One hundred years ago commercial radio exploded in large cities and surrounding towns. In Detroit othe station WJR started broadcasting in May of 1922. My Grandfather wired and hooked up speakers to bring the miracle of radio to his small town.
Friends and neighbors came to witness. Whether this new radio would work in their small town. One man believed, place an antenna to the clock tower and wired the church. He brought the voice of Detroit thirty miles away to be heard in Northville. People clapped and cheered. But their lives would never be the same. It was a warm Thursday in May of 1922. It was before air conditioning or fans. So why were people crowding into the Methodist Church in the middle of the day ? When the crowd entered the church, they saw a large cabinet in the sanctuary . They talked in low excited voices as they filled the pews. A few minutes before the hour the assembly caught sight of a disheveled and cobwebbed decorated shirt on Cliff Turnbull. He had been working to wire an antenna to the top of the church’s bell tower. He slowly rolled the wire to the cabinet and clipped the end of the wire to connect it to the cabinet. Fiddling with the dial , a short burst of static was heard before a clear voice was perceived . “This is WJR The great voice of the Great Lakes. Coming to you from the top of the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit . The people broke into cheers and applause . This was the first radio broadcast in the country and it was coming to the small town of Northville, thirty miles away from the speaker. The miracle of radio broadcasting was experienced by many in the Detroit area. But the joy in that Church to hear and be connected to Detroit ushered in a new era of electric communication . Cliff Turnbull was responsible for wiring homes and farms in this small town.
Blind Wash Woman I am asked,”How do you know when to wash an item?” I have several ways to tell if an article of clothing needs washing. First , I will sniff the cloth. Items like towels and dish clothes may have a musty smell, likewise clothing or bedding that has not been used for awhile will have a similar musty smell. I will feel the item. Is there a hard texture to the item. If the clothing folded or in a pile? Are there crumbs in the bedding that is on the bed? Yes to any of these questions will result in the clothing in the hamper. Once I have the clothing by the washer, I will take each piece and shake it out. I will put dark items and light items together in separate baskets.Towels go in a third basket. I know that underclothes , sheets,hankies and socks are put in light cloths basket. Jeans, and most t shirts and sweatshirts are put in the dark basket. I may occasionally put the clothing in the wrong basket but it usually isn’t a problem. I keep the loads separate for washing and drying. I will fold and put clothing in separate piles for myself and my husband. Blankets, sheets and towels are brought up separately. When I bring them upstairs, I will put them away in the appropriate drawer or shelf.I don’t move the places around so I remember where to find an item. It is not magic just problem solving and organization .
When our family bought a new appliance, we were excited. The box was huge. The boys fought over what it could be used for. I didn’t care , I wanted to play with the real thing. We had a washer / dryer that were front loading There was a glass window to watch the activity. I would watch the water level rise and fall. I couldn’t take the clothes out when the load was done. I loved to watch the dryer. it reminded me on my kaleidoscope with the colors and shapes forming an imaginary world I opened the door and crawled inside. It was hot so I took the clothes out and got in. I was trying to figure out how to start the dryer. Mom heard a change in the sound of the dryer and came to investigate.. She pulled me from the dryer and warned me to leave her appliances alone until I was much older.
