Editor's Introduction

Five years ago we printed What Color is the Sun, the

first volume in the Kernel Book series. Now we come to the

eleventh, Beginnings and Blueprints.

Although the previous ten and this volume contain widely

divergent subject matter they have a constant theme--what it

is like to live on a daily basis as a blind person. Just as

with the others, the stories in this book are true. They are

the firsthand accounts of blind men and women as they live and

love, work and play, laugh and cry.

The people who appear in these pages are friends of mine.

I know them through our joint efforts in the National

Federation of the Blind. We have come together to help and

encourage each other, to find other blind people who can

benefit from being part of the Federation, to participate in

joint activities for self-improvement, and to inform the

sighted public about what we are and what we are trying to do.

In short, we are changing what it means to be blind, and an

increasing number of you our readers are helping us do it.

If we are to achieve our goal, we think it must be done

with a lighter touch than preaching and statistics. That is

why we began the publication of the Kernel Books and why we

try to produce at least two of them each year. They tell of

the everyday happenings in the lives of ordinary men and

women--people just like you: a man and his children who repair

a roof, a mother who wonders what the future holds for her

daughter, and a man who likes to go fishing.

These are people who might live next door--people who go

to work, raise children, experience disappointments, make

successes, plan for the future, think about tomorrow's dinner,

wonder about taxes and wage increases, and hope for better

things ahead--people who yearn and dream, laugh and cry--just

like you.

We hope that when you read this book, you will feel that

you know those of us who appear in its pages and that you

will, in a very real sense, regard us as friends and

acquaintances. We are trying to take the mystery out of

blindness, for our lives as we lead them are not mysterious.

In many instances they could better be described as run-of-

the-mill. I say this even though I know that it is not

possible for a blind person to live a completely run-of-the-

mill life in today's society as it is currently structured.

Too many people believe we are either thoroughly helpless or

thoroughly marvelous (or perhaps both) to permit it.

Since around 50,000 people become blind in this country

each year there is a perfectly good reason for every member of

the sighted public to learn about blindness and what it is

like. It will inevitably happen to a family member, a friend,

or a neighbor.

But that is not the principal reason for you to learn

what this book has to tell. All of us (blind and sighted

alike) will have richer lives if we see each other

realistically and with understanding. It is better for all of

us to achieve our full potential than for some of us to be

left behind unnecessarily.

Above all, I hope you will enjoy this book, that you will

find it interesting and worthwhile. Beyond that, I hope you

will contact us if you need our help or want information about

blindness, or if a friend or family member needs help. The

Kernel Books are becoming a major factor in changing what it

means to be blind, and you are an important part of the

process.

Kenneth Jernigan

Baltimore, Maryland

1996

 

Why Large Type?

The type size used in this book is 14 point for two

important reasons: One, because typesetting of 14 point or

larger complies with federal standards for the printing of

materials for visually impaired readers, and we wanted to show

you what type size is helpful for people with limited sight.

The second reason is that many of our friends and

supporters have asked us to print our paperback books in 14-

point type so they too can easily read them. Many people with

limited sight do not use Braille. We hope that by printing

this book in a larger type than customary, many more people

will be able to benefit from it.