an ophthalmologist and was very upset when she returned home. The ophthalmologist had told her that she would be blind within five years. My parents said that the doctor was a quack. There was talk of second opinions and possibly a malpractice suit. Since I was a child and not fully aware of the implications of such a diagnosis, it was hard for me to understand my parents' reaction. After all, my grandfather was blind; why couldn't my mother be? This was my first exposure to blindness, and fear was the response that stuck with me.
After my mother had been blind for some time, she began to receive services from the Division of Blind Services. I began to observe my mother and her blind colleagues. Those observations, blended with my other stereotypes, formed my opinions of blindness. I knew that one day I would be blind too, and those opinions were the only standard that I had on which to base my expectations for my own life. It was pretty scary.
Last Spring a gentleman from NFB's scholarship committee called to inform me that I was a scholarship winner. I remember thinking that it was no big deal. I was only competing with blind people; what could be the challenge in that? Nonetheless, I was grateful for the money and agreed to attend the NFB convention. Attending that convention was a life-changing experience. I was afforded the opportunity to observe blind people from all different walks of life. I was exposed to the concepts of high expectations and opportunity. I was challenged to rethink my conceptions (and misconceptions) of blindness and to examine the expectations that I held for myself as a blind person.
Leading others to examine their beliefs is a daunting task. A doctor was on the scholarship committee who challenged me with questions like how would a blind doctor diagnose a rash on a patient. Those were tough questions to which I didn't have any earth-shattering answers, but the questions provoked me to think. They opened the door for me to view blindness from a different perspective. Before my convention experience my attitude was that blindness would cause a loss in my life. I had lost my ability to drive and some ability to read, and I was sure that blindness would rob me of the pleasure of my favorite hobbies. I now realize that is not so. What I lacked was the ability to look at things from a different perspective: not being able to drive doesn't mean that you sit home; it means that you take the initiative to find alternate transportation. Reading used to mean looking at words on a page. I had missed the point. What is important is not looking at words on a page but getting the information into your head. Realizing this has brought about a change in attitude. I now have the ability to view myself as a blind person who has a lot to offer to this world.
Certainly a blind person who has a lot to offer the world has high expectations for herself, but what does society expect from a blind person? I thought that I knew the answer: not much. My mother and the friends that she made through Division of Blind Services called themselves "The Blind Club." Not much was expected from these people, and consequently they were not taught skills that would make them self-sufficient.
I was sure that I knew what to expect for myself when it came time for me to be initiated into the club. I thought my productive life would be over. I knew that I would earn my degree, but I never expected that I would have the opportunity to use it or to prove my abilities. I believed that I would lose my independence. I did not realize that blind people could be self-reliant, and it was terrifying to think of living that way. I expected the NFB convention to be an expanded version of the blind club. Instead I found people who have skills, issues, and achievable expectations for themselves. What a change I have made in the expectations that I have for my life! I can have that career. No longer do I believe that my life has to end.
Something that I had not given much consideration to before my convention experience was the role that opportunity plays in bringing our expectations to fruition. Opportunities for blind people: before my convention experience I did not think that there was much to talk about. What I saw at convention changed my mind. At convention I saw people working to bring about opportunity in many ways. People were learning skills and acquiring technology that would permit them to remain independent and effective. I sat through a resolutions committee meeting while they debated legislation and other issues. I sat in a Merchants Division meeting while they discussed the ramifications of the Randolph-Sheppard Act on their businesses. These people were not crying for special treatment. They were working to secure a level playing field for the blind.
We live in an age that offers rehabilitation services and legislation such as the ADA, but even with these policies in place, opportunity is not handed to us. Opportunity is something that we create. Our abilities must be proven. Blind people are not bumbling Mr. Magoos; we are intelligent, competent people who, when given a level playing field, can successfully compete. Attitude, expectation, and opportunity: one key opens all three doors. That key is education.
When I went to the NFB convention, I was searching for answers about my blindness. I hadn't gotten answers from my rehab counselor, and I really didn't expect much from NFB. I was wrong. I learned more about myself as a blind person in one week than I had in all the previous time I had spent dealing with blindness. I learned the importance of educating blind people because we develop the tools to lead happy and fulfilling lives. I also learned that education is imperative if we are going to compete in society. There are so many misconceptions about blindness that it is our responsibility to dispel those old myths. Education is the key to changing society's attitudes and opinions. It is through education that society will change their expectations for blind people. Opportunity will be created when society learns the truth about blind people.
One member of the scholarship committee advised
me that, if I would keep an open mind, I would leave convention with much more than
scholarship money. She was right. The seeds have been planted. Now I understand about
alternate skills and technology. I now have achievable expectations for myself, and I
understand that it is our responsibility to educate and work for opportunity. That
convention had a major impact on my life, and I think that, if I were to sum it up, I
would say that I now know that I am blind, but I am no longer in the dark. The NFB
convention was a life-changing event for me, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have
The 1999 National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Program
This year's scholarship program will be the sixteenth since the organization determined to expand the number, variety, and value of the scholarships presented each year at our annual convention in July. Assisting the nation's most talented post-secondary students to fulfill their academic and professional dreams is one of the most effective ways for us to demonstrate our conviction that blind people deserve the chance to enter whatever field they demonstrate themselves equipped to succeed in.
Scholarships will be presented this year to twenty-six college, vocational-school, and graduate students. The awards will range in value from $3,000 to $10,000, and we will bring the winners as our guests to the 1999 convention of the National Federation of the Blind to experience firsthand the excitement and stimulation of a gathering of the largest and most dynamic organization of blind people in the country today.
Again this year we plan to present up to three of the scholarships to students who won scholarship awards in a previous competition. The purpose of these special awards is to nurture in today's students an ongoing commitment to the philosophy and objectives of the Federation. The students so designated will be recognized and honored as the 1999 tenBroek Fellows. All current students who were scholarship winners in previous years should take particular note of this program and consider applying for the 1999 National Federation of the Blind scholarships.
Full-time employees interested in pursuing post-secondary degrees should take a close look at the scholarship form. Now one award may be given to a part-time student holding down a full-time job.
Every state affiliate and local chapter can help in spreading the word of this extraordinary opportunity for America's blind students. Scholarship applications have been or soon will be mailed to financial aid offices in educational institutions around the country, but many of these will be filed away and forgotten by the time students come to ask about financial assistance. It is very helpful to have local representatives deliver or mail forms to the actual college administrator who works with blind students. Being identified with such a valuable national scholarship program gives the local chapter and state affiliate prestige and respect, and the local touch insures that more blind students will actually have an opportunity to apply for these scholarships.
Anyone can order scholarship forms from the Materials Center, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230. State Presidents and members of the 1999 Scholarship Committee will also be sent scholarship forms. These may be copied as long as both sides of the form are reproduced.
Here is the text of the 1999 National Federation of the Blind scholarship application form:
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
1999 SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
Each year at its National Convention in July, the National Federation of the Blind gives a broad array of scholarships to recognize achievement by blind scholars. All applicants for these scholarships must be (1) legally blind and (2) pursuing or planning to pursue a full-time post-secondary course of study in the fall semester of 1999, in the United States, except that one scholarship may be given to a full-time employee also attending school part-time. In addition to these restrictions, some scholarships have been further restricted by the donor. Scholarships to be given at the National Convention in 1999 are listed here with any special restrictions noted:
1 SCHOLARSHIP FOR $10,000
American Action Fund ScholarshipGiven by the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, a nonprofit organization which works to assist blind persons. No additional restrictions.
3 SCHOLARSHIPS, EACH FOR $4,000
Melva T. Owen Memorial ScholarshipGiven in memory of Melva T. Owen, who was widely known and loved among the blind. She and her husband Charles Owen became acquainted with increasing numbers of blind people through their work in the "Voicepondence" Club. Charles Owen says: "There shall be no limitation as to field of study, except that it shall be directed towards attaining financial independence and shall exclude religion and those seeking only to further general or cultural education."
Two National Federation of the Blind ScholarshipsNo additional restrictions.
22 SCHOLARSHIPS, EACH FOR $3,000
Hermione Grant Calhoun ScholarshipDr. Isabelle Grant endowed this scholarship in memory of her daughter. Winner must be a woman.
Mozelle and Willard Gold Memorial ScholarshipEndowed by the energetic and effective former president of the National Federation of the Blind of California, Sharon Gold, in loving memory of her mother and father, both of whom were dedicated to creating opportunity for their daughter and for all blind persons through Braille literacy and dedication to service. No additional restrictions.
