Blind Alley

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Chapter 1: Prospects
(by Karen B., added on 30 August 2015 01:04 PM)


Blind Alley
Chapter 1
Prospects

Margo was almost 18 years old, and still living with her parents. she had been blind since birth, but that didn't stop her much. she attended a college just thirty miles away, and got the bus to go to school every day. She traveled with her guide dog named Garth. He was handsome and very intelligent, and she loved him loads. He was always a good dog lying quietly during her classes, but he loved to work between the school buildings on campus. So lots of times she got to class faster than most of the other students. he was so quick and sure on his feet.
And she felt much confidence in his many abilities. they had been together only two years, but were melded into a nice team.
She was glad when classes started again, after kind of a slow summer and now they were ready to go back to campus again.
she had her backpack all loaded up with all she would need during the day, and she said goodbye to her dad as he left for work, then it was her turn and Garth's to leave for school.
she traveled several blocks and waited for the bus. Finally after being five minutes late, it drew up and she boarded. She quickly found a seat with Garth's help, and settled in for the ride.
At one of the stops a man got on, and then she realized that he too had a guide dog. They settled in right across from her, so she introduced herself.
His name was Andrew, and his dog was a big black Labrador named Phil.
They talked as they rode, and Andrew said that he was going to an office downtown. he said he was head of an organization for the blind. This interested her, and she asked what they did.
"I have this concept that we blind get stomped on a lot, and we need our own space to thrive," andrew told her, "so I'm
trying to get funds to do what I want about this."
"What's that?" Margo asked.
"Well, I want to buy an island, and only blind folks would live there," he said and waited for her response.
"What would the blind do on that island?" she asked incredulously.
"he faced her more she could tell by the direction of his voice. "we would finally live normally," he told her, "we would create our own jobs, go to school, have our own homes, and just be us."
"you mean like our own society, and that's it?" Margo asked.
"yes, and no more harassment from the sighted who hate or don't understand us." he told her. She was silent thinking and wondering if this guy was crazy or not.
She couldn't imagine anywhere like that and who in their right mind would fund such a place anyway.
She didn't have time to concentrate on this however, as their stop came up so she said goodbye politely and got off the bus and walked across campus to her first class. All day though, it kept coming back to her about that guy on the bus. She didn't know if she agreed with him or not. People treated her okay at school, but she did know that in many ways the blind were restricted by sighted people's attitudes. So she didn't hold any judgement about him, but she didn't think any person would ever fund his project.


Chapter 2: A New Home
(by Karen B., added on 30 August 2015 01:37 PM)



Chapter 2
A New Home

A few months later her mom was reading the paper, and she said aloud, "Margo there is this strange article about a man who is starting a community for the blind. Have you heard of this?"
Margo was just coming back inside from taking Garth out to do his business, and she paused in the middle of the living room with his leash in one hand and the dog sat beside her facing her mom.
:"oh good boy," she told him. His tail thumped on the floor as he received his praise.
"Well, I met him I think a long time back on the bus, and he has an organization downtown," Margo told her mother. "Maybe you should visit, and see what it's all about," her mom said and continued to tell her the information where to find the office, and its phone number which Margo wrote down out of curiosity when she reached her room.
She reached for the phone on her night table and dialed the number. She was surprised to find that there was a secretary to take messages, but the lady said that Andrew was in conference, and would get back to her, and would she like an appointment instead?
Margo thought about this. Did she really want to go further investigating this entire thing?
Was this guy for real?
She would soon find out. She scheduled an appointment for the next day, and got onto the bus headed for that office. when she had asked directions when exiting the bus, it was easily found, and she entered the lobby. She walked up where she heard the secretary working and introduced herself. "Oh yes, he has been expecting you." she was told. Then the secretary led her to a room a couple doors down on a long hallway.
When she went in she felt good carpets on the floor and Andrew stood when she came in. "Can I help you is this Margo?"
"Yes we meet again," she said with a smile in her voice.
"Welcome" he said "please have a seat by my desk" and he tapped a chair so she would know where to go, but Garth had already found it for her. "good boy" she whispered.
He wagged his tail and lay down by her to wait.
"We have made considerable progress since you and I met on that bus." Andrew told her. "We have been raising funds, and now we have purchased a very nice island just off the coast."
"oh?" Margo said.
"It has several buildings already useful for us, and a good dock for a boat launch, and we have hired someone to ferry us back and forth to the island." he mentioned. " May I ask just how many of you are there?" margo inquired curiously.
"There are about forty of us now, and it seems it all happend very quickly," he told her, "and we have lots of other applications to go through before we accept more blind folks there."
"What will you do now to keep busy"?
He said that they had set up some offices on the island, and that soon some of the folks homes would be in enough good repair so they would actually move to the island.
This all seemed so unreal to Margo. "How will you get supplies and go to the bank, and do errands from the island?"
We will have a regular ferry service from the land.": he told her.
"you still need sighted people to do that," she said.
"but yes, we do, but on this island the blind will be by themselves. We won't have to do what sighted people tell us to do."
Eventually, we will have businesses to run, and the blind will be hired by other blind folks. Nobody will care if you are blind or not."
"What about emergencies?" Margo wanted to know.
"We have doctors who will come over to the island to help us, and take us to the hospital via a medical boat." he told her.
She had little else to wonder about, it all seemed crazy.
"What does one have to do to sign up for this? and can one opt out if this doesn't work for you?"
"yes no problem." Andrew told her. She finally stood and said she had to go, after filling out an application. "We will be in touch," he told her as she left the office.


