East Bay Center for the Blind


Spring 2013
Newsletter of
The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc.
2928 Adeline St.
Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: 510-843-6935
Fax: 510-843-6006
E-Mail: ebcb@pacbell.net
Web site: www.eastbaycenterfortheblind.org

This issue is dedicated to four members of our Center who, sadly, have passed on during the last few months: Ruth Arellano, John Morin, Dorothy Vallerga, and Joanna Hochman. While we miss their presence at the Center very much, we remember and treasure the unique talents and gifts each of them shared with us, and we will honor their memory throughout this issue.

Editor's Corner

By Maureen Schulz

When I volunteered for the task of compiling and editing this newsletter, I did not realize what a humbling, and at the same time pleasurable, experience it would be to get to know and work with so many different people at the Center. I have enjoyed attending many center activities over the years, but when you actually work with people on a project, you really become part of the community in a very different way. You appreciate what goes on "behind the scenes", on a daily basis. Whether it is the planning of an event, or the many details that have to be figured out to make that event happen, or the maintenance of the center itself, all of it takes time and dedication.

Since I cannot be physically at the center during the week, I had many, many conversations with Jan Santos, our general manager, and with Anita March, our newly elected president. They were willing to answer all my questions about how the center works, to listen to ideas and make suggestions; but more than anything else, to be there and talk to me when I needed them. I would like to thank them for their patience and support.

The same holds true for Daveed Mandell, our former editor, whose skill as a journalist and dedication to the center I very much respect.

But last, and by no means least, are all the contributors to this issue, with special mention to Bill Barker, who handed me, in Braille, the very first article I received. Special mention also goes to Lizz Deeff and Connie Skeen, who, at very short notice, sat down to share their personal memories of Ruth Arellano and Dorothy Vallerga, which you will read later on.

I am indebted to all of you to make this issue of this newsletter, and indeed all future issues, possible. Please keep sending contributions at any time to ebcbnewsletter@gmail.com or contact the Center at 510-843-6935

President's Letter

By Anita March

Hello everyone:

It's spring, the flowers are in bloom, and there are new leaves on the trees. Many interesting and fun activities are planned for the coming months; but before I share them with you, there is sad news to report.

Four of our members, Ruth Arellano, John Morin, Dorothy Vallerga, and Joanna Hochman, have passed on and will be missed by all of us. I remember that On Tuesday mornings, I always looked forward to Ruth's smile and greeting. Dorothy would forever tease me when she passed out paratransit tickets, asking me if I was worth the cost of my tickets. John was the one who told me I should come to the East Bay Center to check it out, because there were great people there; he was so right. And I remember calling Joanna (she was in her 90s) when I first became part of the phone committee. While she told me then that she was too ill to attend center events, I made it a point to call her every month to let her know she was not forgotten.

These wonderful members will be greatly missed.

Are you ready to take a second tour with Laurel Largent as our tour guide? Laurel has agreed to share her trip to the Grand Canyon at the April business meeting. Last year we enjoyed hearing about her trip to Africa, and now it's off to one of the most beautiful national parks in Northern Arizona.

Bill Barker's talent show is scheduled for May, and he is looking for talented members to participate in the fun. Call Bill at 510-234-0832 to get on the program.

June brings the annual bake sale, which is one of our biggest fundraising events. Members and friends bake and cook their most delicious cakes, cookies, quick breads, fudge and casseroles, and many come early to purchase these yummy goodies. Thanks to everyone who bakes, cooks, and purchases these items to support the center.

Did you know that classes at the East Bay Center are free? You may take computer, Braille, exercise, chorus or ceramics, and we do have space for new participants. We also have a book club and a writing group. The learning takes place with the sharing of ideas, and with lots of laughter and fun.

Then there are all of our committees, busily working on center projects. The fundraising committee, chaired by Dorothy Donaville, is planning a holiday raffle with great prizes to be announced. Another of their successful endeavors has been a once-a-month Friday lunch, which funds our new-chairs-for-the-center project. In addition, we now have more and more members pledging a specified monthly amount to the Center.

We also have a committee working on a new design for our website, complete with more pictures.

New socials and projects are always being planned and considered, so if you have ideas, please call and let us know. We look forward to seeing you at the center.

In-house Talent Abounds

By Bill Barker

In the mid-1960s, it was my pleasure to develop children's programming for KUOP-FM, the University of the Pacific radio station. The series often featured in-school and individual talents among elementary school students.

In the 1970s and 80s, while on staff at the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind, I helped develop a monthly birthday luncheon entertainment, with a variety of offerings.

At the East Bay Center for the Blind, I continued their tradition of the Christmas Holiday Program, starting around 1979. We had individual and choral presentations.

I have often partaken by playing in and hosting noncompetitive talent shows, bringing out the best in individuals for what they have to offer in music, readings and recitations.

Our next East Bay Center talent show will take place on Saturday, May 25, from 1 to 4 pm. Please sign up and tell me what you would like to do, whether playing, singing, or reading. You may call me directly at 510-234-0832, or call the Center.

