The Braille Monitor

Vol. 30, No. 5                                                                                            May 1987

Kenneth Jernigan, Editor

Published in inkprint, Braille, on talking-book disc,
and cassette by

The National Federation of the Blind
Marc Maurer, President

National Office
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
NFB Net BBS: (612) 696-1975
Web Page Address: http//

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should be sent to the National Office.

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National Federation of the Blind and sent to:

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ISSN 0006-8829


         Vol. 30, No. 5                                                                         May 1987




by Diane McGeorge


by Albert Sanchez


by Mary Main


by Donna Hemp

by Ben Prows




by Christine Boone



Copyright, National Federation of the Blind, Inc., 1987



Have you written to the National Office to make your reservations for the National Federation of the Blind convention in Phoenix this summer? Better hurry. There will be mesquite cooking, wonderful convention hotels and meeting rooms, tens of thousands of dollars of prizes (including a grand prize of $1,500 to be drawn at the banquet), stimulating program items, and the renewal of friendships and the making of new ones. Federationists will begin arriving at the convention hotel by Friday, June 26, and many will stay until Sunday, July 5. It will be a memorable convention with exciting activities. Get your reservations in, and let's get together in Phoenix.


The January, 1987, Blind Missourian (the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri) carries two articles concerning the Carol Coulter case.

The first, entitled "I'm Glad It's Over," is by Tom Stevens; and the second, entitled "'Safety' Used to Deny Opportunity: The NFB Responds," is by state President Gary Wunder. These articles are accompanied by the relevant correspondence which completes the picture.

The story is simply told. It deals with Carol Coulter, who was denied an unrestricted day care license solely on the ground that she was blind. Of course, the Federation could not permit this situation to go unchallenged, nor could we rest until it was favorably resolved. Here is the way it happened as told by Tom Stevens, Gary Wunder, and the correspondence:


I'm Glad It's Over

by Tom Stevens

That was the reaction of Carol Coulter as she commented on the controversy that had involved her for nearly a year. She was speaking of the fact that she has been issued a certificate by Missouri Division of Family Services which states that she can conduct a day care service for children 0-12 years old. That certificate is unlike an earlier one which stated: "... with a full-time assistant present at all times."

Carol and her husband Gene joined the National Federation of the Blind when they were students at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Both served their terms as Columbia Chapter president and were active in the student organization. After graduation in 1982 Carol spent almost two years seeking a job and becoming a mother, "... which slowed down looking for a job." In April of 1984 she took a job as a social worker with Missouri Division of Family Services and resigned a year later to take a job at a day care center. She was the lead teacher at the center, supervising one adult worker and nine infants.

After Carol had made the application, a DFS worker named Mary C. Parker came to the Coulter home to look things over. There seemed to be no problem, but Carol was concerned.

When the first certificate was issued, it had the infamous restriction requiring her to have a sighted attendant. Carol wrote a request for clarification and received a letter (reprinted later in this article).

Even though she had a limited certificate, Carol wasted no time in getting her business started. Employing a full-time sighted assistant, she found business somewhat slow.

Meanwhile an appeal was made to the Office for Civil Rights. There were visits from an OCR representative and from others working for DFS. Carol believes "The questions they asked could have been asked of anyone, and no question about blindness was asked." The eight-month wait ended in mid- November of 1986 with the unrestricted certificate.

The necessity for an assistant was highly uneconomical. "Basically, I was doing the day care for nothing," noted Carol.

Presence of NFB

How did the NFB help? "Mostly by supporting. If I had not been a member, I might have given up. But I knew that if I let the restriction stand, they might do the same thing to someone else."

When she joined the NFB several years ago Carol had no idea that she might need the assistance and support that the NFB has provided in this case. She did not ask what the "country" could do for her. Instead, she has assisted others. Fortunately, because of her prior preparation, we of the NFB were there. That is our way.


"Safety" Used to Deny Opportunity The NFB Responds

by Gary Wunder

In last year's presidential report I mentioned Carol Coulter and her difficulty with the Division of Family Services (DFS). Although Carol is certified to teach school, the Division of Family Services determined that she could be licensed to provide day care for children only if she had an assistant on duty at all times. The letter from the Division states very clearly just how limited blind people are considered to be. It states that children sometimes fight and that Carol would not know that a fight was in progress and would not know which child or children were in need of care. It also says that children sometimes require medication and raises concerns about Carol's ability to administer it. The letter assumes that the only method a blind person might use is to place a bottle in a specific location and then speculates that someone might move the bottle or bottles, and children might be given the wrong medication.

Shortly after the state convention the NFB of Missouri filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights alleging discrimination on the basis of blindness. We said that the failure fully to license Carol was discriminatory because (1) there was no reasonable basis for issuing a restricted license and (2) the action was detrimental to Carol because it increased her cost of doing business. In fact, the need for an assistant made the business unprofitable unless Carol cared for six or more children.

After eight months of negotiating and waiting, the Division of Family Services has rendered its decision. Carol has won a complete victory. She is fully licensed with no restriction or requirement for an assistant.

The correspondence speaks for itself, but I have some additional thoughts. The Coulter case shows just how much we can accomplish when we set our minds to a task. Collectively, we are a strong and vital movement. Part of why we are strong has to do with courage, and there is no better example of courage to be found than in the case of Gene and Carol Coulter. Gene works for the Division of Family Services, the very agency we brought action against. The Coulter family risked their very livelihood to do what was right, and in part they did this because they believed that the National Federation of the Blind would see that justice prevailed.

The business of helping blind people is no game. Our impact on the lives of blind people is enormous, and the consequences of our action or inaction are both frightening and encouraging. If we do not take action, Carol and other blind persons are excluded from providing day care services. Where there is no NFB, it is frightening to think that another opportunity for gainful self-employment is denied. The strangling noose of unemployment is tightened.

When we of the NFB enter into these cases, there is great reason for optimism. We play the game seriously. The final victory is ours when we have the courage and the determination to take it.


Jefferson City, Missouri March 11, 1986

Dear Ms. Coulter:

This is to advise you that after a study and evaluation of your day care facility a Certificate of License is enclosed and being issued as follows: 6 children, ages infant through 12 years with no more than 3 under age 2 including only 2 under age 1, with a full-time assistant present at all times (daytime care only). This License is issued to you effective March 3, 1986, through January 31, 1987. It is not transferable.

Your facility has been assigned #000201776. Please use this number on any correspondence with our office.

It is our plan to continue to visit your day care facility during the year, not only to help you continue to meet licensing rules, but also to offer suggestions for improving your child care practice. The services of the Licensing Representative are always available to you.

Licensing rules require that the Certificate of License be posted inside near the entrance of the facility where it may be easily seen by parents or others who visit.

You have the responsibility to be aware of and comply with all applicable zoning, building, fire, and safety requirements. The issuance of this license does not supersede these local requirements.

We appreciate your cooperation in helping us determine your eligibility for licensure, and we look forward to working with you.

Sincerely, Pat A. Wojciehowski
Acting State Supervisor Licensing Unit
Division of Family Services


Jefferson City, Missouri
March 20, 1986

Dear Ms. Coulter:

I have received and reviewed your March 13, 1986, letter. As you recall, you requested an explanation on why it was necessary to specify that you have a full-time assistant present at all times. You also stated a licensed provider may care for up to six (6) children without an assistant present.

According to the licensing summary provided by Ms. Parker, she states you are legally blind with correctable vision to 20/200. After consultation with her supervisor and myself, it is felt that for the safety of the children an assistant needs to be present in the home at all times.

The decision was based on the fact that should an emergency situation arise, for example a fire, an assistant would be able to aid you in finding the children, so they could be evacuated from your facility.

We also based the decision on the fact that should a child need medication, you may not be able to tell if you are providing the proper medication to the child. For example, a mother provides medication for her child and signs the forms so you may give the child the medication. You place it in a safe container. Inadvertently it gets moved. How could you tell if this was the correct medication for the child? An assistant could provide the assurance the child is receiving the proper medication.

Another factor in making the decision was how would you tell if two children in the same proximity need assistance? Again, an assistant could provide you with the information on which child needed your assistance.

We have a similar situation in another part of the state. The provider has an assistant present at all times, and it is working very well. It is good to see other interested people like yourself providing day care to children in your area. It is often a difficult task and requires many long hours as you well know.

I hope I have answered your questions. Should you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact your Licensing Representative, Mary Caroline Parker.

Sincerely, Pat Wojciehowski


Jefferson City, Missouri November 19, 1986

Dear Mrs. Coulter:

This is to advise you that after study and evaluation of your day care facility it has been determined that you comply with day care licensing rules without the requirement of employing a full-time assistant. Therefore, this condition has been removed from your license to operate a day care home. A new Certificate of License is being issued as follows: 6 children, ages infant through 12 years with no more than 3 under age 2 including only 2 under age 1 (daytime care only).

I wish to thank you and Mr. Wunder for your cooperation and assistance in helping us determine your eligibility for licensure without an assistant.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this matter.

