In our lead photo spread and throughout this issue the Braille Monitor this month commemorates Valentine's Day by recognizing some special valentines, old and young. Bob and Jennie Mahoney have been married seventy years; Bob is ninety and Jennie ninety-two. Bob remembers that "When I first put my hand on her knee, I said that's for me." They have ten children.
Bob was elected as a Wayne County commissioner and served for three years; he was then the first blind man elected to the Michigan General Assembly, serving from 1955 to 1968. He was responsible for getting a bill passed to include blind vendors in the state's pension and medical plans.
To say Jennie was busy would be an understatement. She took on the duties of a legislator's wife, raised their ten children, and started a mail order business, the Michigan Notary Service. She recalls having a phone installed next to the bathroom and taking orders by pulling the phone cord through the doorway, closing the door, and making notes by placing her slate and stylus on the back of the toilet. "It was the only place I could have the privacy I needed to work," she said. The inelegant office did not stifle the business; in one year it recorded sales topping half a million dollars.
“To remain competitive we had to mail five thousand letters a month or sixty thousand pieces a year, and, when the Federation needed help with the Braille bill, we just put our mailing apparatus to work on the challenge,” says Jennie. The couple kept the business for twenty-five years, and, when they retired, they sold it to one of their daughters, who continues to run it.
Dr. Jessica Bachicha and Jason Ewell have both grown to adulthood in the Federation. They were both NFB scholarship winners, and they both now work at the National Center for the Blind in Baltimore. They were married on October 1, 2011.
On Christmas Eve, Josh Crunkleton, who is a master’s student in the Louisiana Tech O&M Program, proposed to Stella Sun. Happily she said yes.