It was Monday morning. I was curious. What would Eileen find out when she called the Braille Institute? Would they be interested in turning my books into braille?
Eileen was efficient. She had tracked down the one in charge of the library. She described my books. This is what she was told: They’re backlogged. It’s hard to get a book accepted for transcription. We decided not to try to meet with anyone at the Braille Institute that day.
I was sorry not to see Eileen again, but glad for the chance to rest. Though we had only one book event a day, we were busy almost every minute. Between events, I visited with family and old friends. And even though we’d been together every one of our packed three days, Pat Salzarulo still had things she wanted us to see. I wondered where she was getting all her energy to go non-stop at each venue, and still want to take us places, especially her favorite restaurants, though it meant she’d have little time left to sleep. She was persistent and irresistible, as I said before, so I decided to stay an extra day in San Diego—a day to relax with no obligations except to enjoy ourselves and play.
Pat and Debbie were scheduled to pick us up at noon. I had nothing scheduled for the next three hours. What did I do? I took a nap. It was 9:30 a.m.
Pat and Debbie slept in, had a leisurely morning, and then came by to pick us up. We packed into Pat’s big SUV with Kirkland in the back. Off we went to Coronado Island. She mentioned several more places, including a fishing village, but I told her I’d rather see one thing thoroughly than many things through the window of a car. She acquiesced, but still managed to give us a tour of downtown San Diego on the way. Once we were on Coronado Island, we were treated to a tour of the famous hotel, a special lunch, and a walk on a private beach.
The sun sparkled on the water and burned bright patches on the wet sand as the sea retreated. Hedy, who had been trained to walk close to the edge of the road, was guiding me right at the lacy, curved edge of the water. She didn’t know anything about waves, and I wasn’t paying attention. One came suddenly rushing up the sand. Hedy hates getting wet. She was skirting sideways as fast as she could go. My shoes were full of water. I laughed and laughed. It was glorious. What a wonderful way to end our time in San Diego!
Update from Kasey one month later:
I just completed 10 months of braille transcribing classes. I am currently brailling about 10 pages of your book for my manuscript to the library of congress for my certification. I spoke with my braille instructor about working with me on brailling your entire book since I have little experience on some of the formatting. Hopefully, with two of us working, we should be able to complete your book faster! I just wanted to check in with you and let you know that I am working on your book!
I’m so happy that you are able to bring to light a lot of the hidden helpers when it comes to assisting people with visual impairments. As I’m sure you have learned over the years that there are O&Ms (Orientation & Mobility specialists), puppy raisers, guide dog trainers, VI (Visual Impairment) teachers for young students, and braille transcribers who devote so much time and hard work to helping people with visual impairments. When a person loses their sight I would want them to know that they are not alone and there is an army of volunteers who are there for them every step of the way!