Sincerely, Jerry Simon
Assistant Deputy Director Children's Services


by Diane McGeorge

This article appears in the Winter, 1986, issue of News and Views, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado. It emphasizes once again the impact which the National Federation of the Blind can have on the lives of blind individuals and why it is important for the blind person to participate on a daily basis in the activities of the Federation at the local chapter and state affiliate level, as well as nationally. If someone (in fact, a great many someones) had not worked in previous years to build and strengthen the Federation, it would not have been vigorous enough and knowledgeable enough to help Bill Saker when he needed it. Here is the article:

Bill Saker came to his first NFB of Denver Chapter meeting about four years ago. He was then a student at the University of Denver, studying to become a clinical psychologist. He was first introduced to the organization by Betsy Zaborowski, and although Bill came to the chapter meetings from time to time I don't think he really felt that the NFB was an organization which would be of much importance in his life. He was a busy student and didn't have time to bother with monthly chapter meetings or the drudgery of the daily routine of participation.

Bill moved to Boston in 1983 to enroll in his internship program in order to obtain his doctoral degree in psychology. Betsy was also in her internship at another hospital in the Boston area, and when we were NAC tracking she brought Bill to the picket line and talked with him about why we were demonstrating against the oppression of NAC. While in Boston Bill became an active member of our Cambridge Chapter. He returned to Denver in June of 1985 and in February of 1986 began employment with Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital.

During our recent state convention we discussed the Bill Saker case during that agenda item entitled "The National Federation of the blind in Action." Bill had been notified by Social Security that the stipend he received during his internship would be considered salary. Once again, as in Wayne Miller's case, he was ordered to repay a substantial amount of money.

On October 1, 1986, a hearing took place before the Administrative Law Judge in Denver. "The NFB is the authority on Social Security regulations concerning the blind, and that information became invaluable in presenting the facts accurately during my hearing," Bill said. On November 25 Bill received a favorable decision from Judge Rucker. We quote the decision in part:



1. The claimant was found to be disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act beginning on August 22, 1975.

2. The claimant's impairment was, and still remains, statutory blindness.

3. The claimant, during 1983, was a clinical psychology intern at the Boston Veteran's Administration Center.

4. The Veteran's Administration Hospital provides a stipend for all interns in the amount of $10,000.00 which is not related to the services rendered by the students during their internship (which is a mandatory aspect of their curricula for the doctor's degree in clinical psychology).

5. The claimant's internship during 1983 does not constitute substantial gainful activity within the meaning of this Act and Regulations.

6. The claimant's disability ceased in December, 1985, when he first demonstrated his ability to engage in substantial gainful activity.



Danbury, Connecticut
February 5, 1987

Mr. Frank Kurt Cylke
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Cylke:

In the handcopied Braille version of the American Presidency by Richard M. Pious a transcriber's note appears. It states that all footnotes will be omitted because the works cited "are unavailable."

I had thought that the issue of abridging books was settled long ago in favor of completeness. It seems self- evident to me that footnotes deemed helpful to the sighted would be of equal value to the blind. I have observed that if a blind person wants to read a book, he or she will find a way to get it read.

Is the omission of footnotes from Braille books a matter of NLS policy, or is this one instance an aberration? Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely, Richard Fox


Washington, D.C. February 18, 1987

Dear Mr. Fox:

Thank you for your letter of February 5, 1987, about the omission of footnotes in the Braille edition of American Presidency. I can assure you this was indeed an aberration.

On investigation my staff found that this book had been transcribed in 1979 by volunteers. The NLS Technical Standards used by volunteer organizations in the transcription of Braille titles for this agency state that no omissions can be made without a justifiable reason and prior approval by the NLS contract monitor. If an omission has to be made, the following statement must appear at the end of the table of contents page in the first volume: "This Braille edition contains the entire text of the print edition except ---." This is the only statement which should appear--certainly not such a comment as you found about books not being available.

I believe the aberration in this instance happened because the work done by volunteer transcribers, as well as our quality assurance of titles produced for the program by these individuals or groups, was not enforced to the extent it could have been prior to 1982--due to personnel shortages. Since that time strict monitoring of volunteer contracts and quality assurance have been instituted here at NLS, and mistakes of this type are not tolerated.

I have directed my staff to have American Presidency produced in its entirety as press Braille. The title received excellent reviews when it was published and should be in our national collection. The Braille edition could be available to you within the year.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Sincerely yours, Frank Kurt Cylke


by Albert Sanchez

As Federationists know, the NFB of Washington has for the past two years been deeply involved in the Jackie Galloway situation (see Braille Monitor for November, 1985, and December, 1986). At the same time we have been active to achieve equality and fairness under the White Cane Law of the state of Washington for dog guide users in a different part of our state.

Last June at the installation luncheon for the newly elected officers of the Greater Seattle Chapter one of the agenda items was a talk given by Pat Ostenson from the Seattle Aquarium. One of the things that she told us about was the availability of a cassette tape that included reading and descriptions of the various displays along the tour.

Then, as often happens, the other shoe fell when she began telling us about their policy regarding dog guides. The veterinary and biological departments had determined that it was dangerous to the aquatic life residing in some parts of the aquarium to allow dogs in the immediate vicinity. The policy went on to define two solutions to the matter:

(1) Dog guide users would be restricted to certain "safe" segments of the tour and be able to keep their dogs with them; or

(2) If the dog guide users insisted upon taking the complete tour, they would be required to be separated from their dog (which would be taken care of by a staff person) while the blind person was taken (by another staff person) through those portions of the tour that were restricted to the dog.

As it can be imagined, when it came time for questions and comments from the audience the overall view was expressed that neither of these so-called solutions was acceptable and that in fact the policy might be in violation of the White Cane Law.

After much discussion state president Gary Mackenstadt directed the NFB of Washington Dog Guide Committee to work with the aquarium to try and resolve the differences.

In November, as chairman of that committee, I met with Mr. John McMahon, director, and other department heads of the aquarium. Our meeting was cordial, and as the attached memorandum indicates, very productive. Just another reason--Why the National Federation of the Blind.



December 17, 1986
TO: All Staff
FROM: John McMahon
RE: New Dog Guide Policy

At a recent meeting held at the request of Al Sanchez of the National Federation of the Blind we reviewed Aquarium policy which closed the marine mammal area to dog guides.

The following individuals attended that meeting: Mr. Sanchez, C.J. Casson, Pat Ostenson, Robert Anderson, and myself.

In preparation for that meeting I obtained information about dog guide policy from: New England Aquarium, New York Aquarium, National Aquarium in Baltimore, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Shedd Aquarium. None of these facilities had a policy as restrictive as ours and, more importantly, none had any difficulties due to dog guides (and in one case, untrained pet dogs) in their marine mammal areas.

Also, in preparation for the meeting C.J. Casson reviewed current information regarding virus (parvovirus) transmission with our veterinarian, Dr. Karesh.

After a discussion of the training and health care requirements of dog guides by Mr. Sanchez, C.J. Casson recommended that Seattle Aquarium policy be changed. After additional discussion it was the consensus of the group that Seattle Aquarium policy be changed so as not to restrict visually impaired visitors or hinder their mobility in the marine mammal areas.

Therefore, effective immediately, Seattle Aquarium policy is to offer visually impaired visitors accompanied by dog guides the same access to Seattle Aquarium facilities as sighted visitors. Our former restrictions which did not permit dog guides in the marine mammal areas no longer apply.

We appreciate your compliance with this new policy. If you have any questions, please let me know.



(This article by Gaynell Terrell appeared in the February 10, 1987, Clarion (Mississippi) Ledger. It shows what can be done when the blind work with purpose and determination. As Federationists know, Sam Gleese is President of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi, and E. U. Parker is a past president and one of the leaders of the organization. Here is what the article says.)

Advocates for the blind say the state should strengthen regulations prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against blind persons who seek to buy life, accident, or health insurance.

And on Monday they took their case to the state Insurance Department.

"The proposed regulation would benefit blind persons in the state of Mississippi tremendously," said Sam Gleese, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi.

The Insurance Department held a hearing on a proposed model law supporting the right of blind persons to buy life, health, and accident insurance at the same price as sighted persons. Interested parties have five days to submit written material for or against the proposal. The state then has thirty days to decide whether to put it into effect.

The Mississippi Association of Life Underwriters supports the model law.

Officials with the state's vocational rehabilitation for the blind estimate 8,281 persons in Mississippi have been declared legally blind, the largest number of blind persons per capita in the nation. About 755 new cases of blindness are reported in the state each year. Many of these, advocates for the blind say, have trouble getting insurance.

In 1976 Mississippi became one of the first states to adopt regulations preventing discrimination against the blind by insurance companies. State Insurance Commissioner George Dale said the proposed regulation would be "more far- reaching" and in line with stronger rules adopted by other states.

Dale said insurance companies haven't proven that blind persons are a greater risk for life or health insurance policies, and until they do should not deny insurance to the blind. He said the proposed regulation will make it unlawful to deny insurance because of blindness or charge the blind higher rates.

E. U. Parker, 64, a State Farm Insurance agent in Laurel, has been blind since the age of eleven. He said insurance companies have historically been reluctant to underwrite insurance policies for the blind. "The problem is that underwriters are people. They have prejudices just like everybody else."