Grandpa Memories Cherry Pipe smoke tall metal lace up boot in pain but never showing it he delighted in the singing of his granddaughter sneaking her a mint Life Saver after a song He always had a smile and story for me. Grandpa’s Barber Shop My Grandpa Al was a barber all his life. He was the eldest of 5 brothers. He had his front third of his right foot caught in a trashing machine. His foot healed but the foot was football shaped. He had to wear a special boot that laced to his knee to be able to stand and walk all day. When I was young, My Mother was bedridden and the kids were. placed in relatives homes. I was sent to live with Grandpa Al and Grandma Catherine. I spent a whole summer there. My job each morning was to lace my Grandfather’s boot. Later in the morning, I would knock at the barber shop door to tell when lunch would be ready. The Barber shop was a small room about 18 feet square. There was a squeaky screen door that Grandpa used as a warning to the local dogs using his front yard for reliving themselves. He had popped several with a bb gun. They would hear the squeak and take off with their tails down and yelping. As you came into the shop, there was a board with a variety of cartoons and postcards from customers. Some were of a mature nature. Near the board was hung a large head of a 8 point buck. I always wanted to touch the beautiful brown glass eyes. Under the buck were the hoofs of the buck turned and taxidermy to hold coats. There was a large window with blinds to keep out the afternoon sun. along this window were two charis and a magazine rack holding sports and other male reading material . in the corner were comics and a smaller chair for younger customers. There was one barber chair. Behind the chair was a large mirror with many bottles of aftershave. The chair had a large strap to use to sharpen Grandpa’s straight razor. He had a bench that he could place on the arms of the chair to bring children’s heads to his arm level. He gave the first haircuts to most of his grandchildren. In the cabinet were a half a dozen boxes of cigars . Most of the customers would buy and smoke the cigar while waiting. He also had an assortment of candy and gum for the customers breaking the habit. My favorite were the Lifesaver mints and collecting the gold rings from the used cigars. The room had a scent of aftershave, cigar smoke and male sweat. I was allowed into this space only by invitation and loved being allowed to wartch my Grandpa at work. He could discuss many different topics. He kept his politics out of his shop but personally, he was one of the few Democrats in the town. When the Democrat Governor G Mennen Williams came to give a talk to the rotary club, my Father invited his Father in-law and introduced him as one of the leading Democrats in Northville. Grandpa was so proud to shake hands with the governor. It was one of the best moments of his life. He died shortly afterward from stomach cancer. I will always have fond memories of Grandpa Al.
I was blessed with two grandpas as well as my Dad growing up. Grandpa Al was a tease and loved to recite and sing. He would pay me a dime to entertain the men in his barber shop. The custermers would make suggestions and clap after my rendition.This was my first taste of applause.Grandpa Cliff was a quieter man. He would smile at me when I visited the Northville Electric Shop. He would give me all the 45s demos for my record collection. Many of them were in the colors of the rainbow. When I started to weave potholders, Grandpa made room on his store shelf for them. I think he bought most of them to attached to sold stoves.My Dad had his hands full with four boys and one girl. He took the time with each of us to help us feel special and loved. When he was watching sports, I would wiggle between his legs and lean back against the seat. He would laugh and massage my ears. I would play his favorite songs on the piano. He would come and sit next to meas we sang,”Nearer My God to Thee “ or “ You take the High Road” One of my favorite memories was watching for Dad and the boys walking home from church. They moved in tight two by two formation. I would tell my Mom to start the pancakes. Their favorite was blueberry pancakes.I have seen each of my brothers grow and become Fathers. In their parenting, there are parts of the Dad’s that have gone before as well as their own special Dad’s abilities.So, here’s to the Father’s in my life and yours.Happy Father’sDay!I watch you gather a crying child.To hoist them onto your shoulders. When there is a dispute, you calmly sort out the problem .You play all the silly games because the children love them. at the end of the day, you will read just one more story ,”Please Daddy.”Memories of your actions will outlive you.
As many states are removing restrictions regarding hair salons, barbar shops and tattoo parlors. I find that I am also breaking out of my home to explore the world. I have the option to use a cane while walking with my husband. I find it hard to understand how in 7 weeks, my body has forgotten how to walk. Part weakness and part body memory. I was able to take a ride and not be in pain so I will go to the bone doctor and the hair salon this week.The feeling of accomplishment and freedom is heady.I will remember my mask as I go to complete my errands. My husband has been my cheer leader and my helper in this time of healing.Last evening, he got out all the ingredients I would need to make quiche. I was able to prepare the dish and he even helped with clean up!Here is a poem to express the euphoric this feels.Euphoria Though social distancing is still in place,Restrictions for more businesses and services are lifted.II find that I cautiously venture outside my home.I still need the assistance of my husband and a cane,but the joy of a healing body and community is heady.May we as a people start to heal our difference and know that it will take time and invested energy.We can build up the health of the community but don’t forget to social distance and use your masks.