Chapter 3: Settling In
(by Karen B., added on 30 August 2015 01:55 PM)



Chapter 3.
Settling In

She took the bus home, and told her parents about the entire thing plus her own reservations about it. "It seems crazy but maybe not," she said, "But I filled out the application anyway. They want to start businesses for the blind to run there,".
Her parents said they would support her decision no matter what that was. She was in her senior year now, and would have to find a job and move to her own place anyway.
This was what her sighted brother had done, and what she wanted to do too.
But then this thing had come up, so now she would wait for the results.
It was an entire month before she heard anything from Andrew's agency. She had been accepted, and there was an invitation to take up residence on the island by June. Her father wasn't sure but when she said she would try, he helped her pack her suitcases, and lots of boxes, and extra dogfood for Garth to take along. "Let us know if you need anything at all," they told her and she promised she would.
He drove them to the docks to meet the ferry and they kissed and hugged as she boarded.
She sat in the beach chair on deck as the boat slowly left the dock. This was a new adventure for her and Garth.
Across the bay Andrew and some other blind folks sat on the dock. Andrew sipped his coffee waiting for the ferry that would bring Margo here to the island along with some others who had also been accepted by the board.
The sun was out and it was nice waiting there. He said to his assistant, "are the houses ready Jack?"
"Yes we had ladies going all over them yesterday, you know the maids we hired from the mainland."
"That's good," Andrew said and listened again there was a sound of a boat motor coming their way. "it's almost here I think, he said rising and putting the coffee cup into the nearest trash bin.
The boat docked and the passengers slowly felt their way down the plank and stepped onto the island and were greeted by the people on the docks.
Margo was surprised how many were there to greet them and realized that some of the other passengers had also gotten off the boat as well. Then the boat left after some minutes as their luggage was unloaded for them onto carts. She saw that some sighted people who identified themselves herded the blind folks to various houses on the island and asking if they needed help unpacking. She was shown to a little cottage on one of the dirt lanes and given the keys. The cart with all her things was unloded into the living room...then she was left to her own devices.
Fortunately, her mom had given her groceries to last a month, so she started unloading those from the boxes and found the eat-in kitchen which she investigated. There was a nice range, fridge, and dishwasher with Braille markings and instructions, plus a clothes washer and dryer that were also marked with Braille too. "This is quite nice" she admitted as she put her groceries away. Soon she was finished, and although she had a sandwich on the boat and a drink she was now hungry again. She took a pan, and made herself a steak and cheese pepper sandwich that quickly filled her up nicely.
Then she worked to unpack all the boxes of books and her personal belongings. There were bookshelves that were just right for her Braille books and her print ones too. She put out her knickknacks, and other little things that made it feel more like home.
Then she had the long job of unpacking all her clothing and putting these away in the double closets she found. There was a nice double bed, and night table, plus two large tall dressers. She could see there was plenty of storage space in this house.
She had also found a big closet in the living room too where she put her coats and jackets, and boots. She put her shoes and sneakers in the closets in the bedroom. She found that there was even tie-downs for her dog, and got his bed out for him to lie on. The place really was nice she thought.
They had said that there was also a tall fenced area for her dog to go out too...but she hadn't investigated the back yard yet.
She had noticed when coming towards the house the air was full of the scent of roses and when she stepped onto the front portch she could smell the roses and assumed they were in a garden nearby.
She loved roses and liked what she found.
Now she wasn't quite sure what to do. She went to the kitchen and looked for a phone. There was one, and beside it was a Braille listing of people she saw who lived there and staff names too with phone numbers beside each name.
That made her feel more secure, and she also saw that the local police and fire and the hospital were also listed.
It seemd much was thought out, and she called home to tell her parents and her brother she had arrived safely, and told them all about the nice house she was given.
She had unboxed her stereo and television, and had plugged both of them in. She found an antenna lead for the television, and hoped this worked. then she turned it on and found she could get several channels. Then she tried the stereo and saw that there was a lot of radio stations as well. things were really shaping up for her.
She then decided it was time to look at the back yard, so she harnessed up Garth and went to the back door. This exited also onto a nice shady screened portch and she went onto the stairs going onto the lawn. She wandered around and found the fence and the gate leading to the driveway.
It was nice back there with big trees and shade and a nice lawn. There was also she had found out a good garage which she unlocked and investigated.
Finally, she and Garth went back into the house, and she again tied him on his bed. She thought maybe he might want to nap, and she was beginning to feel the same way.
So she made sure all the doors were locked, and the windows too, then she joined him in their bedroom and stretched out on the bed. Soon she was fast asleep listening to nothing but the wind in the trees, and the birds and seagulls.