Frank Walton Horn Memorial ScholarshipGiven by Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Barnum, the mother and stepfather of Catherine Horn Randall. No additional restrictions, but preference will be given to those studying architecture or engineering.
Kuchler-Killian Memorial ScholarshipGiven in loving memory of her parents, Charles Albert Kuchler and Alice Helen Kuchler, by Junerose Killian, dedicated member of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut. No additional restrictions.
E. U. Parker ScholarshipEndowed by his wife, who joined him in a lifetime of Federationism, this scholarship honors a long-time leader of the National Federation of the Blind whose participation in the organization stood for strong principles and strong support of the Federation's work. No additional restrictions.
Howard Brown Rickard ScholarshipWinner must be studying or planning to study in the fields of law, medicine, engineering, architecture, or the natural sciences.
National Federation of the Blind Computer Science ScholarshipWinner must be studying in the computer science field.
National Federation of the Blind Educator of Tomorrow Award
-- Winner must be planning a career in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary teaching.
National Federation of the Blind Humanities Scholarship
Winner must be studying in the traditional humanities such as art, English, foreign languages, history, philosophy, or religion.
Thirteen National Federation of the Blind ScholarshipsNo additional restrictions, except that one will be given to a person working full-time who is attending or planning to attend a part-time course of study which will result in a new degree and broader opportunities in present or future work if a suitable candidate applies.
CRITERIA: All scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, service to the community, and financial need.
MEMBERSHIP: The National Federation of the Blind is an organization dedicated to creating opportunity for all blind persons. Recipients of Federation scholarships need not be members of the National Federation of the Blind.
MAKING APPLICATION: To apply for National Federation of the Blind scholarships, complete and return the application on the reverse side of this sheet, attaching to the application all the additional documents there requested. Multiple applications are unnecessary. Each applicant will be considered for all scholarships for which he or she qualifies. Send completed applications to Mrs. Peggy Elliott, Chairman, National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112; (515) 236-3366. Form must be received by March 31, 1999.
REAPPLICATION: Those who have previously applied are encouraged to apply again. It is the intention of the National Federation of the Blind to award not fewer than three scholarships to men and women who have already received one Federation scholarship in the past if enough strong and worthy candidates apply.
WINNERS: The Scholarship Committee reviews all applications and selects the scholarship winners. These winners, the same number as there are scholarships to award, will be notified of the selection by telephone by June 1 and will be brought to the National Federation of the Blind convention in July at Federation expense. This is in addition to the scholarship grant. Winners will participate in the entire convention and in the scheduled scholarship program activities, beginning with functions on Wednesday, June 30, 1999. All decisions by the Scholarship Committee are final.
The National Federation of the Blind convention is the largest gathering of blind persons (more than 2,500) to occur anywhere in the nation each year. You will be able to meet other blind students and exchange information and ideas. You will also be able to meet and talk with blind people who are successfully functioning in your chosen profession or occupation. Federal officials, members of Congress, and the makers and distributors of new technology attend Federation conventions. Above all, a broad cross section of the most active segment of the blind population of the United States will be present to discuss common problems and plan for concerted action. It is an interesting and exciting week.
AWARDS: The day before the convention banquet the Scholarship Committee will meet to determine which winners will receive which scholarships. The scholarship awards will be made during the banquet.
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORM
Read reverse side of form for instructions and explanation. Form may be photocopied but only if reverse side is also included.
To apply for a scholarship, complete this application form and mail completed application and attachments to Mrs. Peggy Elliott, Chairman, National Federation of the Blind Scholarship Committee, 805 Fifth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112; (515) 236-3366. Form must be received by March 31, 1999.
Name (please include any maiden or other names by which you have been known):
Date of birth:
School phone number:
Home phone number:
Institution being attended in spring semester, 1999, with class standing (freshman, senior, etc.):
Cumulative grade point at this institution:
Institution to be attended in the fall of 1999, with class standing. Send by separate letter if admitted to school after submitting completed application:
List all post-secondary institutions attended with highest class standing attained and cumulative grade point average:
High school attended and cumulative grade point:
State your major:
Awards and honors (attach list if necessary):
Community service (attach list if necessary):
Attach the following documents to completed application:
1. Include personal letter from applicant. NFB scholarships are awarded on the basis of scholastic excellence, financial need, and service to the community. In preparing your personal letter, please keep in mind that the committee members and decision-makers are all successful blind college graduates. Take some time to think how you personally can convey your best qualities in your own words. This is an advocacy job; the committee members will note how you choose to do it. Please also keep in mind that the awards are restricted to blind persons, so the committee will be interested in what techniques and approaches you personally practice concerning your blindness. And please note that almost all blind students have financial need. Committee members will assume basic need, so you may choose merely to refer to this topic unless your need is unusual and extreme.
2. Send two letters of recommendation.
3. Provide current transcript from institution now attending and transcripts from all other post-secondary institutions attended. If you have not yet attended such an institution or have not completed one year of study, send high school transcript.
4. Send a letter from a state officer of the National Federation of the Blind showing that you have discussed your scholarship application with that officer. We prefer that you discuss your application with the Federation state president, but a letter from any Federation state officer will suffice. President's address provided upon request.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Susan Povinelli]
Bunsen Burners and Chemical Reactions
by Susan Povinelli
From the Editor: The following article first appeared in the Summer, 1998, issue of the Vigilant, a publication of the NFB of Virginia. Susan Povinelli is an engineer and is often asked how to do engineering or scientific work. Susan has often shared her experiences with Federationists in the Braille Monitor and in Kernel Books. Susan and her lawyer husband Larry are the parents of two elementary-school-age daughters. This is what she says about taking chemistry:
It was a typical night at my home. I was in the middle of a reading lesson with my younger daughter when the phone rang. I paused for a moment to listen to my talking caller ID announce the caller. If it had been an unknown number, we would have continued reading, but it was not.
It was Debbie Prost, who has taught blind children in the Portsmouth, Virginia, public schools for over twenty years. She was calling to solicit my help in developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for one of her blind high school students who was scheduled to take chemistry in the fall. Debbie was getting a lot of resistance from the chemistry teacher, who believed that the blind student could not participate safely in the lab. The teacher was afraid that the student would burn herself on the bunsen burner or chemicals. Debbie Prost was adamant that the student should participate fully in the lab.
When Debbie first asked me how to modify the laboratory so that the student could be an active participant, I drew a blank. It had been many years since I was near a chemistry lab. However, as we talked, I realized that chemistry is no different from cooking. The basic concept of chemistry is to measure and mix chemicals in precise amounts, then apply heat or ice to cause a reaction. The same principle applies to cooking, but instead of chemicals you use food and spices.
Is working on a bunsen burner any more dangerous or difficult than working on a gas stove with an open flame? No! It is a matter of learning the proper technique of placing the pot or beaker on the burner. I suggested that the student practice placing a beaker on an unlit burner. This would allow her to get the proper orientation without spilling chemicals or burning herself. I also suggested that Debbie have a bunsen burner cover made. Such a cover would allow the student some protection from the open flame and would ensure that she would not accidentally knock the beaker over.
Since glass beakers do not have handles, it is difficult to grab them with a pot holder. I suggested making a wire handle out of a coat hanger to attach to the beaker. The student could then lift the beaker by the handle using a pot holder and keeping her hand away from the flame.
The other issue Debbie needed to address was measuring. How could the student measure liquid accurately? The sighted student pours the liquid into a long test tube up to a line marked on the tube. This method was not practical for the blind student since she was unable to feel the line on the test tube or use her fingers to determine the right amount of liquid because she could get chemical burns from the solution.
I can remember the grief I went through measuring liquid medicine for my children. Pouring it into a measuring spoon would not work because it was impossible to get an accurate reading. Then I remembered another Federationist who used a syringe with a notched line in the plunger to indicate the amount. The same technique could be used to measure chemicals. The student could suck up the liquid with the syringe and then push the plunger down to the required level. Measuring dry material would be no problem since the student could find containers of the correct size and pass a plastic knife across the top to level the dry material the way Mom taught us to measure flour when baking cookies.
The student would need the help of her lab partner to tell her when a solution changes color or describe the physical appearance of a chemical reaction. With slight modification there is every reason to think the blind student can be an active participant on the lab team. She can take notes using Braille, measure the chemicals using the techniques outlined here, and use a talking or Braille timer to time the reactions. She will not only learn chemistry but also gain the skills needed to be a team player and experience working in a sighted world. Her classmates will learn that blind students can work to meet the same science requirements they face.