"Your better companies quit this type of discrimination in the last fifteen years. We've made great progress, but we haven't gotten there yet," he said.

Gleese said his case is one such example. When he sought health insurance for himself, his sighted wife, and daughter a year ago he was told he was a poor risk.

"They would insure my wife and daughter, but not me," he said. Since then the company, Western Fidelity, has written coverage for Gleese and his family.



by Mary Main

(This article appeared in the December, 1986, Slate and Style, the publication of the Writers' Division of the National Federation of the Blind. Mary Main is a published author. She is a leader of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut. She is a dedicated member of the movement. Beyond all of this, she is charming, witty, intelligent, down to earth, and just plain fun. Federationists will remember her presentation at the NFB convention in Louisville in 1985. Here is what she has to say (perhaps too modestly) about her career as a writer.)

Only now when I am coming to the end of my writing career do I realize how unprofessional a writer I am. I knew nothing about writing when I began. I regarded it as a pastime, a pleasant escape from the realities of life. That eventually I was able to publish half a dozen books and a number of short stories and articles was due very largely to luck.

I began trying to sell my stories while I was still living in Buenos Aires, sending them overseas to London magazines. They were all returned, after several months, for the voyage took three weeks. Sometimes they came with an encouraging note; once with a strip of apple peel between the pages. Well, I thought, at least the office boy has read my story.

Only after I had come to live in New York, at about the time of Pearl Harbor, did my luck change. The timing was right. The short story was much, much more in demand then than it is now, and many of the young writers were in the army or doing war work.

I, having been born in Argentina, was considered suspect and not eligible for war work. I volunteered for work in a children's hospital, which left me plenty of time for my writing. When I sold a story to a church magazine for four dollars, I thought I had it made--and so it seemed. A few months later I sold a story to Colliers Magazine for four hundred dollars. I had in the meantime acquired an agent, and here again I was in luck. Helen Strauss, who was to become one of the most successful literary agents in New York, had recently joined the William Morris Agency and was on the lookout for new writers. Under her guidance my stories sold--spasmodically to be sure--to the slick magazines. It was too easy, or so I thought.

Because I sat at my desk for three or four hours a day, seven days a week, I thought I was a professional writer. I was not. Of course, the best way to learn to write is to sit down and write, but there is much more to it than that. I should have begun many years before accumulating that knowledge and experience which is to the writer what weightlifting is to the athlete or worms to the fisherman, and I should have written it all down. Memory is not to be trusted for those specific details which, when used with discretion, are what make a story convincing. Life in Argentina had given me a splendidly rich background for my writing, but I had not made full use of it. I had not been inquisitive enough. I had not asked enough questions. I had not observed how other people live and work. I had not listened to the rhythms of their speech. When I came to write, details were missing, and my first impressions (which should have been retrieved from a diary) had lost their freshness.

I have not found that reading my manuscripts to my friends has been of much use. They were all too anxious not to hurt my feelings. On the other hand the criticisms of my editor or my agent, although often as chilling as a mid- March plunge in the ocean, were invaluable.

Most of what I have learned about writing I have learned from reading other people's books. I have always been an omnivorous reader. I read for pleasure, which is, after all, the best way to read. But I did not keep my own writing in view. I did not study style and technique. I did not decide whether I wanted to write romantic novels, suspense stories, or biographies and read the best in the field. Indeed, I never did decide what sort of book I meant to write. I wrote largely for my own pleasure, which is not perhaps the best way to write.

Only when I began to read the biographies of other writers did I realize how much experience, knowledge, scholarship, and plain hard work went into their writing and gave so much depth and richness to it. Daunting as this discovery was, not only did I find these biographies of absorbing interest, but they excited and stimulated me. They made me want to sit down and begin all over again. How much I wish I could.

Had I been less lazy--and I must confess laziness was at the bottom of my lack of professionalism--I might have built up an audience for my stories before fiction became so much more difficult to sell. However, limited as my success has been, I have never regretted becoming a writer. To be sure it is a most difficult way to earn a living, but it has given another dimension to my life. It has added immensely to my interest in and understanding of the world around me, particularly of people.

Young or old, charming or detestable, brilliant or boring, people are all grist to the author's mill. Their feelings, their fears, their failures, their foibles, are all threads to be woven into that secret tapestry from which one day a story may emerge.

Editor's note: Write to Mary Main at: Old Mill Lane, Stamford, Connecticut 06902.


Rita Lynch is one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Missouri. Her story symbolizes the accomplishments which can be made when the positive force of the National Federation of the Blind combines with the ambition and personal determination of the individual. Earlier this year Rita sent a letter to the National Office of the Federation, telling of her experience with the Federation and also of her experience with the state agency. With her letter she sent a newspaper article. If one read the article without reference to the letter, it would give a different picture of the state agency from the one which emerges when the article is taken in context. Here in part is what Rita says:


Jefferson City, Missouri January 23, 1987

Dear Dr. Jernigan:

I am writing to explain the enclosed newspaper clipping. It appeared in the Sunday, January 18, issue of the Jefferson City News and Tribune. It pretty well explains the past year for me. This may not seem like much of an achievement to most people, but I am proud of it myself. I feel that I have come a long way in the past five years. In early 1982 I never would have dreamed of how far I would come in just this short period of time. Now I feel very optimistic about the future.

It all started when Barbara Cheadle called me to come to an informational meeting about blindness sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind. There is so very much I could say about how the NFB has changed my life, but I feel you already know that. I feel for those blind persons who do not know about the Federation and those who do not realize the importance of adding their strength to our movement. In December of 1984 when I came to the Leadership Seminar at our National Office I was and am so proud of it. I am very proud to be a Federationist and will continue to do all I can to further our cause.

It was not easy getting the state agency here in Missouri to help me with my training by providing the equipment I needed, but I kept after them and even had to go to the top to get some action. I felt the strength of the Federation behind me. I am so very grateful to all those who have made it possible for us to have an organization which affects the lives of the blind so greatly. I shudder to think what it would be like without our organization. I realize, though, how important it is that we all do everything we can to keep this movement alive. As you say, we must work for those who will need the Federation after us. I am ready, willing, and anxious at any time to do whatever I can for our cause.

Sincerely, Rita Lynch


January 18, 1987

Vocational Training Pays Off For Blind Student

Rita Lynch, wife and mother, has decided to go for it in the computer office world! She is enrolled in Office Technology at Nichols Career Center. Rita is blind.

After she started losing her sight, soon after her high school graduation, the organization National Federation of the Blind (NFB) helped her build confidence and gave her courage to step out to join the working world. She is Vice President (and past president) of the Jefferson City Chapter of the NFB and serves as chairperson for the state legislative committee.

"Now that my children are all in school, I made the decision to get more training for a future career," says Rita. Since January, 1986, she has been working towards the competencies that would provide her with the skills as an office secretary-receptionist.

Skills that she has acquired over the past year at Nichols Career Center including typing memos, business reports; and tabulations; records management; filing systems (she has her own Braille system); reprographic systems; customer services; and accounting systems. Her clerk-typist skills, spelling, and grammatical proficiency have continued to improve....

The Bureau for the Blind provides Rita with an IBM personal computer with a special voice output device so that she can "proofread" the text she produces. Another piece of equipment the bureau provides is a special calculator that sounds out numbers as she enters data and then speaks back the total. She will use this equipment not only to continue her training but also later on the job.

Nichols Career Center has also trained her on the transcriber, and Rita can produce mailable copies from tapes and dictation.

"With Rita's skill in office procedures and word processing and with her special attitude, she will make someone an excellent employee," says Arlene Broeker, instructor at Nichols....

Mrs. Lynch is a very busy lady, wife, mother, student, community leader, and soon-to-be secretary-receptionist. She looks forward to the new year and to her future employment.


by Donna Hemp

(As Federationists know, Donna Hemp was for a number of years President of the National Federation of the Blind of North Dakota. She resigned from that position only after the plant where she was working closed, and she moved to Minnesota to take another job. The following article appeared in the Fall, 1986, Minnesota Bulletin, the official publication of the National Federation of the Blind of Minnesota. It causes one to ponder about the worthwhileness of the rehabilitation system in the United States as it is currently structured. It also causes one to have second thoughts about the pleas we have heard so insistently for the past few years from some of the agency leaders that we all get together to support the agency system and see that it continues to receive increasing amounts of federal and state money. Donna Hemp's story speaks eloquently, not only about the rehabilitation system but also about the National Federation of the Blind. What would have happened to her if there had not been a strong NFB? Here is how she tells it, followed by a note from the Editors of the Minnesota Bulletin.)

High school was in the past, and it was now time to begin the task of training for my first love. I wanted to be a machinist.

Most people told me I was nuts, but I was able to convince my Minnesota State Services for the Blind counselor to give me the chance either to succeed or fail just like anybody else. The counselor recommended a vocational school, but the instructor's attitude toward blindness was beyond archaic. I then persuaded my counselor to let me choose the school.