Chapter 4: s
(by Karen B., added on 30 August 2015 02:26 PM)



chapter 4

Explorations


Around six she awoke to the sound of the phone ringing, and she found the phone on the nightstand and picked it up.
"Hello" she said listening. ' A voice on the other end said, "This is Andrew, how are you doing settling in? I am just checking to see if there is anything you needed...and checking with all the new residents."
"oh Andrew, the house is so nice, and I am all unpacked." she told him. "good for you. I wanted to tell you there is a meeting of all residents tomorrow around ten a. M. Someone will come to show you the way over to the meetinghouse." "Thanks for everything ." she said gratefully, "I will wait for my escort."
See you then," andrew said and hung up. She put down the phone finding that now it was time to eat again, and surely Garth must be hungry too. She took his leash and they made their way to the kitchen where she fed him first, then started her own supper.
She wondered if she should find any lighting to put on here. She had noticed good lamps all over the house but since she was blind herself hadn't thought of it until now.
Who was paying all the electric bills anyway, she wondered. No mention of this was forthcoming from anyone on the staff.
She had to pay some part of her Social Security for rent here, and that had been done before she came. It was a monthly rental, but was very reasonable based on her own income.
She ate her supper a big plate of spaghetti with meatballs and that was great plus some garlic bread.
For dessert she decided upon some pudding. After doing the dishes, she wandered around and looked over everything. That was when she found the big desk in the living room, and opened the drawers. There was paper, a slate and stylus for writing, and other things in there. She also found on top a book. she opened it and it proved to be a map of the entire island and where all the buildings were. Fascinated, she studied the maps sitting down on the desk chair and put the book in front of her.
She found the docks, and then worked her way to find where it had house numbmers listed, and found hers on the lane. That was progress . Then she saw the meetinghouse, the administrative offices, and a line of buildings that were unspecified. Anote at the bottom told her this would be where the business district would be eventually.
There was a boathouse by the docks, and a note said there was a snack bar, which was marked so that she could figure how to get to it.
The map had lots of houses all marked out where they were with the numbers shown on the maps.
There was a couple churches too.
One of the buildings a ways from the docks was designated as a grocery store she saw, so she decided that had to be investigated right away. But then tomorrow night there was that meeting, and she would of course go to it with her escort.
the next day she went to the store, and looked around. The products were marked in Braille so she could shop alone. this was not like anything she had ever been able to do, and always she had needed sighted help but not in here. One gal stood at the counter and Margo realized that she too was blind. She used a talking cash register to ring up the sale.
" "Thank you." Margo said. "my name is Margo and I have my guide dog with me, named Garth."
The woman was friendly, and said "Welcome" "my name is Amy, and my dog is right behind me. Her name is Ellen." so she had already made a friend as they talked about their dogs and where they had gone to get them.
She said her goodbyes, and made her way back to her cottage again proud she had managed all this alone. she had anice pack of more groceries besides what her mom had sent with her.
She had her computer she had set up when she found the router in the other bedroom. Now she spent the day reading books and being on the computer. It was normal for her to do this, and felt more like home now that she was managing on her own. She got dressed in better clothing, and got Garth's harness on him again before the doorbell rang and she opened the door and a man said, "hi I'm Ken and I was assigned to help you to the meting tonight. Are you going still?"
"oh yes, hello, I am ready to go. I just have to get my keys to lock up.' she told him. so she got her jacket and keys and they left. Ken used his cane but was able to keep up with her. Soon she found herself at the meetinghouse, a big building that Ken said was like a mansion, but easy to get around.
They went into a big room that was set up like an auditorium, and already
people were filing in getting into seats when they found them. She could tell someone was up in front and heard talking from that direction. finally at seven the place quieted as Andrew started out the meeting with a microphone in front of him over a p. a. system.
" "welcome to our first fall meeting, and welcome to all the new residents too." he said clearly.