Note: Since Susan submitted this article, Debbie Prost reports to the NFB Vigilant that the IEP for the high school student contains the requirement that the student enroll in the chemistry lab and earn her grade along with her peers. Once again our collective wisdom has paved the way for a blind person to participate equally. This time it is a blind student who has the chance to discover whether she has the interest and aptitude to study chemistry. Chalk up one more reason for the National Federation of the Blind.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Denise Mackenstadt]
Independence and the Blind Child in a Mainstreamed Education Program
by Denise Mackenstadt
From the Editor: Denise Mackenstadt works with a blind child as an instructional aide in a public school in the state of Washington. She is a longtime Federationist and a leader in the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children. Recently she sent me this thoughtful little article about the problem of helping blind children become truly independent. This is what she says:
As I was considering this article, I tried to think of a universal theme that would be of interest to families with blind children. The one element in the daily interaction I have with blind children is working to make the student an independent blind person. Many times I have wondered if one can really teach independence. Blind people live with this dilemma on an ongoing basis. As parents we have a long-term goal to teach our children the skills to enable them to leave our sides eventually and go out into the world. We hope that we have been successful since as adults we are aware that the world is not always a friendly place and is full of dangers that threaten the welfare of our adult children.
As a parent of two adolescent children, one of whom has a child of her own, I am aware every day of this challenge. For parents or educators of blind children, teaching independence can be complicated. We receive double messages from society. On the one hand we know that in this culture the worth of an individual is based on how well she maintains an independent and self-sufficient lifestyle. This means maintaining her own residence, holding a worthwhile job, and perhaps supporting a family. On the other hand our society is not certain whether blind people can achieve this lifestyle. As we work with blind children, we have to recognize that they too are confused by these messages.
In her school the blind child is probably the only student who is blind or visually handicapped. All children want to fit in, so the blind child's minority status makes it vitally important that she have the skills needed to develop self-worth and a good self-image. This is a gradual process that evolves throughout the lifetime of the blind person.
The blind student is exposed every day to a host of circumstances that challenge her self-confidence as a blind person. Getting to school requires making a decision between traveling the way non-disabled students do or taking special transportation. Upon arriving at school how will she get to her classroom, on her own or with assistance? She cannot choose independence if she does not have good travel skills. The question comes down to this: can the student make meaningful choices? The regular school day is not conducive to taking the time to give adequate attention to learning blindness skills. The blind student is required to take time out of her recess or other play times to learn these techniques. This is not fair, as many students say, but it is necessary.
The classroom is not set up to accommodate all of the equipment and materials that the blind student needs to get through a school day. The student must be organized. When instructions are given to look up a page in a book, the blind student must be more alert because finding the right volume and page will take more time than the other students need. The student must learn to anticipate instructions. The teacher gives instructions with the idea that the students can quickly scan a page using all of the visual cues such as bold-faced titles and illustrations. The blind student cannot do this as quickly or use the same cues. The student must decide to be assertive enough to question the instructor or a classmate about how to apply the directions to the use of Braille materials.
The student may need to question the teacher's language in mathematics instruction. For example, when fractions are written in print, the terms upper and lower are used to describe the two numbers that make up the simple fraction. In Braille the fraction is written with a number, slash, number; the digits appear in a single line. When the teacher refers to the 2 in the fraction 2/5 as "on top," the student does not necessarily know to which digit he is referring. These issues are easily resolved, but it is a learning process for the blind child. In the end it comes down to the student's ability to communicate her unique needs to a sighted world effectively. This is doubly hard when the personality of the child is shy or reserved. However, questioning others articulately is a skill that all blind people must learn.
Not only must the blind student learn to ask for help, but she must also learn how to reject unwanted assistance. This can often be done with grace and without hurting anyone's feelings. But sometimes the situation is more delicate, particularly when the relationship is child-to-adult. Children are told to follow directions given to them by adults, not to argue, particularly in a school setting. But suppose the adult's understanding of the blind person's capabilities is incorrect. Sometimes the student has to accept that the instructions should be followed even though the adult's belief is wrong. This is a difficult notion for the child to understand and accept. Blind adults may also face situations in which it may be advisable not to argue a point of blindnessfor example, a disagreement with an employer. Learning to deal with such issues is part of education and growing up.
The social life in an average public school would challenge the skills of the most sophisticated socialite. Blind children are viewed with a mixture of fear and awe. In physical education classes including a blind student can be difficult. Most PE programs are not equipped to provide the opportunities for physical activity that the blind student needs. Blind people are capable of being active and athletic. Judgements must be made about whether the experience is constructive or merely an exercise in frustration. When a good PE program works well, the blind student has wonderful opportunities to build respect and understanding with her classmates.
Extracurricular and play activities are essential if the blind student is to feel a part of the school community. Disabled children are so involved with adults from the very beginning that often they do not develop the skills to communicate well with their peers. These skills can be learned and modeled effectively. The expert use of blindness techniques gives the blind child the opportunity to participate in the life of the school community.
In the final analysis, can independence be taught to a blind child? I believe the answer is no. Independence cannot be taught. Only by providing good training in the skills that the blind child will need to compete in an essentially sighted world will the child be able to choose independence over dependence. As educators and parents we need to reflect upon our expectations. When competence and independence are expected, children will strive to meet those expectations. Even though society may give mixed messages about the blind achieving true independence, the blind person knows that to be successful in society one must live a life with meaningful choices. The basic tenet of Federation philosophy is the belief that, with equal opportunity and proper training in the alternative techniques of blindness, blind people can make good choices about the lives they lead.
We need to expose our blind children to adult blind people who can act as heroes and role models. Other blind people can help the blind child deal with the feelings that often come when one lives in a world that does not cater to the needs of blind people. Only by teaching life skills to our blind children to the same degree that we teach them to our sighted children, can we hope that they will be able to make their own life choices successfully.
My Hols: For Sir John Wilson: Sound, Smell, and Touch Are His Compass
by John Hatt
From the Editor: The following story first appeared in the April 26, 1998, edition of the London Sunday Times. Sir John Wilson is a seasoned traveler. His methods do not always reflect the techniques developed in recent years by competent blind travelers, but his confidence and willingness to go anywhere and do what needs to be done are precisely what the best travel teachers strive to communicate to their students. It is reassuring to be reminded that people have been successfully developing and using effective techniques as long as competent blind people have been around.
Sir John Wilson, who is seventy-nine and lives in England, was blinded as a child. He attended the prestigious Worcester College for the Blind, in those years an academically rigorous secondary school for young men only. He then graduated in law at Oxford. Over the next thirty years he pioneered efforts that restored sight to more than one million people in the British Commonwealth. In 1983 he founded Impact, a UN initiative that leads a worldwide attack on cases of avoidable disability. Sir John and Dr. Jernigan corresponded over the years and occasionally entertained each other in their homes. Here is the story:
I was already blind during the earliest holidays that I can remember. Apart from the usual holidays on a beach, my father, an amateur archeologist, took me on caving expeditions. My jobfor which touch is probably better than sightwas to sift with my fingers through piles of debris in search of fossils, pottery, or occasionally an ancient coin.
Since then I have been a frequent traveller in my work for disabled people and, during visits to more than eighty countries, have often had opportunities for brief holidays in exotic places. Many apparent problems for blind people are surmountable. For instance, it used to worry me that I couldn't see the fasten-seat-belt sign on a plane; but I solved that problem by finding my neighbor's seat belt, then sitting on it. Then, as a result of his tugging, I would know when it was time to fasten up. Nor is it a problem being unable to use conventional maps: I use Braille ones, which have the advantage of being three-dimensional, so you can feel the mountain ranges.
During much of my traveling I have been alone, but in my experience fellow travellers and hotel staff are very helpful. I have especially happy memories of a West African hotel, where I heard the concierge say to my porter, "You treat this man proper; otherwise I cut you and screw your neck." In some situations I can navigate by sound. In an Indian hotel my problem was needing to cross a large, crowded lobby to the dining room. Fortunately, the hotel band played at meal times, and there was also traffic noise from a door to the street. I found that a line bisecting those two points of sound would usually lead me through the lobby to the restaurant. My maneuvering used to amuse two residents who, sipping beers on their veranda, placed bets on whether I would get there without knocking over the plant pots.