I called many, many schools, interviewing their directors and machining instructors until I found DAVTI, the Duluth Area Vocational Technical Institute. The director there was so positive. He told me that DAVTI had the greatest instructor. He went on to say that if it can be done, this man, Mr. Dietrick, would teach me all I needed to know.

Mr. Dietrick was an excellent instructor. He had more patience than anyone I have ever known. He helped me when necessary, but his philosophy was to train me to be able to do the work just like anyone else.

I completed what was to have been an eighteen-month course in nine months. The instructor decided to keep me in school and let me practice on the machines until I secured a job. He felt it would keep my skills sharp so that I would have no hesitancy which could scare a potential employer away.

The State Services for the Blind placement people in St. Paul didn't take my readiness to find a job seriously. It became apparent to both DAVTI and me that I would have to take action to force SSB to wake up and get with it. I was given the tip that I should write to a U. S. Senator or Congressman for help. I wrote to the late Senator Hubert Humphrey, because I felt he would be the most enlightened about how people should treat the handicapped. I received a letter from the Senator seven days after I sent mine to him. He assured me that he would get right on it for me. He did just that. Two of the SSB placement people arrived in Duluth almost immediately. They informed my instructor that one of them was to go into Minnesota and the other to North Dakota. Their orders were not to return to St. Paul until they had found me a job. One of the placement men admitted to my instructor that SSB had gotten what it had coming.

Two weeks later I went to work for a wonderful man in a small town in North Dakota called Rugby. Karl Wiederoder was almost a carbon copy of my instructor. The point is, until the serious searching began I could and would not have known that Karl existed.

It looked as if I was settled for life. The company, Rugby Hydraulics, manufactured hydraulic cylinders for farm machinery. The bottom fell out of the agricultural economy. I, after eight and one-half years, found myself unemployed because Rugby Hydraulics was no more.

I contacted the North Dakota Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to obtain help in locating another job. It would have been easier to explain Minnesota's actions when I was looking for my first job than it was when North Dakota DVR did the very same thing. I tried everything to get DVR to help. First of all they made me take a physical examination. Secondly, my counselor asked me where he should begin looking. He had no idea that he should get a list of machining associations from the public library.

This went on for seven months. I then wrote to Senator Quentin Burdick for help. He found the North Dakota agency in such a state of confusion that his office told me I would need to talk with state senators about passing legislation to clean up the agency. It was the U.

S. Senator's feeling that the state senators could do more, since the problem seemed to be more within the confines of state government.

I did just that. I contacted both State Senator William Parker and State Representative Gene Watne. I also contacted the Minot Daily News and a local television station. I was angry because I felt I had already proven myself capable. I had excellent recommendations from DAVTI, my former employer, and from workers' compensation. That's right. I even had to have a special letter proving to employers that I was a safe worker, even though I had worked for Rugby Hydraulics for eight and one-half years.

The DVR people bungled badly in their responses to the news reporter. They told him that all the jobs were on the East Coast. Then they told him they were going to take me to Minneapolis to seek a job. They went on to say that the reason they had made me take the physical exam was that handicapped people's health changes about every two months. Needless to say, they did not come off looking too smart.

When DVR finally started helping, I was asked a lot of strange questions by prospective employers. I was asked questions such as: How can you prove your safety record? Are you sick a lot because you're blind? Are you strong enough? Can you learn? What do we do with you if you cut yourself? How will you find the bathroom? And on and on and on.

After seven grueling interviews within a two-day period we found what looks to me to be another excellent machine shop called Kurt Manufacturing in Minneapolis. I can't believe it. They did not ask me one of those wild questions. They never even called Karl, my past employer. They were open and honest about how they felt. They called me back for a second interview, and two hours later they offered me a job! Meeting people like Karl and the people at Kurt make it all worthwhile.

If it had not been for the constant support and the uplifting words from the people in the National Federation of the Blind, I am almost certain I would not have held up through all of this.

Note: Donna Hemp, who was the President of the National Federation of the Blind of North Dakota when she lived in Rugby, has been working at the Kurt Manufacturing Company in Minneapolis since August 25, 1986. All is going well at work, and Minnesotans are pleased to welcome Donna and her husband John to our midst. How many others like Donna have sought assistance from the rehabilitation agency for the blind in learning about blindness or in finding employment? How often have we encountered negativism, delay, and disappointment? Why is it that agency administrators demand that we work with them, and at the same time they complain that we ask too much of them?



by Ben Prows

(This article appeared in the Winter, 1986-87 issue of the Blind Washingtonian, the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Washington. Ben Prows needs no introduction to Federationists. He is one of the long-time leaders of the NFB of Washington.)

Ever since the NFB persuaded the state legislature to upgrade the Washington State School for the Blind by taking it out of the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, Governor Gardner's office has been interested in reorganizing state services for the blind for more efficient administration. To that end Kathy Sullivan, representing the Governor's office, called representatives of organizations of the blind and deaf community together for "explore options" during the summer and fall of 1986. The NFB was the only organization of the blind to be represented at both of the meetings in Olympia, though some other groups met for the first session during July.

During the fall of 1986 rumors flourished, and indeed were nourished by Paul Dziedzic, Director of the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind (WSSB), that the Governor supported a proposal to put the state School for the Blind under the Department. At one point it was clear that Mr. Dziedzic wanted some administrative control of the School for the Blind.

The NFB did not favor this proposal. We championed the position that the school had just been reorganized, and the legislation passed in 1985 should be given a chance to work rather than putting the state school through another reorganization. In addition, we were not at all certain that WSSB could adequately provide the necessary expertise to the educational system, since it has some house cleaning of its own to perform.

Thus, we were pleasantly surprised on November 3, 1986, when the Director of the Washington State Services for the Blind announced to a crowded advisory committee meeting held in Seattle that the Governor's office had decided to drop any proposed changes in the structure of the state organization for the School for the Blind. WSSB would not be getting any administrative responsibility for the school. Mike Freeman, the NFB representative to the WSSB advisory committee, moved that the committee commend the Governor for the decision, and the motion was unanimously passed. It was clear from that meeting that the blind community was united, at least for the present, in its opinion that the legislation currently in effect concerning the state School for the Blind should be given a chance. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction should be made to recognize that education of the blind children of the state of Washington is vital. The NFB will work with SPI to insure that the issues of education of the blind are understood so that the lives of all blind persons will be improved. We support the current administrative structure of the School for the Blind and WSSB.



On March 29, 1906, Mark Twain presided at a meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. The purpose of the meeting was to raise funds for the New York State Association for Promoting the Interests of the Blind. Twain's address (as reported in a collection of his speeches) [1] contains most of the worst stereotypes about blindness.

The blind live in darkness. It is dismal to be blind--dismal at best. It is the responsibility of the community to find something that the blind can do to occupy their time so that it will not be so "irksome." By implication the blind can only work with their hands, and even then, it is primarily so that they can feel that they are not objects of charity. The blind are "sufferers," most of whom once had sight, so they now miss the light. The blind make things (we wonder if he means it) better than the sighted, and they are more honest than the sighted. Twain knows exactly what it is like to be blind because on a very dark night he once got lost in a large room and couldn't find his way back to bed for several hours.

Of course, Mark Twain was not more unenlightened than the average educated person of his day. Rather, he typified the attitudes of the time. It is instructive to compare the notions of 1906 with the notions of 1987. It is also interesting to note that most of the members of Twain's audience at the Waldorf on that night in 1906 were blind. How would a large audience of the blind of today react to Twain's speech? Sometimes the best way to determine how far we have come is to pick a point in the past and see where we were then. Certainly we who are blind have made tremendous progress in the twentieth century, and most of us would have no trouble identifying the principal vehicle of change. Of course, it is and has been the National Federation of the Blind. Here for comparison and contrast with 1987 is what Mark Twain said in 1906:

Speech as Presiding Officer

Public Meeting of the New York State Association for Promoting the Interests of the Blind Hotel Waldorf-Astoria March 29, 1906

If you detect any awkwardness in my movements and infelicities in my conduct, I will offer the explanation that I never presided at a meeting of any kind before in my life, and that I do find it out of my line. I supposed I could do anything anybody else could, but I recognize that experience helps, and I do feel the lack of that experience. I don't feel as graceful and easy as I ought to be in order to impress an audience. I shall not pretend that I know how to umpire a meeting like this, and I shall just take the humble place of the Essex band.

Some twenty-five years ago there was a great gathering in a New England town. There were orators and singers and all sorts of things. It was really an extraordinary occasion. The little local paper went into ecstasies in trying to do justice to it and in praising the speakers, the militia companies, the bands, and everything else. Toward the end the writer ran out of adjectives and phrases of glorification, and then found that he had one band left over. He had to say something about it, so he simply added: "The Essex band done the best it could."

I am the Essex band of this occasion, but I'll do the best I can, with good intentions. I've got all the documents of the objects of this association and this meeting and a lot of statistics, but I never could do anything with figures. The multiplication table is the only mathematics I know, and as soon as I get up to nine times seven I don't know that--84, I think it is. I can't even figure on the name for the society, it is so long. I would write it out for you to take home with you, but I can't spell it, and Andrew Carnegie is somewhere down in Virginia.