There was applause and Margo could tell there were indeed a lot of peple here tonight.
"I am here to answer any questions you all have, and to talk over our plans for our future." Andrew started out.
He actually went over all Margo had learned so far, and questions were asked about things. Most were the same questions she had asked him in their offices on shore. An hour later her escort took her bakc to her house and she thanked Ken for helping her. then she and Garth went to bed for the night.
The next day her phone rang again, and she found out it was amy inviting her to take awalk with her and her dog around the island. So they set off and met at the store where Amy was just getting off work. Another gal would take her afternoon for her. they walked around the island on a path that was much like a ring, and ended up at the snack bar where they bought ice cream and talked sitting on a bench there.
As they sat many residents came to the snack bar too, and amy introduced all of them to Margo. There was a small group that gathered around to talk to them, and some of them were guys.
They asked Margo where she was from, and what kinds of things she liked to do, and all about her dog.
She was soon chatting comfortably with them as if she had known them a long time.


Chapter 5: Social Events
(by Karen B., added on 30 August 2015 02:42 PM)



Chapter 5

Social Events
Margo's new friends said they were going to a game event in the administration building and would Margo and Amy like to come too? Margo liked board games and cards so they went with the group there. She had a very nice fun afternoon playing scrabble and Monopoly in Braille with them.
Then they went to a club they said was all run by the blind and it was a dinner club. so she had anight out as well. tired but satisfied, she went home with Garth. This was such a wonderful day for them.
The next night she attended a described commedy movie for the blind, and enjoyed that too.
Every day seemed to have something particularly taylored to the needs for the blind. Next morning she wanted to visit the school where the library was, and this was her goal. She loved to read books, and wanted to see what was there. When she arrived the librarian also turned out to be blind, and he was very helpful with finding some books for her to bring with her little cart home.
She would have to bring them back when she finished with them of course.
She thought how wonderful it was that everything was being run by blind folks on this island.
Garth was adjusting well and she had no worries where he was concerned. They could take the little ferry back and forth for the vet too. In case of emergency they would even get a plane to take them over there for medical needs.
The summer seemed to fly by with all the activities she could do here. They had sailing lessons with a teacher that came to the island, and she loved taking long walks with Garth and her new friends.
A couple nights there were even dances held in the big ballroom in the administrative building too. She was afraid nobody would ask her to dance but they did, and soon she had plenty of dance partners that night.
She even met a very nice fellow who was another guide dog user, and his name was Gilbert. His dog's name was Lilly who was a giant black Labrador but very friendly.
Garth was a bit smaller than his Lilly. He was also a black Labrador.
Gilbert asked her to dance three times over. He was funny and witty, and she liked being with him. He took her back to her table where she gulped down some cold punch, and ate some goodies that she got from the buffet, and he sat with her at the table and they talked.
He'd had a good job with the phone company, but had been laid off, so there was nothing else to do since he didn't have another job to go to. He had heard of the project from a friend, and decided that there was nothing to lose so had done the application and the rest was history he said.
Again Margo was reminded that seventy percent of the blind were unemployed.
After they had finished snacks he got up excusing himself, and she heard him ask yet another gal to dance too.
She waited, and someone came to her table. "hi they told me you were here," Andrew said in his low voice. "would you dance with me Margo?"
She said she would. They talked while dancing and he brought her back to the table again where Garth waited for them. "how are you getting along ?" he asked as she sat down again. "just fine, and there is so much to do here it's great."
"we really do try." he told her. "Let me know if you need anything at all. Call me okay?"
"I will thanks for the dances." she told him. He said goodbye and disappeared in the crowded room.
She was joined by Amy and some of her friends at the table next, and they spent the rest of the night chatting.
She had loved this night too, and went home happy.


