This fictionalized memoir is based on the author’s personal experience. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.
Back when he’d been a kid, Mark Cahill’s mother often took him along when she and her sister went shopping. One of the familiar sights on these trips was an old, legless, blind man peddling pencils at a downtown street corner. That the man was blind hadn’t impressed Mark nearly as much as had the small, wheeled cart he used to get around.
Still, except for a few old folks with failing eyesight, the man with the cart was the only blind person Mark had known prior to his being blinded in Vietnam. That lack of experience meant he faced the loss of sight with no preconceived opinions about being blind. It wasn’t until two years later, in the spring of ’71, when he reported to a blind rehab center for something called a college prep course, that he began to understand what it meant to be blind. The techniques and tools he learned were interesting, but what surprised him most was the wide variety of people in training. Continue reading