In a crowded room it is helpful if there is an air conditioner: it provides a static point of sound around which you can navigate like a sailor steering by the North Star. A revolving fan has the reverse effect: you turn to face a voice, and find you are just facing a draught; and it can be disconcerting when the verbena perfume that you have identified with the bank manager's wife instead appears to waft from the deep-voiced captain from the Salvation Army.
Of course there are some small difficulties for me. In Borneo I don't feel completely at ease when climbing up a notched tree trunk to get into a long house. Nor did I like the revolving doors of New York hotels, which need to be negotiated at supersonic speed. Americans, reared to this, often go through butt end, but if you can't see what you are doing, you can get a nasty crack on the skull. Once inside the hotel, I'm not very popular when I mistakenly press the red button in the lift, causing an alarm to screech through sixty floors. Even when I reach the correct floor, there are hazards: I once entered the wrong bedroom and found an alien foot in my bed. Now I identify my bedroom by bending a pipe cleaner around the door handle.
My enjoyment of travel and holidays owes much to my early training at the Worcester College for the Blind. There we learned to compensate for our blindness by developing an acute sense of hearing, touch, and smell. Smells carry the memory of many holiday places. In Corfu the pines have a heavy scent, like retsina wine. In Grenada, during the nutmeg harvest, the woods smell like a spice box. Zanzibar is the scent of cloves and frangipani and, at night, the moonflowers. The local Arab women wear a perfume called ylang-ylang, which is distilled to an ancient recipe from pure blossom and is said to be the scent that beguiled Solomon.
At the great Hindu temple in Madurai in India, it was more my sense of touch that gave me pleasure. I can still remember the carved features of a laughing child and the angular contours of the goddess of smallpox. A great treat was the Getty Museum in California, where they turned off the alarm system so that I could feel the exquisite Greek and Roman sculptures. At the Parthenon I could sense the pattern of sun and shade, so I got an exact impression of the symmetry of the colonnade.
Blind people often develop acute hearing. In New York, for instance, when a siren sounds from the harbor, you can hear the Manhattan skyline. An occasional thunderstorm can also illuminate the landscape. During a monsoon in the Himalayas I remember a clap of thunder bellowing through the valley, making the foothills stand out in a silhouette of sound, while a huge, slow echo loomed back from the great mountains.
At the Victoria Falls I enjoyed a fascinating variety of sound. Shrieks came from the Devil's Cataract, which was seething into the grotto: a lower, thunderous tone resonated from the enormous power of the main falls; a subterranean earth-quaking rumbled through the nearby rain forest, where flabby ferns quietly dripped with moisture.
In the West Indies some of the best calypso singers are blind, and I spent an uproarious holiday with them at a carnival in Trinidad. For two days Port of Spain vibrated to the sound of competing steel bands, their rhythm carried along every road by shuffling, dancing feet. In every part of the city the most sedate citizens were unable to resist jumping up; every baby shook its rattle; and I was told that the patients in the hospitals could be injected only during the rare lulls. For days afterwards I felt the rhythm in my feet, just as one feels the motion of waves long after leaving a ship.
Since retirement in 1983 I have continuedon a voluntary basismy work for the disabled. Thanks to the generosity of British Airways, my wife Jean can now travel with me, and in some respects my travels now seem like holidaysbut working holidays with a purpose. In the Asia-Pacific region alone there are still more than 100 million people with disabilities, most of which were preventable, and many of which are curable. I recently stayed with Impact's hospital train at a remote Indian railway station, where a group of surgeons (on a working holiday) had been hard at work for four weeks. Their efforts had produced scenes that were biblical: the deaf could hear, the blind could see, and the paralysed could walk. I couldn't help but agree with one of the surgeons, who told me: "This is the best holiday that I could ever have had."
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Ed Bryant]
New Talking Blood Glucose Monitor and Insulin Identifier
by Ed Bryant
From the Editor: This article first appeared in the Voice of the Diabetic, Volume 13, Number 4, Fall 1998, published by the Diabetes Action Network of the National Federation of the Blind. Ed Bryant is the President of the Network and the Voice Editor.
This is what he has to say about an exciting new product:
Roche Diagnostics-Boehringer Mannheim Corporation, in conjunction with Eli Lilly and Company, has developed a new talking blood glucose monitor. Based on the proven Accu-Chek Advantage meter, the new, extremely user-friendly Accu-Chek Voicemate incorporates many features of interest to the blind diabetic or to any diabetic who cannot depend on vision for daily blood glucose monitoring.
Usable with any Accu-Chek Advantage meter, the Accu-Chek Voicemate is a docking station, a larger box into which the Advantage meter is inserted. Without cords or cables the Voicemate then provides the following features:
* Clear, high-quality speech synthesis, talking the user through preparations, test procedures, and results without the need for sighted assistance.
* An insulin-vial identifier, which reads Lilly insulin vials and speaks their type as a safety aid in tactile insulin mixing.
* A new, improved test strip, the Accu-Chek Comfort Curve.
* No meter cleaning required.
* A new code-key system for programming test strip codes.
* Three-year warranty.
The Accu-Chek Voicemate was officially launched at the annual convention of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last August. I was present, so I was able to inspect its features in detail. Now I have a Voicemate of my own, and I am continuing to test it. At this time it is the easiest meter for a blind diabetic to use, facilitating far more independence in diabetes self-management than was possible before.
At the top rear of the Voicemate (which measures 6.5 inches long by 3 inches wide by 2.5 inches high and weighs 12.5 ounces), there is a small hole, just right for the insertion of an insulin vial. Vials of Lilly insulin bear a bar code that the machine detects and reads, telling you which insulin type (such as R, N, Humalog, etc.) is being tested. This is a tremendous improvement over impermanent tactile vial identification methods such as rubber bands or masking tape. If you need this information, you can simply press the big round button on the left; the meter will tell you: "Insert vial and rotate," then "Vial detected." It will tell you to "Reverse rotate," and then it will read your Lilly insulin vial.
As I said, the Voicemate uses the familiar Accu-Chek Advantage meter, which can be detached from the Voicemate for conventional (sighted) use. If the Voicemate requires servicing or if your Advantage meter needs to be replaced, the switch is simple and easy. Previously-produced Advantage meters are compatible with the Voicemate system.
The Accu-Chek Voicemate system comes with a new test strip. The Accu-Chek Comfort Curve is a tremendous improvement over other meters. It requires four microliters of blood for a test, far less than needed by most meters. The strip projects from the meter and is more advanced than any offered with previous talking meters. Blood can be dropped, dabbed, smearedanything that gets it on the strip. And the strip has an easy-to-feel tactile cutout, to help you find the right spot. Once you get there, the strip draws in the bloodyou don't drip on the meter. No more meter cleaning! Best of all, the Comfort Curve strips are compatible with existing Accu-Chek Advantage meters (and existing Advantage strips will work with the Voicemate).
With most meters, when you start a new bottle of strips, you need to program in the strips' reference code. With the Voicemate, this is very simple. With each bottle of Comfort Curve strips, Roche-Boehringer supplies a code key, which is inserted into the back of the Voicemate, automatically setting the code. When you start a new batch of strips, you must change code keys. For the first time ever, no sighted assistance is necessary to program the strips' reference code into the meter. All previous talking glucose monitors required sighted assistance at this stage.
Those who remember the old Freedom System will be very pleasantly surprised. The Voicemate is far more transportable. It weighs just 12.5 ounces, with batteries (9V for the talk-box and two 3V lithium button cells for the meter), and even though it is a small unit, its voice (when you turn it up) is loud, clear, and high-quality. There is an earphone for private listening as needed. The Advantage's optical (screen) display is clear and large, with numerals fourteen millimeters (approximately 5/8 of an inch) tall. And the unit turns itself off after five minutes.
The Voicemate comes with an adjustable over-the-shoulder carrying case (I tried it), with meter, voice box, batteries, adapter cord, ten Comfort Curve strips, earphone, insulin check-vial, manual and quick-reference guide (in large print), and clear, reasonably thorough instructions on audiocassette. NOTE:
The pre-release model I inspected had ambiguous instructions about very low or high readings. I hope later versions of the print and tape instructions will rectify this. Also included is the Accu-Chek Softclix lancing device and a packet of ten lancets. While not a new item, the Softclix is of high quality and allows adjustment for depth of lancet-penetration.