Chapter 6: Time Passage and Progress
(by Karen B., added on 30 August 2015 03:02 PM)



Chapter 6 Passage of Time and Progress

Andrew again stood on the dock with James, his assistant. "Well, he asked, "did Dick take the job?"
" he did." James told him. "We now have a fulltime clerk at the office."
"That's wonderful." andrew said, "it was getting too much to do everything alone."
"It sure was." James said, "The applications are coming in droves."
Andrew sighed. "i was having a hard time keeping up, but thankfully most were in Braille so it was easier that way."
they walked along towards the new cafe that one of James' friends had opened up. The place did well, and lots of people got lunch there. It was also run by blind staff. James reached for the menus handing one to Anderew. The menus were in Braille so ordering was easily done. The waitress came and both men knew she was blind too. She was cheerful and took their order which was filled in a few minutes. The food was great, and they had a good lunch, leaving tips for their waitress too.
The evening came and the winds picked up a lot. Margo took Garth out and she decided it was time for her to find her winter clothing that she'd stored in the basement. She went downstairs and dragged up the suitcases. She put on a fleece shirt, and found her best fleece pajamas, and her slippers. This would do for tonight, but she took out her winter parka from the coat closet and laid it by the door on a couch. Then she found her favorite hat and mittens. and some woolen socks to go with this and some heavy fleece slacks and long underwear too.
all this she laid out so that she could use it tomorrow morning because she heard there would be snow on the ground.
The rest of the day she spent listening to television and cooking supper, giving Garth his dinner and taking him outside after that.
She had made a good hot stew, and downed it gratefully.
The winds blew hard outside, and now as night fell, she could hear snow pelting against the windows, but she and Garth were warm and cozy. She had found his blankets for him and put them around him on his bed, before she climbed into hers with the fleece blankets and her heavy comforter.
It was a cold snowy night but they were fine.
She was glad she had gone to the store earlier that day for supplies
In the morning she took her dog out, and had some breakfast. She stepped out into only about three inches of snow, so she thought to take a walk to the cafe. The wind was cold as they walked, but as soon as she opened the door there was the welcome scent of cooking, and coffee. She ordered a hot cup while she waited for a table. Even in this weather others had ventured out for breakfast. The snow didn't seem to curtail business she thought as she was shown to an empty table. She ordered some coffee and coffee cake that seemed to be just baked. It was all very good.
Then after she paid the bill she walked back to the house. After that they got lots of snow and storms came into the island slashing it with snow, rain, and ice pellets.
She was warm inside the house, but wondered when it was all going to let up. Between storms she got groceries and carted them home in her pack.
Spring finally came and the flowers came out, and the scent of growing things met her as she left the house. She went for what she thought was the same walk she and Amy had taken last summer, but somehow she got turned around, and spent the next hour trying to figure out where she was. Finally she figured it out and she was by the older buildings on the island where the business district was now starting up. Since she had figured this out she began to explore more. Some of the shops were now open. she went into one small shop and started looking around. It was a gift shop, and there were all sorts of knickknacks she liked. There were little dogs and cats, some sailboats, and other nice things on all the shelves neatly arranged. There was someone at the counter, and she bought a little black Labrador she found that reminded her of the big dog she had with her as her guide, Garth.
The lady at the counter said, "oh you must be new here?"
"Oh fairly so, I moved in last summer," she told the woman. "I'm Virginia. I hope you will come back?"
"oh I will. Thank you. It's a nice shop." she answered. Margo realized hearing again the talking cash register that virginia was also blind but she didn't comment. all the shops a were run by the blind for the blind.
The next shop was a clothing shop for women. She went to the racks to see what was up here. To her surprise all the tags on them were in Braille describing all the sizes and colors of the clothing plus the pricing of course.
She had a wonderful time looking at all the new dresses and blouses, and found some new jeans and t-shirts she wanted. Going to the counter she found two women who seemed very cheerful, and they helped her buy the items that she stuck into her pack.
She couldn't have felt more welcome as they offered her some cookies and a drink. she sat on a chair and talked to them for a time.
Edna had been with the island about two years and her friend Beth had been there three years. They had been offered this job and they said they both enjoyed it. They talked of the community, and its goals and everything else and she knew again she had made new friends.
She finally said goodbye and her thanks, and left the shop.
The next shop she found was a hardware store, and she looked around. the items there were all marked with signs in Braille too. the two men at the counter asked her if there was anything she was looking for and she asked if they had some mops she could buy. They did, and they helped her strap it to her pack. Already she had so much she had to go home now just to deposit all her shopping into her house. Never had she had such a successful shopping trip.
At home she put away all the items adding her little Labrador to her collection of dogs on the bookshelf in the living room. she must remember to visit the business district again soon.
She realized that from the time entering all the shop she hadn't needed any sighted assistance at all.
That was totally new to her.
Garth plopped on his bed satisfied, and she gave him a biscuit. "you are such a good dog." she told him patting his big head. He looked up at her and she knew he understood.


