Reader’s Forum for the week of July 23, 2012

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

In response to the recent comments concerning a lack of skills, Mary wrote:

I have a few general comments regarding the discussion about lack of skills.

I’ve always been extremely independent. I was always told to adapt to society; the world didn’t owe me anything. For example, I’ve addressed envelopes and mailed lots of things since the 1960s when I was in high school. I was the only blind student in my high school, and often had to contact my regional library to obtain books for school. This was also true in college, since I was an English major. In those days I used a typewriter to address envelopes, and these days, with a PC, I use a label printer.

I don’t have sighted assistance, and have very rarely had it or asked for it; I was brought up to be as independent as possible. I knew there would be times when my family and other help wouldn’t be around. In the business world, there was no room for excuses; IBM had jobs, and I did my job the same as anyone else. If I needed adaptive technology, I got it and learned to use it on my own time.

These days, I have no family nearby; I do shopping and other things online. There are a couple people I can ask for general help, but I’ve only had to do that once in the past few years.

Getting a state ID would be almost impossible for me; one reason is that travel is difficult due to hearing loss. I think the requirements are excessive and ridiculous; two photo IDs? Many of us are fortunate if we have just one.

If you have sighted help, be glad you’ve got it; but think about how you’d manage without it. It can be done.
In response to Contributor Valerie Moreno – Open Mouth, Insert Foot, Amy said:

I’ve had very bad experiences with rehab teachers. In high school, I had one itinerate for my academics and another for O & M. I ended up teaching my academic teacher how to use the computer she was supposed to be teaching me on, and the O & M teacher would start me learning from one end of a street, only to go from the other end the next week.

After college, I went to a popular rehab facility, because everyone said how good it would look on my resume, and how it would help me find a job. I tried, I really did, but honestly, I learned more of what I couldn’t do than what I could. They expected me to know things I didn’t know, and not to know things I did. They insisted on my doing things a certain way, even when that way didn’t work for me, and there were monitors in the hall after classes, and if you said anything negative about the staff, they told the staff about it and you got questioned the next day. Also, if another trainee, as we were called, was having a rough time adjusting, or doing something or coping with a situation and you tried to help them, you got in trouble and were told to concentrate on your own program and not to worry about anyone else’s.

On the other hand, I have had some really good teachers, too, like the lady from my local Blind Association who came out to show me Rake Knitting, just because I called the agency and said I was bored! Also, there was an O & M teacher, again from the same organization, who taught me where I needed to go in the nursing home where I’ve now volunteered for the past twelve years. I think rehab teachers, as well as other blind people, need to find solutions that work, regardless of how they may look to others, or how others have done this or that in the past.

P. S. Having the Independent Living training on my resume didn’t help one iota in finding a job!
In response to Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Those Magical Summers at Camp Allen, Jan wrote:

As for Camp Allen, I went there from 1962 to 1971 and those were some of the best times of my life. I’m still in touch with many of the girls I met there and they are some of my best friends. I went to public school and was with sighted kids all year. And my time at camp was spent with blind kids, so I felt I had the best of both. Camp Allen still exists, as far as I know. It’s now a co-ed, multi-handicapped camp.
In response to Contributor Valerie Moreno – Blind Cat’s Bluff, Lisa wrote:

I enjoyed reading Valerie Moreno’s article about being a blind person and the owner of a blind cat. I also am blind and adopted a blind cat 8 years ago. I got Oliver from a local animal shelter. He had been left there because he had originally been a part of a multiple cat household, and he didn’t thrive there at all. While he doesn’t care for other animals, he loves people and soon became one of the favorite cats of the shelter.

When I brought him home it was fun to experience his orientation skills. He would learn one space and then expand his territory to another room and then another – until, in short order he had learned the whole apartment. A year ago we moved across the country and once again Oliver quickly adapted.

I don’t know that there’s any particular advantage for a blind cat to have a blind owner, or vice versa, but I’ll admit to feeling a certain bond with Oliver because of this.

There’s an organization dedicated to rescuing blind cats from shelters where they would otherwise be put to sleep. Their website is:
In response to Contributor Valerie Moreno – Blind Cat’s Bluff, Lynne wrote:

Aw, may you have many wonderful years with him.

In the few months we’ve had our Mickey Cat, he’s definitely turned our quiet lives upside down with his addiction to pushing objects from various surfaces (mostly during the middle of the night/early morning). We’ll try to train him out of it, but I always tell him he’s lucky he’s so cute! Smile.

We have no plans to give him up so we’ll all just have to learn to adjust.

Enjoy him and take care.
Deb Weiner wrote in to say:

I would like to write today about our elections. Actually, that is a lie, I really do not want to write about that, but I feel compelled to.

It must be some deep seated psychological problem that keeps me doing this, but no time for that now. I am struck by the amount of money being spent. The sums are completely obscene, especially since there is little difference between the 2 candidates. Countless millions are being collected to pay for 30 second TV spots that do nothing but lie about what a liar the other guy is. A pox on all of them. The truth is not in these 2 or any other politician that I can think of.

Businesses and individuals are throwing their money away on these ridiculous rituals that we go through every 4 years and it is going to get worse. Wait until after the conventions. Wait until the robo-calls start interrupting the few minutes’ peace you get every day. Just think of the good that could be done with all that money. Small businesses could be started, poor people could be retrained for new jobs, elderly folks could be fed and sent to doctors, new research could be started. But no, we have to be treated to this foul spectacle we call our elections.

One last thing, I am swearing off election and political writing for a while, hopefully, a long while. For the foreseeable future, I am going to be writing about the positive things I see going on in this fine land. It is too easy to fall into the trap of negativity. Enough. The best thing we can all do is to put this nonsense behind us.

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