In the past Boehringer Mannheim meters were available only through company sales representatives. The new meter, catalog #2030802, can now be ordered through any pharmacy (suggested retail price $495-$525). Have your pharmacist contact Roche Diagnostics, 9115 Hague Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46250, telephone: (800) 428-5076.
Medicare reimburses for purchase of home blood glucose monitors for diabetics. It lists them as "Durable Medical Equipment" and provides two reimbursement codes. Code EO607 is for conventional home glucose monitors, and code EO609 is for monitors with voice synthesis or voice boxes for existing monitors. The amount reimbursed varies from state to state, but in Missouri it is up to approximately $490 for a talking meter like the Voice Mate. If you are eligible for Medicare, diabetic (type 1 or type 2), and at least legally blind, you should be eligible for reimbursement, with your doctor's written statement. Similarly, Medicare will now reimburse beneficiaries for monitor test stripsYour doctor's prescription (written before purchase) for the strips must state that you are diabetic, how many strips you need, how often each day you will test, and whether or not you use insulin. Medicare will not honor a prescription for test strips that merely states "as needed."
NMSVH Settlement Announced
From the Editor: Beginning with the October, 1996, issue of the Braille Monitor, we have periodically reported on the unfolding problems at the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped (NMSVH). A settlement in the civil suit brought by a number of current and former NMSVH students was worked out last January shortly before the case was due to go to court. The terms of the settlement were kept secret for six months, but in August they were made public. Here is the text of the Albuquerque Journal article reporting the details that appeared on August 4, 1998:
Blind Suit Cost Released
$1.2 Million Settled Student Abuse Claims
by Rene Romo
Las CrucesThe state and an Alamogordo-based school for the blind paid $1.2 million to settle a civil suit involving the alleged physical and sexual abuse of fifteen former students.
The state Risk Management Division, which insured the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped, on Monday released the figure corresponding to its share of the settlement
The fifteen former students alleged they suffered physical and sexual abuse at the school while administrators failed to protect them.
The Risk Management Division released the amount six months after the settlement was reached, in compliance with state law.
The school's Board of Regents agreed to pay an additional $400,000 to reach the settlement. Payment of that amount came at the suggestion of former superintendent J. Kirk Walter when the plaintiffs' representatives balked at Risk Management's $800,000 proposal, said board chairman James Salas.
Salas said negotiations were "about to come apart" when Walter made the suggestion four days before the scheduled January 26 start of a trial for one plaintiff in the civil suit. That case, involving a twelve-year-old boy who alleged he was choked by a dorm parent in the winter of the 1994-5 school year, had been separated from the other fourteen plaintiffs to establish a benchmark value in the case.
Salas said $1.2 million is "a lot of money." But, he said, "When you compare it to the cost of real litigation and the cost of potential appeals and the intangible costs that all of the employees were bearing in terms of the negative umbrella hanging over the school, we thought it was a good investment."
Most of the abuse alleged in the suit involved sexual assaults by other students. But a dorm parent, a former school principal, and a coach also were accused of inflicting physical or sexual abuse against students in a series of incidents between 1973 and 1996.
One former female student, the first to go public with criticism of the school, said she was gang-raped at knifepoint by four other students in the school gym in 1976 and then told to remain quiet when the incident was reported to the former school superintendent.
Salas said the settlement was not an acknowledgement that administrators had been negligent or a sign that school officials feared losing the civil suit.
"Obviously we thought we were going to win, but you just don't know," Salas said. "When you go in front of a jury, you just don't know. And we didn't want to go through all that. What it boils down to is it was just an economic issue."
Bruce Pasternack, the plaintiffs' Albuquerque-based attorney who filed suit in 1996, said his clients had been vindicated, both by the settlement and by a recent U.S. Justice Department report critical of the school's educational and administrative practices.
"You had an institution that had vociferously denied any wrongdoing, and what has come to be shown in the past few months is that they paid a lot of money to remedy the wrongdoing they said they didn't commit, and the Justice Department found they committed the wrongdoing they denied," Pasternack said.
A U.S. Justice Department report released earlier this year criticized the School for the Visually Handicapped for failing to teach many students how to read Braille and to walk with a cane. The report also said the school, as recently as late 1997, had an inadequate abuse-reporting system, but it did not deal with specific allegations of physical or sexual abuse.
Pasternack said the point of filing the civil suit was never to recover monetary damages but rather "making sure that appropriate changes were made at the school." The attorney said he received a percentage of each client's individual settlement but said he could not recall the exact total.
The school has submitted a proposed remediation plan to the Justice Department but has not received a reply, said new NMSVH Superintendent Nell Carney.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Bonnie Peterson]
Daddy Read Me
by Bonnie Peterson
From the Editor: Bonnie Peterson is a long-time leader in the National Federation of the Blind. Here is her contribution to Wall-to-Wall Thanksgiving, the thirteenth Kernel Book. It begins with Dr. Jernigan's introduction.
If you could change just one thing about your childhood, what would it be? An interesting question and one which you would normally expect to bring a wide variety of answers. But if you ask this question of a group of blind people, you tend to get one overwhelming response: "I wish I had been taught to read Braille." In "Daddy Read Me" Bonnie Peterson expresses the pain and anguish of a mother who cannot read to her three-year-old.
Here is what she says:
I teach communications and public speaking in the university system of Wisconsin. I am also blind. Taking notes is, of course, something that is extremely valuable to me. I take notes on a myriad of topics, and I take them in Braille. I use Braille to write notes to myself about grades and other important information concerning my students.
I also use Braille in my home life-şwriting down appointments and grocery lists and keeping track of my two daughters' schedules. (They have basketball practice, volleyball and soccer games, and gymnastic classes-şand I have to see that everyone gets to the right place at the right time.) But it wasn't always that way. I didn't always take notes in Braille.
When I went to school, my parents were told that I didn't need Braille; after all, I could see. We didn't know about the National Federation of the Blind then. I went all the way through school and college, struggling to try to read with my tiny amount of remaining eyesight.
Then the National Federation of the Blind came into my life, and I saw wonderful, positive blind people doing things that I couldn't do in a million years-şlike reading and writing Braille comfortably and easily. These were people who weren't struggling with eyestrain, which had become such an ordinary fact of my everyday life that I didn't even bother complaining about it.
You would have thought that would be enough to make me change, but it wasn't. It took the reaction of my three-year-old daughter to do that.
I was reading her a book about Dumbo the elephant. Of course, reading the book meant wrapping it around my face, straining to see the print, and stumbling as I tried to read what I could not see. I still remember the way she looked at me and said, "Daddy read me." Even though she did not mean to be cruel, what I heard in her words was, "You are stupid!"
That was enough for me. With the help of the Federation I learned Braille in two months, and my life has been changed forever because of it. Not just because of Braille, but because of the self-confidence I have gained. I owe a great part of who and what I am today to the National Federation of the Blind.
[PHOTO DESCRIPTION: A woman stoops to pull a sheet of buns from the oven. CAPTION: Barbara Pierce]
The Wall-to-Wall Thanksgiving
by Barbara Pierce
From the Editor: The following recollection first appeared in the NFB Kernel Book of the same name. We reprint it here with the hope that your Thanksgiving in 1998 will be filled with love, friendship, and gratitude despite the sorrow that necessarily shadows our lives this autumn. As usual, the story begins with Dr. Jernigan's introduction.
Barbara Pierce is no stranger to Kernel Book readers, having appeared in these pages frequently. The remarkable thing about her current story is that it records truly unremarkable events the sort that occur regularly in any typical household. Read her heartwarming account of her young family's efforts to celebrate traditional American holidays while living in London and see if you don't come to believe that we who are blind are peoplejust like you in more ways than not. Here is what she has to say:
Almost twenty years ago my English-professor husband Bob; our three children (Steven, nine; Anne, six; and Margaret, just four); and I packed up and moved to London for the school year. Bob was to teach our college's London semester program during the fall semester. (This would give our American students the experience of studying and living in England.) Bob would then spend the spring doing his own scholarship during his sabbatical leave. The children, including little Margy, would all attend school, and I planned to keep house, try my hand at writing a book, and spend time getting to know the members of the National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom.
We were lucky to find a small house to rent in one of the outlying suburbs. The elementary school was nearby, as were the shops where I would spend a good deal of time and the tube station from which Bob would leave for central London every morning. Best of all, our next-door neighbor had a niece around the corner who was willing to baby-sit for us during the evenings when Bob and I went to the theater with his students.