Chapter 7: Shopping Alone
(by Karen B., added on 30 August 2015 03:14 PM)



Chapter 7 Shopping Alone

Those were the nicest days in spring when she had learned how to get to that section of the island. The winds blew lightly and scent of roses found her nose as she made her way one morning back to the business district. She started along looking and feeling for the waiste high Braille signs that told her which shop that she had arrived at. She kept going and soon the scent of baking goods reached her. She found that the next doorway was the "Two-Dog bakery. She went inside. At the counter there were some Braille signs telling her what goods were in the long case in front of her. There were doughnuts of all kinds, cakes, and pies, and all kinds of cookies and other delightful things, and she wanted to buy all of it, but of course she couldn't, so she told the lady at the counter she would like to buy a cinnamon roll, and some cupcakes as well and why not add a dozen chocolate chip cookies too. and oh yes two raspberry doughnuts would be nice and she took out her wallet and paid for the goods.
With her pack halfway full, she continued to explore the center. She heard laughter as she went around one corner and stopped by one doorway. From inside she heard music, and other noise in there that might be video games or something. She would have to investigate that too. Inside she found that there were guys standing at game tables that had board games on them, and others sat playing cards, at another counter they were playing accessible computer games. She didn't exactly fit in as there were few women here, but she thought she might come back to try some of these at some point.
She picked up a pamphlet she found on the counter, and was invited to return by the two men there.
She walked out though, into the spring sunshine. This was turning out to be very interesting she thought as she walked along with Garth. The next doorway she reached out to read the sign. This was a legal service she saw. And it listed the attorney names.
Then the next door she found a jewelry store, and she went inside.
Again she found Braille signs on the counter to describe the jewelry locked inside. She requested of the girl at the counter to see some of the rings there. The ring boxes were taken out, and she looked at all the Braille labels that told her pricing and color.
She picked out a nice ring, and paid for it. She also bought another talking watch for herself.
The next building was evidently large, but there was still a sign for her to read. It said that this was the community gymn. She entered and listened to lots of people exercising. She went to the counter to see what was up. There again were signs. She could go here for free. There were all kinds of exercise equipment, and it even said there were tie-downs for anyone who had a dog too. this would be great she thought. But she wasn't dressed for that, and left.
The next building had a sign that said it was a theater, and the next was a sailing school.
Next came the flower shop, and she saw the next huge building was a department store so she went to see what she could find.
By the time she exited her pack was very full, and she decided it was time to go home. She had a nice walk home, and she was just in time for lunch.


