by Doug Powell
Gratitude is the theme of this issue of “The ACB Braille Forum,” but the deadline for articles is one day after our 46th wedding anniversary, so I’ve taken the opportunity to cover both. The details of your situation will be different, but I needed to say what follows for Carol, for me, and if I did it right, for some of you. I apologize in advance for any errors of omission.
Carol and I met on Oct. 20, 1970 at Lafayette College, “the college on the hill,” AKA “the dump on the hump.” For some reason, she didn’t run away when, the following spring, I basically flunked out because I read too slowly to keep up with my classes. We knew I had retinitis pigmentosa, but we didn’t fully know what that was going to mean for the rest of our lives. We also didn’t have the Rehabilitation Act, and I didn’t know about vocational rehabilitation agencies, Wallensak tape recorders, or screen readers. She stood by me during my drop-out year, and my getting into Indiana University by the seat of my pants. At IU, I asked her to marry me using Paul Simon’s words from the song “America,” “Let us be lovers and marry our fortunes together.” She said yes, and a little more than a year after we got married, we celebrated her induction into the merit-based fraternity for education majors as I celebrated my induction into Phi Beta Kappa at our graduation.
Carol has stood by me as we’ve (mostly her) raised two great kids. She stood by me as I got forced out of my career work because my eyesight was deteriorating faster than assistive technology was progressing. And we both took part-time jobs so our kids would graduate from college without student loan debt. Somehow, the kids got the idea to do what they love and the money would follow. The second part of that hasn’t worked out as well as we would hope, but we stand together to celebrate their triumphs, and anguish together at their tribulations.
Carol has stood by me for grand adventures like living in France for a year when the kids were 6 and 12 years old, to small adventures like trying to get access to my mother’s accounts so we/she could manage her finances. Carol does the finances, cooking, shopping, yard upkeep, a bulk of the transporting, travel and fun planning, and I do the laundry and try to love her enough to make up the difference. She stands by me while I do triathlons and try to make the world a better place for people who are blind or have low vision. In the words of The Band, “If I spring a leak, she mends me; I don’t have to speak, she defends me.” She’s the worst sighted guide ever, but she still laughs at my jokes.
We all have people around us who deserve tribute for helping us live the kinds of fulfilling, satisfying lives we live. So I express here my gratitude to Carol for almost a half-century of being my wife, my partner, my friend, my lover, and my caretaker. At our wedding, the band was too lazy to learn the Carpenters’ song “Maybe It’s You,” so we danced our first dance to “Theme from a Summer Place.” But a few years later, Orleans came out with a song that has become our song:
You’re still the one I want to talk to in bed
Still the one that turns my head.
We’re still having fun, and you’re still the one.
Do you have someone who would love to hear a similar expression of gratitude?