We settled in easily, and the shopkeepers became accustomed to my long white cane, American accent, two-wheeled shopping trolley, and occasional gaggle of children. Expeditions to the butcher, greengrocer, chemist, and grocery shop were easier and faster without the youngsters, but so were cleaning the house and writing. Besides, the girls especially loved to "go to the shops" with me, so we quickly became an institution in the neighborhood.
By late October the whole family had become acclimatized to life in London. The children had made friends and were developing English accents. I was resigned to washing school uniforms in the bath tub on the days when I didn't go to the laundromat. And Bob had established a warm relationship with his students.
We decided that on the Saturday before Halloween we should invite the whole class to supper. They had tickets to a Saturday matinee performance of a Shakespeare play, so it would be easy for all of them to come back to the house together at the close of the performance.
I didn't even consider attending the play that day. After all, somebody had to prepare supper for that crowd, and I didn't think that the baby-sitter and the children would get very far picking up the living room, much less setting out the food I had prepared.
Steven had been somewhat disappointed at missing Halloween at home in Ohio with its costumes and trick or treating, so we decided to do what we could to celebrate this important annual rite of American childhood with our party. I made a big chocolate cake and let the children tint the butter frosting a shocking shade of orange. We managed to find candy corn and witches with which to decorate our masterpiece.
But the real triumph of the meal was to be the loaf of home-made bread. I had decided that, considering the small rooms of our house, I would have to settle for feeding the students sandwiches and potato chips"crisps" in London.
I arranged a large tray of sliced meats and cheeses and another of fresh vegetables and dip. I bought several sorts of rolls and small interesting loaves. But in the center of the table was a large loaf of potato bread in the shape of a jack-o-lantern, complete with eyes, eye brows, ears, nose, and mouth full of snaggly teeth.
Anne was regretful that I would not agree to make the bread orange or allow her to frost the finished loaf with the left-over icing from the cake. But despite its shortcomings in the eyes of the children, our pumpkin was the hit of the evening.
Bob and the students were late getting home from the play, and in the interim a glass of liquid got spilled by one of the children, but it hardly dampened the upholstery or the spirits of the party. The students were delighted to be in a home with children to play with. And you would have thought I had prepared a banquet for them instead of a simple supper.
When I saw them at the theater during the early weeks of November, they continued to talk wistfully about the fun they had had with our family. As Thanksgiving approached, I began to realize that I was going to have to do something about the holiday. It isn't celebrated in England, of course, and our American students were beginning to feel homesick at the prospect of being so far away from family for the holiday. But having sixteen students in for sandwiches and finger food on paper plates and doing a complete Thanksgiving dinner for them were two very different things.
For one, we had six plates and about as many sets of silverware. There was almost no counter space in the kitchen, and though the stove had four burners, the oven was half the size of my oven at home. But it was clear that, problems or no, Thanksgiving was going to be celebrated in memorable style in the Pierce home that year. I asked each student to bring a plate and silverware for each person that he or she was bringing to dinner, and I invited them all to bring along some contribution of food.
Meanwhile I had managed to find one of those large foil disposable roasting pans in a local department store. Much to my relief, when I got it home, it actually fit into my oven. I took it off to the butcher and asked him to get me the largest turkey that would fit into the pan.
He did so, and he even agreed to keep it in his freezer for me until I was ready to cope with it. The day before the Feast, as the children began calling that Thanksgiving, I stopped to make sure that the butcher had moved the turkey from the freezer into his cooler for me. He assured me that he had and that it would be thawed for me in the morning. Relieved from that nagging worry, I went home to get on with my preparations.
When I went into the kitchen to begin dinner, I discovered to my horror that the oven would not light. Here was a nightmare indeed. Luckily the Gas Board was not about to shut down for a long holiday weekend, so they promised that someone would be around first thing in the morning to see about the cooker.
My dreams were filled that night with catastrophes in which I was trying to roast turkeys over matches. But in the morning we experienced a whole series of miracles. First, the Gas Board man turned up early. Second, he discovered that there was nothing seriously wrong with the stove, and he could and did fix it immediately.
The third event took a little longer to resolve itself into a miracle. It began by looking remarkably like a catastrophe. While I stayed home to deal with the stove and the other preparations, Bob took the children with him to do the last-minute shopping, including picking up the turkey. I was busy finishing the stuffing when I realized that in the distance I was hearing Margy crying as the Pierce parade drew near our house.
I raced to the door to see what the trouble was. I could hardly believe the news; the butcher had not in fact transferred the turkey to the cooler as he had alleged; when Bob handed it to me, it was eighteen pounds of rock-hard meatgiblets and neck firmly tucked inside the body cavity. Though Margy was the only one actually in tears, all three children were certain that Thanksgiving had just crash-landed in the butcher's freezer.
There are moments when a parent has no choice but to set aside anger, frustration, and anxiety and simply rally all available reserves in the emergency. I dried Margy's tears and assured everybody that the day could be saved.
Then the turkey and I retired to the kitchen sink for some close communion with warm water. It was not the correct way to defrost poultry, but I told myself that, if I could just pry the giblets out and pack the stuffing in quickly, I could get the bird on to roast before anything nasty began growing in the meat.
It worked. By late afternoon we were ready for the Feast, and the students began to arrive, bearing an unusual collection of dishes. Including several strays picked up by various people along the way, twenty-three happy Americans eventually sat down to Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, we sat down all over the house. The living and dining room floors were covered with bodies, and six of us sat on the steps to the second story. We had a marvelous time! The food was delicious, and the fellowship was unforgettable. I don't even remember the clean-up.
Everyone had so much fun that we decided to do it again the following year when we were all back in the United States. By then many of the students had graduated, but they returned to Oberlin for Thanksgiving and a reunion of the London semester group.
In some ways the two celebrations were very different. There were no crises the second time around. I managed to come up with enough dishes and silver to serve everyone without asking people to bring their own. And the clean-up was a snap with an electric dishwasher on the job.
But the underlying spirit from the year before was still there. The young people were delighted to be in our home and grateful to us for inviting them. My recollections of these happy and deeply satisfying events are filled with remembered warmth and gratitude. They are for me, as they would be for anyone else, the very stuff of pleasant family history.
But there is one element of these celebrations which is uniquely precious to me. My blindness, which to me has become nothing more than one more of my characteristics, went virtually unregarded by the students. I don't mean that they pretended that it wasn't there. They made an effort to move out of my path when I came through carrying food or drink.
But the fact of my blindness was as unimportant to them as it had become to my husband and children. I remember times like these and renew my hope that the time will come when all blind people will know the freedom for which I am so deeply grateful. This, incidentally, is why I believe so strongly and participate so actively in the work of the National Federation of the Blind.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Connie LeBlond] [PHOTO/CAPTION: Jeremiah Beasley]
This month's recipes have been provided by members of the National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs, which became an NFB division during the 1997 national convention. This is what President Connie Leblond says:
I am the President of the National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs, and below are several of my recipes and one from Jeremiah Beasley. I own and operate Perspectives, Accessibility Specialists. We provide adaptive equipment and training to disabled individuals as well as providing materials in alternative format to businesses, schools, government entities, and individuals. We will also soon offer Web site design and maintenance that will be as simple or as complicated as requested. Check out our Web site at <http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/perspectives>. Thanksgiving always requires creative solutions for leftover turkey. Here is one of my favorites.
by Connie Leblond
1-1/2 cups cooked, drained spaghetti, cut into 2-inch pieces, or
2 cups cooked turkey cut into pieces
¼ cup diced bell pepper
½ cup diced onion
1 10-1/2-ounce can condensed golden mushroom soup
½ cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1-3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
½ pound sauted mushrooms
½ cup diced celery (optional)
Method: Cook and drain pasta. In casserole dish combine bell pepper, onion, turkey, soup, broth, salt, pepper, and ¾ of the grated cheddar cheese. Saute mushrooms and celery in a little butter and add to casserole, tossing lightly. Top with remaining cheese. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Serves four to six.
Cranberry Nut Coffee Cake
Dazzle business associates with this delightful delectable, and turn your meeting into an enjoyable group discussion.
1 stick margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ pint sour cream
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1 7-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
½ cup chopped walnuts
Method: Cream margarine and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add beaten eggs, one at a time. Add extract and mix. Combine dry ingredients together; then add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Grease and flour 9-inch tube pan. Pour half of batter into pan. Spread half of the cranberries over batter. Top with remaining batter and spread remaining cranberries on top. Sprinkle with walnuts. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake forty-five to fifty-five minutes. Remove cake from oven. Loosen from sides of pan and lift free to cool completely. Remove tube, keeping cake upright. Drizzle glaze over cake and serve.