Chapter 8: The Storm and Failure
(by Karen B., added on 30 August 2015 03:28 PM)



Chapter 8
The Storm and Failure

The weeks passed and the last of summer came. One evening Andrew called a meeting to say that a storm was going to blow in and was a hurricane. He said all should stay indoors, and not come out until it was over of course.
She was glad she was already home. Turning on the weather radio she heard that Andrew was right. The hurricane seemed to be headed their way. There was nothing she could do, and she did have some supplies in that would last her awhile though. She settled into one of the big living room chairs listening to television reports about the storm.
Around five in the morning as she lay in bed, the winds started to blow very hard. But she got to sleep some more. When she awoke though, her bed was wet, and she heard water streaming above her. She knew then that something had leaked. She got up changed into some dry clothing and thankfully her own closet was still dry in the bedroom. She checked her dog who was all right, but sitting looking at her. The winds seemed to have stopped, And she could hear nothing but hard rain. She went to the phone to see if it was still working but it wasn't.
She knew not to go outside and just sat in the living room waiting to see if anything happened.
Eventually she fed her dog, and only took him out briefly off the back portch. Then they came inside again. She looked up on the shelf for her cooking gear a gas camp stove and propane. When this was found she got some eggs out keeping the fridge door shut as fast as she could to try to preserve anything in there. She cooked up the eggs after getting the stove going and had her own breakfast.
After cleaning up there was nothing else to do.
She looked at her battery clock and it said ten A. M. That was when she heard people outside coming down the street.
She went to the door to be met by Andrew and some others she didn't know. "I am going around to see about damages with these sighted rescue teams Andrew told her. They say your roof has damages so suggest you evacuate."
she hated that idea, but would do what they said to do. She asked that she be allowed to pack everything so they waited ...and she got boxes from the basement and her suitcases and packed everything she had brought to the island.
They helped her look around to see if anything was left but the furniture, and they all left. She walked with one of the men who talked her through with her dog where things had been blown down.
At the administration building she found that all the other residents were there, and that a boat had been called to go to the mainland.
There had been telephone service restored so she called her parents who would meet her.
?A couple weeks later Andrew called her parents' home and she picked up the phone. Her father insisted on speaking to Andrew instead of her, and told him she wasn't returning under any circumstances. "But Dad!" she argued, "i liked it there, and want to go back."
"no," he told her "I won't allow that." She got up and left the room. She was after all over 21, why shouldn't she make her own decisions?
But her parents were not moving on this and she lost the argument. They found her an apartment and moved her in there on the mainland.
She would never forget how independent she had been allowed to be on the island, but that wasn't to be any more. Eventually, she accepted this, and fell into routines again. On the street one day she met Gilbert, and andrew who had come from the island to get some supplies, and she told them what was going on.
"you aren't the only one not coming back,' andrew sighed. "It is just the staff now, and none of the other people will be returning. Relatives and friends are stopping them just as it is with yours."
"I am sorry Andrew," she said in a low voice, "There was nothing I could do to change my parents' mind."
"I am sorry too," andrew told her, "it was a good experiment."
They said their goodbyes, and she walked on to the coffee shop and then back home to the apartment again. She wondered if there would ever be another place like the island where blind people could live together and be independent as much as she had been there. It was very regretful that the storm had changed everything...but now she would go on as before, and do what she could on the mainland. There was no other choice. . But she would always remember how it was before things got bad...and at least at one point she had some choices.Now she was back to square one where she was before she went to the island. Maybe someday it would all change for the better, but she didn't know, but until then all she could do was try anything.the end.




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