By Bill Fullerton
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 →
By Cecilia Rogers
A few years ago, the first day of June had ushered in a heat wave that, as it turned out, would last for three months. No one knew it then of course, which was just as well. We all struggled through the hot, muggy days, shuttling back and forth from air-conditioned homes to air-conditioned workplaces, usually by means of air-conditioned transportation. It was supposed to be the best time of year and we were all trapped inside, trying to escape the heat. Casual conversations were peppered with endlessly repeated clichés as to how hot it was, how unusual a June heat wave was and variations on, Wow if it’s like this now what’s it gonna be like in mid-August! Repetitive though they were, those comments didn’t get to me. What got to me was that before long the refrain had shifted to the irritating inanity uttered by would-be comedians: Hot enough for ya, Marissa? Usually it was accompanied by a braying guffaw that no self-respecting donkey would ever produce and a hearty slap on the back, as though it were all just good fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
When on a Monday in the middle of the month I had heard that from three different people before 10:30, I felt as though the day couldn’t get any worse: I was mistaken, as a mere ten minutes later it did. Continue reading →