This association, which is in the hands of very energetic and capable persons, who will surely push it to success, has for its purpose to search out all the blind and find work for them to do so that they can earn their own bread. Now it is dismal enough to be blind--it is dreary, dreary life at best, but it is a life that can be largely ameliorated if we can find something for them to do with their hands and to relieve them of the sense that they subsist on charity, and often reluctant charity. It is the only way we can turn their night into day and give them happy hearts.

Most of these sufferers have seen the light and know how to miss it, and it is for us to relieve their dreary lives by teaching them the many profitable industries they can pursue. That association from which this draws its birth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has taught its blind to make many things. They make them better than most people, and more honest than people who have the use of their eyes. The goods they make are readily salable. People like them. And so they are supporting themselves, and it is a matter of cheer, cheer. They pass their time now not too irksomely as they formerly did.

What this association needs and wants is $15,000. The figures are set down, and what the money is for, and there is no graft in it or I wouldn't be here. And they hope to beguile that out of your pockets, and you will find affixed to the program an opportunity, that little blank which you will fill out and promise so much money now or tomorrow or some time. Then, there is another opportunity which is still better, and that is that you shall subscribe an annual sum.

I have invented a good many useful things in my time, but never anything better than that of getting money out of people who don't want to part with it. It is always for good objects, of course. This is the plan: When you call upon a person to contribute to a great and good object, and you think he should furnish about $1,000, he disappoints you as like as not. Much the best way to work him to supply that thousand dollars is to split it into parts and contribute, say, a hundred dollars a year, or fifty, or whatever the sum may be. Let him contribute ten or twenty a year. He doesn't feel that, but he does feel it when you call upon him to contribute a large amount. When you get used to it you would rather contribute than borrow money.

I tried it in Helen Keller's case. Mr. Hutton wrote me in 1896 or 1897 when I was in London and said: "The gentleman who has been so liberal in taking care of Helen Keller had died without making provision for her in his will, and now they don't know what to do." They were proposing to raise a fund, and he thought $50,000 enough to furnish an income of $2,400 or $2,500 a year for the support of that wonderful girl and her wonderful teacher, Miss Sullivan, now Mrs. Macy. I wrote to Mr. Hutton and said: "Go on, get up your fund. It will be slow, but if you want quick work, I propose this system," the system I speak of, of asking people to contribute such and such a sum from year to year and drop out whenever they please, and he would find there wouldn't be any difficulty, people wouldn't feel the burden of it. And he wrote back saying that he had raised the $2,400 a year indefinitely by that system in a single afternoon. We would like to do something just like that tonight. We will take as many checks as you care to give. You can leave your donations in the big room outside.

Now, I want you who have sight to know what it means, what a calamity it is, to be blind, to be in the dark. I know what it is to be blind. I was blind once. I shall never forget that experience. I have been as blind as anybody ever was for three or four hours, and the sufferings that I endured and the mishaps and the accidents that are burning in my memory make my sympathy rise when I feel for the blind and always shall feel. It occurred after an excursion from Heidelberg to a medieval town about twenty miles away. I took a clergyman along with me, the Reverend Joseph Twichell, of Hartford, who is still among the living despite that fact. I always like a minister with me on an excursion. He makes a fine lightning rod for such excursions as the one we made. The Reverend Twichell is one of those people filled with patience and endurance, two good ingredients for a man traveling with me, so we got along very well together. We went up by rail, and circumstances were such as to bring us back on a raft.

In that old town they have not altered a house nor built one in fifteen hundred years. We went to the inn and they placed Twichell and me in a most colossal bedroom, the largest I ever saw or heard of. It was as big as this room. I didn't take much notice of the place. I didn't really get my bearings. I noticed Twichell got a German bed about two feet wide, the kind in which you've got to lie on your edge because there isn't room to lie on your back, and he was way down south in that big room, and I was way up north at the other end of it with a regular Sahara in between.

We went to bed. Twichell went to sleep, but then he had his conscience loaded and it was easy for him to get to sleep. I couldn't sleep. It was one of those torturing kinds of lovely summer nights when you hear various kinds of noises now and then.

Off in the southwest of that room a mouse got busy, and I threw something at it. It pleased the mouse, and it kept on making the noise. But I couldn't stand it, and about two o'clock I got up and thought I would give it up and go out in the square where there was one of those tinkling fountains, and sit on its brink and dream, full of romance.

I got out of bed, and I ought to have lit a candle, but I didn't think of it until it was too late. It was the darkest place that ever was. There has never been darkness any thicker than that. It just lay in cakes.

I thought that before dressing I would accumulate my clothes. I pawed around in the dark and found everything packed together on the floor except one sock. I couldn't get on the track of that sock. It might have occurred to me that maybe it was in the wash. But I didn't think of that. I went excursioning on my hands and knees. Presently I thought, "I am never going to find it; I'll go back to bed again." That is what I tried to do during the next three hours. I had lost the bearings of that bed. I was going in the wrong direction all the time. By and by I came in collision with a chair and that encouraged me.

It seemed to me, as far as I could recollect, there was only a chair here and there and yonder, five or six of them scattered over this territory, and I thought maybe after I found that chair I might find the next one. Well, I did. And I found another and another and another. I kept going around on my hands and knees, having those sudden collisions, and finally when I banged into another chair I almost lost my temper. And I raised up, garbed as I was, not for public exhibition, right in front of a mirror fifteen or sixteen feet high.

I hadn't noticed the mirror; didn't know it was there. And when I saw myself in the mirror I was frightened out of my wits. I don't allow any ghosts to bite me, and I took up a chair and smashed at it. A million pieces. Then I reflected. That's the way I always do, and it's unprofitable unless a man has had much experience that way and has clear judgment. And I had judgment, and I would have had to pay for that mirror if I hadn't recollected to say it was Twichell who broke it.

Then I got down on my hands and knees and went on another exploring expedition. As far as I could remember there were six chairs in that Oklahoma, and one table, a great big heavy table, not a good table to hit with your head when rushing madly along. In the course of time I butted thirty-six chairs and enough tables to fill the dining room of the Waldorf. It was a hospital for decayed furniture, and it was in a worse condition when I got through with it. I went on and on, and at last got to a place where I could feel my way up, and there was a shelf. I was delighted. I knew that wasn't in the middle of the room. I was then certain that I had not passed the city limits.

I was very careful and pawed along that shelf, and there was a pitcher of water about a foot high, and it was at the head of Twichell's bed, but I didn't know it. I felt that pitcher going, and I grabbed at it, but it didn't help any and came right down in Twichell's face and nearly drowned him. But it woke him up. I was grateful to have company on any terms. He lit a match, and there I was, way down south when I ought to have been back up yonder. My bed was out of sight it was so far away. You needed a telescope to find it. Twichell comforted me and I scrubbed him off and we got sociable.

I have never found the sock, but the hours of darkness I experienced in the exploration in that room were not empty hours.

They served their purpose. The Reverend Joe Twichell had longer legs than I, and we both wore pedometers on that trip. As I walk in my sleep, I always wore mine to bed with me. When I got up in the morning I found that I had gained sixteen miles on Twichell. Again, my reflecting after the mirror incident made me remember to tell the landlord that Twichell had broken it. But that adventure taught me what it is to be blind. That was one of the most serious occasions of my whole life, yet I never can speak of it without somebody thinking it isn't serious. You try it and see how serious it is to be as the blind are and I was that night.

1. Fatout, Paul, Editor. Mark Twain Speaking. University of Iowa Press, 1976.



(This article by Bob Lundegaard appeared in the January 24, 1987, Minneapolis Star and Tribune. As Monitor readers know, Nadine Jacobson is one of the leaders of the NFB of Minnesota. As the article makes clear, she is also an avid Scrabble player. Federationists lead widely varied lives, but they tend to excel at whatever they do. Here is the article.)


There was a Scrabble tournament for the blind in Michigan on the same November weekend that the area's top Scrabble players gathered at Wisconsin Dells for a tourney of their own. Nadine Jacobson didn't have to think twice about which one to attend.

"Look, I could have competed in that blind tournament," she said, "but I don't think separate but equal ever works. Besides, a blind person can play as well as a sighted person."

She proved her point by finishing third in the Wisconsin tournament's intermediate division. Now she's setting her sights on the North American Scrabble Championships--the Super Bowl of Scrabble--in July.

The first qualifying round for the national tournament will be held at 11:00 a.m. today at the South St. Anthony Recreation Center at Cromwell Avenue and Territorial Road in St. Paul. Codirector Robin Proud said that more than 150 contestants have registered, making it the largest field for a Scrabble tournament in state history. Contestants who win at least two of their four games today will advance to a two-day tournament in April at which they must win eight of ten games to advance to the Nationals.

Playing in a national championship sounds like an ambitious goal for Jacobson, considering her handicap. No, not the fact that she's blind. She doesn't consider that a handicap. Her biggest problem has been preparing for a tournament, a time when most serious Scrabble players are poring over word lists to sharpen their vocabularies.

Until now, Jacobson couldn't do that, since word lists weren't available in Braille. Then she heard of a book that lists all the seven- and eight-letter words in the Scrabble dictionary in alphabetical order.