¾ cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons warm water
½ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
Method: Combine all ingredients and drizzle over cake.
Holiday office parties should not be without
Eggnog Bundt Cake
1 box yellow cake mix
½ cup chopped walnuts or almonds
¼ to ½ cup candied cherries
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 ½ cups eggnog
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons rum or ¼ teaspoon rum flavoring confectioners sugar (optional)
Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease bundt pan and press chopped nuts and candied cherries on bottom and sides of pan. Combine cake mix, butter, nutmeg, eggs, eggnog, and rum or rum flavoring. Beat until smooth, four to five minutes. Pour into pan and bake forty-five to fifty minutes, until cake tests done with a tooth pick. Cool ten minutes and invert. Dust with confectioners sugar if desired.
Thai Chicken or Turkey
Quick and delicious, this dish satisfies my hungry family after business hours.
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 small onion cut in thin wedges
1 sweet red pepper, cut in thin strips
¾ pound fully cooked turkey or chicken cut into bite-size
pieces, about 3 cups
1 clove garlic, minced
hot cooked rice
sliced serono peppers for garnish
Method: In a small bowl mix water, soy sauce, honey, oil, curry powder, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes.
Stir with whisk and set aside. Spray skillet or wok generously with non-stick cooking spray. Cook onions and red pepper strips until tender. Stir in turkey or chicken and garlic. Stir in sauce. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook one minute longer. Serve over hot cooked rice and garnish with sliced serono peppers.
Cranberry Coconut Muffins
These do-ahead muffins allow busy entrepreneurs to eat on the run when necessary.
2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup buttermilk
¼ cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
Method: In bowl combine dry ingredients with 1 half cup coconut. Mix together buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir into flour mixture with cranberries that have been dusted with flour. Stir mixture just enough to blend. Pour into muffin tins or paper liners. Tins must be greased. Sprinkle batter with remaining coconut. Bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes.
This is one of my personal favorite side dishes. No more box pilaf for me!
¼ cup butter or olive oil or equal parts each
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1/3 cup crushed noodles (optional)
3 to 3 ½ cups rich chicken stock
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
pinch of allspice
Method: In large skillet or dutch oven saute onion in butter or oil until golden. Add rice and noodles if used and cook until golden brown. Stir constantly to avoid sticking. Continuing to stir, add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer twenty minutes, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Let stand a few minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Jeremiah's Crab or Shrimp Au Gratin
by Jeremiah Beasley
Jeremiah Beasley is a Board Member of the National Association of Blind Entrepreneurs. He is a computer consultant and Web master. He lives in Colorado. This is what he says about his recipe: I just love this recipe. I ordered this dish three times while at the New Orleans Convention!
1 rib celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
¼ pound (1 stick) margarine
½ cup flour
1 13-ounce can evaporated milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound crab meat or shrimp
½ cup grated cheese of your choice (I like Monterey Jack)
Method: Saute onion and celery in margarine until tender. Add flour slowly, stirring constantly. Add evaporated milk. Cook stirring until mixture thickens. Add salt and pepper. Beat a little of the hot liquid into egg yolks and return egg mixture to sauce, stirring constantly. Add crab meat (if using it) and stir. Do not let sauce boil. Pour into greased casserole dish, top with cheese, and bake at 325 degrees for twenty-five minutes. Note when using shrimp: Saute peeled, deveined shrimp with onions and celery until shrimp is nearly done. Baking later will complete the cooking of the shrimp.
1999 NFB Merchants Spring Meeting:
Don Morris, President of the Merchants Division, has asked us to carry the following announcement:
A conference cruise or Seminar at Sea will be sponsored by the Merchants Division. The conference date is April 18 to 25, 1999. In addition to program topics such as the Randolph-Sheppard ActWhat does it say? What does it mean?--and rules and regulations (while you may not think that is an exciting subject, it is the backbone of the program in which most blind vendors earn their daily bread), there will also be panels dealing with Roth and Simple IRA retirement programs for vendors and employees. We are attempting to arrange a personal guided tour of the ship's galley (kitchen for us landlubbers). In addition to a busy conference schedule, there will be plenty of time to visit beautiful ports of call, including San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; Casa de Campo; and Nassau, Bahamas.
The conference facility is the Costa Cruise Line luxury ship, the Romantica. This is an excellent ship featuring large cabins and an excellent dining room with superb service and a vast selection from which to choose. A variety of packages is available at prices ranging from $723 to $953, including the conference, room, meals, and port taxes. Air packages and baggage handling can also be arranged. For additional information contact Sue Kable at Glyndon Square Travel, (800) 875-9685. A $200-per-person deposit is required to guarantee these prices. Act now; time is of the essence.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The following equipment, including several new items, is in excellent condition for a reasonable cost: talking calculator; four- and two-track tape recorders; glucose monitor, audible Diascan with test strips and carrying case included, almost new; audible thermometer with tape manual; 386SX computer with speech, 120MB, fully loaded with WordPerfect 5.1, accounting program, database, Lotus, with scanner program (Arkenstone OpenBook 2C color scanner); and various other equipment.
Call (413) 584-0807 for prices and more details. Call between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time.
[PHOTO/CAPTION: Karen Mayry]
On August 26, 1998, Karen Mayry, President of the NFB of South Dakota, was the recipient of the Failure Is Impossible Award for her outstanding contribution to Women's Equality in South Dakota, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Women's Rights Movement. The award was sponsored by the National Women's History Project. Only six women were chosen from a field of applicants which included the lieutenant governor, who was not selected. Congratulations to Karen.
The East County San Diego Chapter of the NFB of California recently held its annual election with these results: Sheila Johnson, President; Tom Fletcher, Vice President; David House, Treasurer; Linda Gwizdak, Secretary; and Patty Gwizdak and Betty Quinones, Board Members.
Glasses and Braille Materials Needed:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Do you have sighted friends or relatives who wonder about what to do with their old glasses, besides throwing them away? Please tell them not to throw them away but give them to you. Old glasses in good condition can be sent to India, Bangladesh, and Uganda. They will be appreciated in these countries. Braille magazines are welcome too. Glasses and Braille magazines can be sent Free Matter for the Blind to Jackie Mahone, 4433 7th Avenue, Sacramento, California 95820. These items will then be sent overseas where they are needed.
Correspondence with Blind Parents Invited:
We have been asked to carry the following request:
After many years of marriage, my husband and I are now facing the possibility of starting a family with the help of medical intervention. Support from blind parents would be most helpful, which is the purpose of this request. We are both in our forties, are both blind, and live productive lives. My husband works in a local municipality and learns Talmud studies several hours daily. I work in pre- and post-marriage counseling. My husband made the exodus with the Jewish community from Beirut following the 1967 Six-Day War, and I came to Israel from the States while studying in college and decided to stay. We are both committed to our Jewish faith and take it seriously. We both have positive attitudes towards our blindness and talk about it openly. Alternative techniques have allowed us to be mobile and function as well as anyone else.
The possibility of being able to start a family has awakened within me the need to communicate with other mothers who are blind. What are the practical techniques that have helped in everyday situations? I am also interested in exploring the underlying issues of being a blind parent in the larger sighted community. Even if it turns out that our efforts are not fruitful, the exchange of ideas this correspondence could produce would for me in itself be a potentially rich and valuable learning experience.
Anyone wishing to correspond should realize I am looking for individuals who would be willing to maintain an ongoing exchange of thoughts and ideas. Braille and cassettes are my preferred methods of communication at present, although in the future computer communication may be added. If you are interested, please contact Tziporah Wishky, Rechov Harei Yehuda 74/10, Yismach Moshe, Ganei Tikva, Israel 55900.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Optacon 2, in excellent condition, barely used, accessories include extra battery pack, tracking aid, Braille manuals, and A.C. charger/adapter. Asking $2,500 or best offer. Contact S. Oswal in Braille, print, or cassette at P.O. Box 3927, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Connecticut 06117, or e-mail:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The Voicepondence Club is an international organization in which members correspond with each other by cassette. It is open to all people, with special services to its blind members, including copies of its publications on tape. Its directory of members is available on tape, in Braille, or in large print. Dues are only $5 per year. For more information contact Gail Selfridge, President, Voicepondence Club, 2373 S. York, Denver, Colorado 80210-5340.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
I have gone into a new business, Adelaide Wink's Forty Winks, making pillows. Sofa pillows, $12; neck pillows, $8;
(knitted or crocheted, square or round). Bed pillows on special orders (prices have yet to be determined): King-size pillows, queen-size pillows, single-bed pillows. Half payment requested with all orders. Postage is always extra. Please write or call and leave a message along with your name and address on voice mail, (352) 746-3087.