I was asked what does a blind person put on their screen saver? I had to think about this. My latest one is a picture of my two year old niece wearing a poncho that I knitted for her.. I have pictures of my fiber art work and photos of my brother, Mike and my father Bruce after they passed. I usually want to share a photo so that is the quickest way to share a photo or memory.Another question I am asked is “What is on your playlist”” I have songs from Laura Nyro and other eclectic songs that I love to sing along with. I chose those that raise my spirit or make me laugh.Finally, I have been asked,”Do you dream with sight?” It depends on what I am dreaming about. If it is something that I have seen in the past, I will see it in my dreams. I often combine the use of a cane and braille in these dreams to to remind me that I am blind. I will use the white cane but I will see what I am doing.I find people’s questions preferable to their wondering. I love the questions from the young the best. One little boy wanted to know if he took my cookie, would I notice , I leaned close to him and whispered,”Try it and see!”The world is opening up restaurants are serving with social distanceing, hair salons and barbers are trimming, libraries will be starting curbside service. I will be choosey in what I do and where I go. The virus is still in the population, just hidden.CoronaComes like a thief in the nightOther people don’t think it will happen to themReality says that anyone can have itOnly a test will tell you for sureNose swab and an hour laterAll is well at that time and moment
I have been thinking of food lately. So this blog will be about food and poetry.Poetry is to the soul ,what bread is to the body.I have always enjoyed apples and I am trying to eat healthy.Applesweet, tart, juicy red, yellow, green round globesSliced in half, revealing hiddenseed starsI treat myself to milk and cookies that have been provided by friends.There is nothing like a frozen cookie.Hard, crisp, crunchy,It dips into a glass of milk, without breaking apart.I suck the milk from the cookie before biting it.Pure bliss !NoodlesI love noodlesThin , made with rice flour to mix with a peanut sauce.Angel hair tossed with red or white sauce.Even ravioli boiled and tossed with olive oil.But ran ramen with butter and pepper is the best.As I am doing better, I will make warm biscuits to go with morning coffeeBiscuitsI glove my hands to mix the dough.Adding melted butter, shredded cheese and chile’s.Adding a little milk until a soft dough is formed.I roll a fat snake and cut pieces to form the biscuits to cook.When I can smell then, they are ready. And what would be morning without a cup of Java.
Benediction I take my coffee to the porch.To hear the silence between cricket ‘s chirps and bird songs.A distant solo begins,Followed by another : then more awake and join in the chorus.I feel the sun’s warmth as my coffee cools.Smiling at the morning benediction. “Man does not live by bread alone”. Jesus
Well, today I had PT and OT in one day. I was given wrist strengthening exercises, and finger movements. I showed the therapist that I wasn’t able to push the braille keys with equal pressure causing a poorly formed braille cell.The PT. noted that my confidence in my movement through my home is compromising due in part to the signals the bottom of the feet are sending to the brain.I need to try to stand without support while moving my head. Re-train the brain to trust the body. I had to feel how a quarter turn feels. I have my work cut out for me. but there is very little pain , just stiffness.I am glad that the therapy has finally started. A Time To Heal A healing body is funny.It wants to get better but the brain and the body can:t agree what is right.The body would rather lay down.To wait for healing.I am a person of several minds and opinions .So I drag my body upright.To go through the motions again.Healing is hard work.
Well I have been home for 10 days and I received a PT evaluation. No OT . Good thing I didn’t wait for bath instructions. A PT did call last week but his Indian accent and quiet voice would have made it difficult to follow directions. His solution”,”I will just show her” With a totally blind person that means manipulation. I wanted nothing to do with that. You have to advocate for yourself. A reasonable accommodation. is the ability to hear and understand the therapist. I am a co-worker in my therapy sessions.
Now a poem of how some therapy sessions sound.
Go right…no the other right . Turn 180 degrees…keep turning go straight and go forward faster…no! stop you are veering to the left straighten out turn, turn, turn, turn,I have completed a 360 and am totally disoriented Sigh.. this is progress?
Healing gives you surplus time on your hands to pause, dream and remember. I find I think of being able to see . Especially, when I find I have maneuvered my walker into the living room for the third time . I sigh and think about my childhood .I had two old apple trees left from an orchard. One was tall and difficult for me to climb. I used it to escape from the neighbor’s goose.The other tree was in the middle of the yard. It’s branches were low and easy to climb. I loved to climb, sit and pretend that I had a real tree house. When Mother called me to the house, I jumped down into the green grass sea to swim to the house. I loved that tree and would explore each section of the tree with a loving touch.
The Old Apple Tree In the backyard of my childhood home,stood a gnarled tree, a survivor from an ancient orchard. It’s branches invited me to climb and play. I would imagine that this was my island home in a sea of green .One branch was perfect to recline to read a book.Another long branch invited me to nap.There was a stump of a branch that made a perfect table for my precious treasures.These, I hid in the tree’s hollow.I would spend long afternoons relaxing in the shade of this tree.When I was hungry, I would pick several ripening fruit.I felt safe, protected and hidden from the world.In this place , I could allow my imagination to roam.