"It's called a bingo book in Scrabble lingo," she said. (A "bingo" is a word that uses all the letters on one's rack, earning the player a fifty-point bonus.) "I heard that the people who had put the book together in New Mexico had used a computer.

"My husband is a computer programmer--thank God!--so they made the discs available to him for just the cost of the discs and he hooked them to a printer that prints Braille."

That explains why Jacobson, sitting at the dining room table of her home in south Minneapolis, had a stack of Braille sheets nearly a foot thick beside her.

"And that's only about a third of the eight-letter words," she said. "At this rate we'll have to build an addition to the house."

As far as she knows, Jacobson is the first person to convert those word lists to Braille. And in their den Steven Jacobson has devised another learning helper: an IBM personal computer with speech capability, plugged into the Scrabble dictionary.

When she types a word on the keyboard, a voice tells her if the word is acceptable while the same information appears on the screen. If the word isn't good, the voice tells her the usable words on either side of it.

The only problem with the computer, as her husband sees it, is that "we may need a second computer, because she'll be using this all the time." He is also blind but doesn't play Scrabble.

Jacobson owns two Braille Scrabble sets. She keeps one at home and one at the home of her most frequent opponent, Carol Madden, another tournament player, who is sighted and often drives her to Scrabble matches and tournaments.

Until now, Madden has also been her main learning source, reading her lists of the acceptable three-letter words while Jacobson recorded them on her Braille writer.

"It's a good-natured rivalry," said Madden, who lives in St. Paul with her husband, a retired English professor. "We usually play once a week, about four games in the afternoon. I think I rank higher than she on a national level, but we're evenly matched."

The Braille sets have a board and letter tiles with Braille markings so that Jacobson can survey the game with a touch of her fingers, but she also relies on her memory of previous plays to plan her next move.

She's amused by the reactions she draws from people playing her for the first time. "Some people assume that playing a blind person is going to be a piece of cake," she said. "You know, 'No problem. I've got the game.'"

Veteran Scrabble players know better. In a New Year's Day get-together at the home of Dan and Robin Proud, Jacobson caused a stir by scoring 147 points in a single turn with the word "capsizes." Her opponent was Robin Proud, one of the region's top players.

Not many opponents are overly solicitous.

"A funny thing about Scrabble is that it does bring out our competitive edge," she said. "Some people have an innate feeling that they shouldn't get beat by a blind person, that it means there's something wrong with them, because they assume that blind people aren't as competent.

"So if they get beat by a blind person, that's a real problem. And, of course, it isn't. Blindness just isn't an issue."

This attitude--that the blind shouldn't be treated differently from sighted persons--is what put Jacobson in the spotlight in 1985. She and her husband were charged with disorderly conduct in Louisville, Kentucky, as the result of an airline incident in which they refused to move from their seats, which were next to an emergency exit.

They contended that they could handle emergency procedures as competently as a sighted person--possibly more so if the lighting inside the plane was reduced. They were acquitted.

They were returning from a national convention of the National Federation of the Blind. Steven is secretary of the Minnesota chapter. Nadine does volunteer work, particularly in the area of insuring proper educational facilities for the blind.

"Other organizations of blind people," she said, "believe that it's a pitiful, sad thing to be blind and that the only kinds of jobs blind people can do are sheltered employment or makework situations.

"The real problem with blindness is that seventy percent of blind people of working age are unemployed. They have job skills, but people have so many funny ideas about blindness.

"I have a master's in social work from the University of Minnesota, and I've gone out applying for jobs, and the interviewer, rather than asking me what's my theory of social development or how I'd motivate people, wants to know how I'm going to find my way to the bathroom."

Jacobson worked eight years as a social worker. "Then I took a break, which most people who've been social workers for eight years can understand."

She was born in Minneapolis thirty-three years ago. "I was a premature baby. I weighed two pounds, three ounces--I know that's hard to believe to look at me now--and I had a twin brother, who died at birth.

"The reason I'm blind is that they put too much oxygen in my incubator. The fact that they saved my life, though, is what's important. I consider myself very fortunate to be alive.

"And the blindness? So what? My mind is good. I get everything done in life that I want to get done."



Official Memorandum by
Governor of Texas
Austin, Texas


The National Federation of the Blind is the oldest and largest organization of the blind in the United States.

This organization continues to integrate blind persons into the general society by changing negative impressions about blindness into positive attitudes.

The National Federation of the Blind has developed many programs including, but not limited to: a highly competitive scholarship program for college students; job opportunities for the blind that have helped hundreds of blind people obtain suitable, dignified positions; the production of printed, Braille, and recorded materials on blindness; working with parents of blind children; providing technical assistance to employers; helping blind citizens to gain and retain their rights through advocacy action.

The National Federation of the Blind has set the highest standards possible in order to achieve the goals of opportunity, security, and equality for all blind people.

Therefore, I, William P. Clements, Jr., Governor of the State of Texas, do commend and applaud the actions of this positive and creative organization and call upon my fellow Texans to support the efforts of this group by proclaiming February, 1987, as

National Federation of the Blind Month

and urge appropriate recognition thereof.

In official recognition whereof, I hereby affix my signature this 23rd day of January, 1987.

William P. Clements, Jr. Governor of Texas




WHEREAS, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) was founded in 1940 to end discrimination against the blind and to secure first-class citizenship for all blind persons; and

WHEREAS, through the years the NFB has worked to change attitudes about blindness and has provided information and technical assistance to parents, teachers, and school administrators, as well as business, political, social, and civic leaders regarding blindness; and

WHEREAS, the NFB continues today to promote the use of Braille, and its scholarship program helps many blind students pay for college expenses; and

WHEREAS, the membership of this organization deserves recognition for its positive image, philosophy, and activities.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Frank C. Cooksey, Mayor of the City of Austin, Texas, do hereby proclaim the month of February, 1987, as

National Federation of the Blind Month

in Austin and call on all citizens to support the goals and aspirations of this fine organization which is dedicated to promoting the well-being of all blind persons.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the Great Seal of the City of Austin, Texas, this 24th day of January, 1987, A.D.

Frank C. Cooksey
Mayor of Austin


by Christine Boone

I am pleased to report that at this summer's National Federation of the Blind convention in Phoenix we will once again be holding a Cane Travel Workshop. This workshop will take place on Saturday, June 27, beginning at 9:00 in the morning. There will be an introduction to some of the basics of cane travel along with an orientation to the hotel. This orientation may not be necessary to all participants, but it provides us with an excellent place to start applying some of the techniques of travel. Next, we will break into small groups (three or four students and an instructor). Everyone will spend a couple of hours traveling around the hotel and the surrounding area, after which you are free to have lunch with your group or to go off on your own. After lunch students will have an opportunity to travel for an hour or so on their own to practice the lessons of the morning. We will reassemble at about 3:00 for a recap of the day's events.

Obviously, you will not learn everything there is to know about travel during this brief session, but it can provide you with a valuable start from which you can proceed on your own. If you are interested in attending this workshop, it is helpful for us to have this information in advance for planning purposes. We are, of course, also in need of instructors.

If you want to take part as either a student or an instructor, please write to me at this address: Christine Boone, 1909 N. E. 18th Street, Lincoln City, Oregon 97367; or call (503) 994-8496. Just send your name and address and specify whether you want to be a student or an instructor. Hope to see you all in Phoenix with your walking shoes on.



January 26, 1987

Dear Dr. Jernigan:

Due to a stirring motion on your behalf by our sweet, spicy, and bubbly state President, Barbara Pierce, the Capitol Chapter of Ohio got together and stewed over the issue for a while. We felt we couldn't table the issue, nor did we desire to settle for any half- baked solutions. Luckily, just as a few of us started steaming and others boiling over, we cooled down, tossed a few ideas around, and started cooking. For our finished product we were able to whip up two dozen recipes for the Braille Monitor.

Hopefully in the future we will be able to keep this on our back burner, rehash it, and send more gastronomical delights your way. We do not wish you to think we would dessert you in your time of knead. We take grate pride in offering whatever morsel we have leftover to make the Braille Monitor a most tasteful publication.

Warmly (about 325 degrees)
Diana R. Felice Corresponding Secretary
Capitol Chapter NFB of Ohio


February 9, 1987

Dear Diana:

I have just received your letter and recipes, and I thank you and the Capitol Chapter for showing that you have a steak in the Monitor. I intend to milk your letter for all that it is worth and hope that I won't get creamed for doing it. It is better to butter someone up than to knife them when you ask them to fork over whatever it is you want. I believe you know no onions. Certainly no one could say that you didn't know beans about cooking. In fact, your recipes will be batter than many we have used. Therefore, taking sage advice and trying to curry a little favor, we will publish your recipes in the May Monitor, and I am sure no one will beef about it. I'll be sizzling you soon.

Kenneth Jernigan Editor

P.S. Have you heard the song "When it's apple blossom time in Orange, New Jersey, we'll make a peach of a pair?"