Christian Support Group Tape:
Adelaide Wink's Awake and Hope, a Christian support group by tape discussing many topics. Examples: round-table discussion; quiet corner (prayer requests and prayer time); penpals, make a joyful noise (hymns and spiritual songs only); my personal miracle (testimony time); Bible study; job and business ideas; seek and find (trade and sell); craft corner; cooking corner; pet corner; true needs; sponsors; book or sermon nuggets; and comments and criticisms. Available for $12 per person per year. Please write or call and leave a message, (352) 746-3087.
New Edition of How to Read Braille Music Now Available:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Opus Technologies announces the publication of a new edition of How to Read Braille Music by Bettye Krolick. First published in 1975, "How to Read Braille Music" has become the classic text used by blind music students and their parents and music teachers to learn Braille music. Written at a fifth-grade reading level, the book is designed to be both a learning tool and a continuing resource for the reader of Braille music. It contains the music symbols most frequently encountered in elementary to intermediate level music, with concise explanations of their use. An index provides a handy tool for identifying new symbols as they are found in the actual use of Braille music.
In the new edition the self-help teaching materials have been expanded with a section for guitar chords. All of the vocal examples have been updated to reflect the latest changes in the Braille music code. The material on resources is completely new, and "Tips for Sighted Music Teachers" has been added.
How to Read Braille Music, Second Edition, is published by Opus Technologies in print, in Braille, and in an interactive multimedia CD-ROM edition. The CD-ROM lets the reader use a PC to access the complete text of the book, including the examples in music and Braille notation. Audio playback is available for each example, along with detailed listings which explain the meaning of every Braille sign used in the example. Clicking a music notation symbol displays its corresponding Braille sign, and clicking a Braille sign displays what it means. Hyperlinks make navigating through the text easy. You can access index entries by Braille sign, quickly search the entire manual for specific words or Braille signs, and print or emboss any topic. The CD-ROM requires a multimedia PC with a CD-ROM drive and sound card, Windows 95 or later, and for blind users appropriate screen-access hardware and software.
Prices are $12.95 for the print edition (ISBN 1-892195-05-4), $19.95 for the Braille edition (ISBN 1-892195-06-2), and $79 for the CD-ROM edition (ISBN 1-892195-02-X), plus $5 shipping and handling per order. For additional information contact Opus Technologies at 13333 Thunderhead St., San Diego, California 92129, Phone/Fax (619) 538-9401, email: <firstname.lastname@example.org, www.opustec.com>.
Museum Tours Available:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The Jewish Museum offers a variety of services for the visually impaired and blind communities. Braille and large-print text labels for the permanent exhibition, "Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey," are available in the Goodkind Resource Center. Touch Tours have also been developed focusing on themes taken from the Museum's exhibition as follows:
The Torah: This Touch Tour explores the importance of the Torah. Through interaction with objects represented, visitors experience the content of a painting in the museum's collection depicting men and boys carrying Torah scrolls.
Shabbot: This Touch Tour examines the importance of the Sabbath in Jewish life.
Chanukah and Purim: This Touch Tour focuses on the customs, rituals, and objects used to celebrate these two historic holidays.
Additionally, in-depth descriptive tours are available on request for all Jewish Museum exhibitions. To receive further information or to schedule a Touch Tour, call (212) 423-3318.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The Canadian Foundation for Aniridia Research (CFAR) is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of aniridia and its associated conditions. Originally started in Canada, CFAR now has members in more than seven countries in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Through its U.S. resource contact Liz Dennis, CFAR provides support to the community through a quarterly newsletter, information flyers, Web site, and support online with weekly chats. Contact CFAR at 3780 Verdun Ave., Suite 2, Montreal, Quebec H4G 1K6, (514) 761-5998, e-mail <email@example.com>. Contact Liz Dennis by phone (770) 631-9333, fax (770) 631-8332, or e-mail <LizDenn@aol.com>.
At its 1998 convention the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi elected the following officers: Sam Gleese, President; Gwen Stokes, First Vice President; Wade Branum, Second Vice President; Delois Watkins, Secretary; James Prince, Treasurer; and Alfred Morgan, Robert Skillon, Ellie Barrantes, and Prentice Horton, Members of the Board of Directors.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Keynote Gold Windows compatible voice system for notebook computers. Asking $950 or best offer. Contact Gary Davis, 177 Lake Eden Road, Black Mountain, North Carolina 28711, or call (828) 686-9180.
New National Braille Press Releases:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
National Braille Press now has a large inventory of Sarah Morley's award-winning book, Windows 95 Explained, in all formats: Braille, large print, tape, and disk. This book describes fundamental Windows 95 concepts from a non-visual perspective. To complement the book are tactile diagrams of various Windows screens.
Windows 95 Explained (Braille, disk, cassette, or large print) costs $18. Windows 95 Braille & Tactile Diagrams (1 volume) costs $15. Special 2-pack price is $25.
Ever wonder what you'd do if you were mugged or assaulted? Is a blind person at greater risk? Explore these issues and more in National Braille Press's Safe Without Sight: Crime Prevention and Self-Defense Strategies for People Who Are Blind.
This book teaches you how to stay safe or, if necessary, to defend yourself. The authors include Wendy David, Ph.D., a blind clinical psychologist; Scott McCall, a blind director of a rehabilitation center where the program was developed; and Kerry Kollmar, a sighted self-defense instructor. All of the self-defense moves were described by and for blind people. The cost for Braille, tape, or disk is $14; print, $17 (includes shipping). Order from National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, or call (800) 548-7323 and charge it with your VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover Card.
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
The Braille Lite 18 I have for sale is four years old and has a July, 1995, revision. Currently the unit needs a battery replacement but should be as good as new after that. Because of the battery situation, I am asking $2,200. This price is negotiable. I have spoken with Blazie Engineering and was told that having the unit's battery replaced and the software upgraded with the latest revision would cost $125. The unit is in good condition and comes with carrying case, charger, and serial cable. If interested, call Shawn Cox at (757) 487-8363 or e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
We are pleased to announce that the Tacoma Pierce County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington was recently established. The officers are Judy Jones, President;
Walt Cone, Vice President; Ann Mary McCullough, Treasurer; and Kari Butler, Secretary.
The National Federation of the Blind of Washington held elections at the state convention. The new officers are Noel Nightingale, President; Maria Bradford, First Vice President;
Mike Freeman, Second Vice President; Albert Sanchez, Secretary;
Gary Mackenstadt, Treasurer; and Bennett Prows and Judy Jones, Board Members. Dan Frye and Mark Noble continue as Board Members.
Audio Computer Magazine, Tutorials:
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Top Dot Enterprises publishes Sound Computing, a bimonthly magazine on adaptive technology, computers, and the Internet for blind users. Each issue features recommendations of Web sites and useful software, information about new products, mini-tutorials and reviews by computer users. Subscriptions are $24 per year for the cassette edition and $19 for the RealAudio version, available for listening or download via the Internet. Back issues or sample copies of the cassette edition are $4 each.
Top Dot also sells low-cost, comprehensible recorded computer tutorials. Recent titles include Top Word 97, Top Eudora 4 (which also teaches the earlier versions), and Top Real Internet Explorer 3.02 (teaching both Internet Explorer and RealPlayer 5.0.) Ask about new titles available or forthcoming. Tutorials cost $19.50 each, plus a per-order charge of $5.
For information about Sound Computing or Top Dot tutorials, contact us at (425) 335-4894; 8930 11th Place S.E., Everett, Washington 98205; e-mail: <email@example.com>;
We have been asked to carry the following announcement:
Single-sided Porta-Thiel embosser for sale, capable of printing on both narrow and wide paper, has printed fewer than 100 pages, asking $1,500 or best offer. Call Richard Brown, (602) 933-1969.
Robert Bell writes to say that he needs a computer with speech output. Anyone who knows of organizations or individuals prepared to donate such equipment should contact him in Braille or on tape at P.O. Box 464, Parkersburg, West Virginia 26101 or call him at (304) 424-6919.
I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the programs and policies of the Federation; and to abide by its Constitution.