1-1/2 pounds round steak (cut in thin, narrow, three-inch strips)
4 medium potatoes (peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices)
Italian seasonings to taste 1 onion, minced
1 pint mushrooms (cleaned and cut in half or in quarters)
1 bay leaf
season salt to taste
1 tablespoon Italian olive oil

Brown minced onions in oil. Add steak slices and brown. Simmer upon adding mushrooms and potatoes plus seasonings. Add water and maintain a broth. Simmer one hour; stir often. Serve hot. Serves four.


4 medium zucchini
2 celery stalks, minced
1 small bag Italian bread croutons
1 onion, minced
1 egg
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup chopped spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil grated cheese

Cut zucchini lengthwise and parboil. Spoon out seeds. Place zucchini halves on oiled cookie sheets. Brown onion and celery in one tablespoon olive oil. Add croutons and 1/2 cup water. Simmer. If seeds are small, chop and add 1/2 cup to mixture along with lettuce and spinach. When stuffing has simmered, add egg and beat it in. Carefully pack stuffing into zucchini. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for forty- five minutes to an hour.


3 cups whole wheat flour 3 eggs
2 tablespoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon allspice 1 cup milk
1 tablespoon baking powder 1/4 cup melted butter 1 cup chopped
2 cups fresh chopped apples 1 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease nine- by five- by three-inch loaf pan. Line bottom with waxed paper. Blend flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice together. Add honey, milk, and eggs. Blend well. Add melted butter and beat. Add nuts and apples; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake fifty minutes to an hour.


2 whole, large chicken breasts (skinned, boned, and halved)
3/4 teaspoon minced, peeled ginger root (or 1/4 teaspoon ginger)
pinch of salt
15 ounces drained Chinese straw mushrooms
2 ounces drained regular mushrooms
8-1/2 ounce can bamboo shoots, drained
7 ounces thawed, frozen snow pea pods
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/3 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons dry sherry
3/4 cup walnuts

With a sharp knife in a slanting position, slice across width of chicken breast to make very thin slices. In medium bowl mix well chicken, cornstarch, sherry, ginger, and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Set aside. In a skillet, wok, or five-quart saucepan over medium heat in hot oil, cook walnuts about three minutes, stirring often. Drain nuts on paper towel. In hot oil in skillet, stir-fry mushrooms, bamboo shoots, snow pea pods, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until snow peas are tender-crisp (three to five minutes). Spoon vegies into a bowl, leaving oil in skillet. In remaining oil stir-fry chicken mixture about five minutes or until chicken is tender. Stir in vegies. Spoon onto warm platter; sprinkle with walnuts. Makes four servings. Serve over rice.


1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup peanut butter
1 pound confectioner's sugar

Work together by hand and form into small balls. Chill well.

12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/2 paraffin bar

Melt chocolate and paraffin in double boiler. Dip balls on toothpicks into chocolate three-quarters of the way. Place balls onto waxed paper. Chill one hour.


8 ounces soft butter or margarine
1 can whole cranberries
1 - 2 tablespoons orange marmalade

Combine ingredients well. Chill. Keeps for two to four weeks.

Excellent on warm breads, rolls, and muffins.


Combine together in a bowl:
1 medium container large curd cottage cheese
1 cup pastel colored marshmallows (mini-size)
1 can well-drained crushed pineapple
1 small package lemon jello
1 small package lime jello

Chill at least a couple of hours. Pastel colored mini-marshmallows may be substituted for white. Fruit cocktail may be substituted for crushed pineapple.


1 cup sugar
2 eggs
6 tablespoons milk
1 cup coconut
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup green cherries (candied) chopped
1/2 cup red cherries
(candied) chopped
3/4 cup shortening
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Cream sugar and shortening; add eggs. Add flour and milk alternately to mixture and blend well. Add other ingredients, blending thoroughly. Drop by the teaspoon onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees until slightly brown. Makes four to five dozen cookies.



As the media would tell it:

My grandmother was a lady;
My mother was a girl;
I am a woman;
My daughter is a doctor;
My granddaughter will be a drug addict.

As the pessimist would tell it:

My grandmother was a lady;
My mother was a girl;
I am a woman;
My daughter is a doctor;
My granddaughter will be a lady.

As the optimist would tell it:

My grandmother was a lady;
My mother was a girl;
I am a woman;
My daughter is a doctor;
My granddaughter will be a lady.


There have been doctors before.


Patricia Tessnear, Secretary of the Eastern Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, was honored as Wilsonian of the Week by the Wilson Daily Times on January 19, 1987. She was chosen because of her work with the visually impaired and blind residents of Wilson County, North Carolina, and her community service as a violinist and volunteer in several community service organizations.


Long-time Federationist Arthur Segal has been appointed Handicapped Services Coordinator for the city of Baltimore, Maryland. He assumed the duties of the position Monday, March 7, 1987, working as part of the Mayor's staff. He will serve both the city and the blind with credit.

**Wonderful 75th:

The National Federation of the Blind of Washington is pleased to announce that the Hazel tenBroek 75th Birthday Party dinner is now available on cassette tape. For further information, or to get your copy, send a $5 check or money order made payable to the NFB of Washington, c/o Albert Sanchez, Secretary, NFB of Washington, North 3319 Nevada Street, Spokane, Washington 99207, or call (509) 483-1037.


Dr. Homer Page (Deputy Mayor of Boulder, Colorado, and one of the leaders of the National Federation of the Blind of Colorado) was honored on Sunday, February 1, 1987, when he was selected by the Boulder Daily Camera as a "Pacesetter" making a major contribution to the community. The award was instituted three years ago by the Daily Camera.

**Mother Earth:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

"The Mother Earth News magazine is now available on cassette tapes. Through special arrangements I have made with Mother Earth News, Inc., I am now able to offer these cassettes to the blind. For those not familiar with the Mother Earth News this is a fine magazine containing articles on gardening, practical home living, and many other subjects of interest to a wide variety of people. We have begun taping with the current January-February, 1987, issue. Back issues will be available on a request basis. Cost per single issue is $4, with a full year's subscription being offered at the special rate of $20. This is a savings of $4 off the single copy price. If interested, send checks or money orders made out to REX LAMPMAN to the following address: The Mother Earth News on Tape, c/o Rex Lampman, 240 Quincy Street, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301."

**Computer Magazine:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

"TACTIC is an international Braille quarterly concerning technology for the visually impaired. Offering practical information on hardware and software using Braille, synthesized speech, or enlarged print output, TACTIC is a consumer-oriented publication. Reviews are written by blind and visually impaired consumers--both professionals with technical expertise and those working in other fields who have intimate knowledge of one product. Regular features carry short news items of newly released products, programs, or services related to technology; and readers exchange problems, solutions, and tips. TACTIC is a resource for both the beginning would-be computer operator and the researcher or programmer with sophisticated technical knowledge. As of January 1, 1987, the subscription price is $10 annually (approximately one-third of the actual production cost, which is subsidized by Clovernook Printing House for the Blind). To order write: TACTIC, Clovernook Printing House for the Blind, 7000 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45231. Send article submissions or questions directly to the magazine's editor, Deborah Kendrick, at the same address."


Deborah Brown writes:

"The Martin County Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida is getting the new year off to a good start, and we wish to inform you about what we are doing. Our 1987 officers are Harry Collier, President; Peter Russillo, Vice President; Deborah Brown, Secretary; and Laura Collier, Treasurer. We have done well in our annual calendar sale, selling over 500 calendars."

**Maxi Aids:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

"Maxi Aids, Inc., dedicated to independent living of the blind, visually impaired, physically disabled, hearing impaired, and senior citizens with special needs. Our address: Maxi Aids, Inc., 86-30 - 102nd Street, Richmond Hill, New York 11418. Our telephone number: (718) 846-4799; toll-free: (800) 522-6294. Free gifts with your order; free catalog; fast service, low prices, large selection."


The February, 1987, newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Mississippi says:

"John Holly of Madison and Elizabeth Murphy of Lucedale, Mississippi, were married on October 27, 1986. Congratulations and best wishes to you two!"


In the February, 1987, newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina Hazel Staley says:

"In our last newsletter we discussed our participation in a hearing held by a task force appointed by the governor to look into the feasibility of combining the schools for the deaf and blind in the state. The findings of the task force are now in. It was decided to leave all the schools as they are now. A lot of money was spent and a lot of furor created over a situation whose outcome seemed perfectly clear before the task force ever began its work. This is another example of people dabbling into problems about which they know nothing."


The Management Review for March, 1987, features an interview with Rami Rabby entitled "Mainstreaming the Handicapped Without Tokenism" in his capacity as a management consultant. The article beings as follows:

"Most progressive employers, especially in the United States, have at least in theory accepted the idea that physically handicapped persons can be capable, useful employees. Unfortunately, however, that acceptance has not always been translated into more than token efforts to employ them."


Patricia Tessnear, Secretary of the Eastern Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina, writes: "Recently the Eastern Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina held its elections. Those elected are as follows: Danny Herringen, President; Judy Watson, Vice President; Patricia Tessnear, Secretary; Eddie Tessnear, Treasurer; Ramona Knight, Board Member; and Ann Sumner, Board Member."

**National Scholarship Research Service:

Jim Mitchell has asked us to carry the following announcement: Any student attending the NFB national convention this summer in Phoenix will be able to purchase the financial aid search provided by the National Scholarship Research Service for the special price of $25.00. This is a significant reduction from the regular $45.00 price. There is a further reduction of $10.00 if the student cannot get vocational rehabilitation to handle the cost. For further information, contact Jim Mitchell at the national convention or: 2752 Middleton Avenue--#29H, Durham, North Carolina 27705; (919) 383-2125.

**Want to Purchase Brailler: Georgia Clark writes:

"The National Federation of the Blind of Flint, Michigan, is looking for a used Perkins Brailler in good condition. The chapter is interested in purchasing one for its exhibit on blindness at the Flint Children's Museum (a hands-on museum for children and adults). Please mail inquiries in any form of medium to: National Federation of the Blind, Greater Flint Chapter, P. O. Box 555, Davison, Michigan 48423."


A comment from the Editor:

In the normal cause of things I meet and talk with a variety of people. Many of them would like the Federation to sell products which they manufacture or distribute. Although there are exceptions, mostly (unless the product deals directly or indirectly with blindness) we don't do it. Not long ago a man came to my office and showed me an electric toothbrush. I tried it out, and I must say that it was a delight to use and quite effective. However, I didn't think it was the sort of thing we ought to stock for sale. But I liked it so well that I thought Monitor readers would like to know about it, so here is a description. It is called the Interplak Home Plaque Removal Instrument, and its suggested retail price is $99. It is what you might call a sort of family toothbrush since it comes with two heads, which are removed by a simple pulling motion. Additional heads are available for purchase. The Interplak is becoming widely available in department and drug stores and is approved by the American Dental Association. It is said that the instrument removes over ninety percent of the plaque from the teeth; whereas, the normal toothbrush removes only about fifty percent. If you can't find the Interplak in your local stores, you can call a toll-free number for information or to order it: (800) 334-4031. Credit cards are acceptable. So why tell you of this? I thought you might want to know--and besides, no one has ever said that the Monitor is set in its ways. Incidentally, it may be possible to get discount prices through some stores. What I gave you was only the suggested retail price.

**Superintendent Speaks:

The January, 1987, News from Blind Nebraskans (the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska) carries the following item summarizing an address given by the Superintendent of the Nebraska School for the Visually Handicapped at the convention of the NFB of Nebraska last fall:

"Mr. Regler started off by thanking the NFBN for its assistance in influencing the Legislature to kill the bill which would have resulted in the consolidation of the Nebraska Schools for the Blind and the Deaf. He stated that this is a phenomenon which is taking place across the country, perpetrated by people who don't seem to realize that people with different sensory disabilities will, necessarily, have different inherent needs with respect to those disabilities. He went on to add that he is distressed by the fact that many educational programs for the blind have been integrated into those for the mentally retarded. He raised the possibility that educators of blind children have oversold the fact that, with the aids provided by high technology and proper training, blind people can more easily cope with their problems than can those with other disabilities. This has, he believes, resulted in gross neglect of educational programs for blind children in residential schools. "The current enrollment at NSVH is thirty-seven students, down from forty- one students last year. There are eight new students this year, two of whom are from Iowa. A new problem has risen this year in the form of a rule which states that any student who leaves his/her school district to attend NSVH must first get approval from the State Board of Education. This results in a maze of paperwork for parents of new students. Only two students have been approved so far, with two more being processed. We were called upon as an organization to give our support to any families facing this difficulty."

**Successful Seminar:

The February, 1987, Palmetto Blind (the magazine of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina) carries the following item:

"The 17th annual statewide seminar of the NFB of South Carolina was held at the Federation Center of the Blind in Columbia on Saturday, January 3, 1987. Approximately 175 members representing twenty-three chapters and divisions across the state attended the annual meeting. It was a full day; much information was disseminated; and members departed with a renewed spirit and commitment."

**Why the Writers Division:

Lori Stayer (writing in the December, 1986, Slate and Style, the publication of the Writers Division of the National Federation of the Blind) says:

"During the convention of the National Federation of the Blind of New York State I was asked by one of the officers of the Human Services Division of the NFB why the Writers Division needed to be in existence. To my credit I didn't shudder or even faint but managed an answer that must have sounded reasonable, because she subsequently joined our ranks. I believe I said that if we would not write about ourselves in a positive manner, who would?--but that the Writers Division had justification for its existence merely in that we encourage blind writers to get out there and risk criticism in an effort to be heard. If we boost the skills and self- confidence of even one writer, we need no other justification."

**Tin Cups are Spotted:

Writing in the February, 1987, News and Views (the newsletter of the National Federation of the Blind of North Carolina), Hazel Staley says:

"On October 18, 1986, while broadcasting the Duke vs. Maryland football game, Gary Sparber, a sports announcer for WBT of Charlotte, made a very derogatory remark which we had to deal with. In giving credit to his spotter, the person who keeps track of the names and activities of the various players, Mr. Sparber said that when he came into the broadcast booth to announce a game he was like a blind man with his tin cup, his white cane, and dark glasses, that he had to rely completely on the spotter to tell him what was happening. Needless to say, he received many, many phone calls from a large number of irate Federationists. Although he did not apologize publicly on the following broadcast as we had asked him to do, he did appear to be very remorseful, and I think it is safe to say that he is fairly well educated about blindness now and will never make that kind of mistake again."


Dialysis will be available during our National Federation of the Blind convention in Phoenix. Individuals needing dialysis are asked to contact Dorothy Hailston, Head Nurse, South Phoenix Dialysis Center, 1332 South 5th Avenue (near Buckeye Road and Fifth Avenue), Phoenix, Arizona 85003, telephone (602) 253-1954, TWO months prior to arrival date. She will need insurance information and data from the individual's physician. If persons are on Medicare with no supplemental insurance, they are asked to pay twenty percent of the dialysis costs prior to receiving dialysis (approximately $27 to $30 per time). The South Phoenix Dialysis Unit DOES NOT accept B-Positive hepatitis patients. Persons who fall in that category must contact Good Samaritan Hospital Dialysis Unit, 1111 East McDowell Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85006, telephone (602) 239-2000, in order to assure a dialysis schedule. Individuals must contact the dialysis units prior to arrival in Phoenix. The American Kidney Fund has, in the past, assisted with funds for individuals unable to pay the twenty percent charges. Each person who needs financial assistance ought to contact the American Kidney Fund at one of the following: Maryland residents call (800) 492-8361; All other persons call (800) 638-8299. The South Phoenix Dialysis Unit is close to the Hyatt Regency Hotel. There is a direct bus line between the hotel and the dialysis unit, or cab fare one way is approximately $3.00 for a trip which takes five to ten minutes.

**Wants Correspondent:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Reola T. Jarrett, 825 East Belmont Avenue, Flint, Michigan 48503, is interested in finding pen pals who share her interests in sports of all kinds. She is also interested in corresponding with members of the A.M.E. Church. Since Ms. Jarrett is deaf and blind, she requests Braille letters.


Curtis and Peggy Chong are among the leadership of the NFB of Minnesota. Hanging in there, somewhere close, is their eight-year-old daughter, Tina, who is in the third grade. Recently Peggy wrote:

Dear Dr. Jernigan:

Two weeks ago Tina's class studied Martin Luther King. One of the assignments was to write their version of the speech "I Have a Dream." I'm sending you a copy of Tina's. The original hangs here at our state NFB office. I think Tina really understands Martin Luther King Day. I'm very proud of my little girl. The part about kids deals with divorce-related matters.

Peggy Chong

Tina's Essay

I had a dream that blind people could ride in the exit row and that kids don't get thrown out.

Tina Chong

**Profile in Miniature:

Doris Henderson, President of the Progressive Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Texas in Dallas, writes to President Maurer:

"Among the approximately 100 members of the Dallas Chapter are sheltered workshop employees, housewives, a realtor, two Internal Revenue Service employees, a Department of Labor employee, a worker from the federal Department of Agriculture, a medical transcriptionist, a public school librarian, public school teachers (both retired and still working), and even two people who work for the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. Everything I learned in the leadership seminar yields many positive results. We expect to exceed 100 members in 1987."

**Lions to Meet:

Boyd Wolfe, one of the leaders of our affiliate in Arizona and Chairman of the Deaf-Blind Committee, writes:

The South Phoenix Sunrise Lions Club invites Lions attending the 1987 convention of the National Federation of the Blind to our breakfast meeting Wednesday morning, July 1, 1987. We meet for breakfast at 6:30 a.m., and we adjourn shortly after 8:00 a.m. This will give you time to get back to the Civic Plaza for the morning session. Art Dinges, President of our Phoenix Chapter, and I are members of the South Phoenix Sunrise Lions. Those of you who wish to attend please contact: Boyd C. Wolfe, 1314 North First Street, Apartment 214, Phoenix, Arizona 85004; (602) 255-0631. If at all possible, I would like to hear from you before the convention so we can plan to provide transportation. We hope to see as many of our fellow Federationists as possible. If it is convenient, I would appreciate your writing in Braille.