We need an audience, so please come.

Upcoming Events

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next quarterly business meeting will take place on Saturday, April 27, from 1 to 4 PM. Following Center business including committee reports, we will have Laurel Largent taking us on an audible tour of the Grand Canyon. Lunch will cost $10 across the board, and we will serve Quiche Lorraine and salad. Please sign up by Wednesday, April 24.

Then, on May 25, we will have our talent show between 1 and 4 PM. For lunch, there will be fried chicken and potato salad, and it will cost $10 across the board. Please reserve your meal no later than Wednesday, May 25. And don't forget to contact Bill Barker to sign up to share your talent with us. Call him at 510-234-0832.

Our annual bake sale will take place on June 22, from noon to 4 PM. Lunch will be taco salad and will cost $6, to be reserved by June 19. Please let the Center know if you would like to prepare baked items or casseroles for sale.

Remembering Ruthie

By Lizz Deeff

One of our warmest and brightest lights no longer shines here at the Center in Berkeley. Ruth Arellano ("Ruthie"), as many of us affectionately called her, left us on February 5, 2013, to "go spread her light in a better place."

Ruthie was born Ruth Rodriguez in a little mining town in New Mexico on August 5, 1928, where her father worked mining coal. When Ruthie was a child, her family moved to Madera, California, where she grew up. She then moved to the Bay Area as a young adult, where she obtained a job at the California Industries for the Blind in Oakland. There she met and married Manuel, her lifelong and devoted companion, on April 30, 1954.

Since 1987, Ruthie was one of our dearest and most faithful members: tiny but energetic, fiery but gentle. Along with her husband Manuel, she was an ever-constant presence at the center.

She and Manuel made it their business to keep the center picked up and free of clutter. Ruthie's special domain was the kitchen; everything must be clean and put away in its place. How we got chided when we didn't put things back where they belonged at the end of our monthly cooking activities!

We could always count on her wholehearted support and participation, even as we struggled to rebuild our programs and activities in the late 1990s.

Ruthie: we will miss so much seeing you, as we once did, but your spirit will always be a part of our Center: rattle a pot; throw a spoon when we get too sloppy; whisper to us about pride in keeping things neat and tidy when we work in that kitchen.

Ruthie: we will never forget you!

Dorothy Vallerga Remembered

By Connie Skeen

Dorothy Vallerga, one of the Center's most vital and hard-working members, passed away on February 21, 2013.

From the time she joined EBCB in 2001, she enriched the center with her energy and enthusiasm. She enjoyed doing crafts projects and, for a time, she even taught a crafts class herself. She was renowned for her eggnog bread and her Apple Hill cake (see recipe later in this issue), and She served on the Center Board of Directors and several committees.

While at the Center, she took computer classes; attended movement and exercise class; sang with the choral group, and she loved the monthly bingo games.

Before joining the Center, Dorothy's life was filled with innumerable accomplishments. She was a certified proofreader for the Library of Congress and other agencies, proofreading the books transcribed into Braille, prior to their distribution to the visually impaired. For many years, she also trained Braille transcribers for the Castro Valley Unified School District. These were sighted people who put print materials, such as books, tests, or assignments from instructors, into Braille.

In addition, Dorothy was a successful business woman. She owned and operated the Right Watch Company, showing and selling her watches at state and national conventions. She traveled extensively throughout the country and even to Switzerland, to negotiate with the supplier.

On the political level, Dorothy was a very active disability advocate. She was part of the contingency from the California Council of the Blind that traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby on behalf of the ADA. Then she was appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to sit on the paratransit Advisory and Planning Committee (PAPCO), when that program was being developed. She also served as a trainer for the HIV/AIDS Consortium.

Dorothy received much recognition and many awards throughout her life, and she was named Soroptimist woman of the year.

Yet, she always enjoyed being a homemaker. She loved family and friends; she loved food, music and laughter. She loved attending parties, but also hosting them. Every year, she would host a holiday boutique at her home in San Leandro. She enjoyed dancing and singing; she had a player piano and about a hundred rolls of music.

Dorothy was a busy lady and enjoyed her life to the fullest. We will miss her very much, but her memory will live on in our hearts.

Dorothy's Apple Hill Cake

Combine 2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil and 2 eggs. Add 4 cups diced apples. Sift Together 2 cups flour, 1 tsp. Salt, 2 tsp. Cinnamon, 1 tsp. Nutmeg and 2 tsp. Baking soda. Add to apple mixture. Pour into a 9-by-13 greased pan. Sprinkle top with nuts. Bake for 1 hour in a preheated 350 degree oven. Serve cold or warm with whipped cream.

Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep

A Poem
by Mary Elizabeth Frye
(written in 1932)

Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow, I am the sun on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush I am the swift uplifting rush Of quiet birds in circling flight. I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die.

Braille Class at the East Bay Center

By Patricia Nash

Braille offers literacy to all blind and visually impaired people who take the time to learn it; whether you would like to keep track of important phone numbers and addresses, label your medications, write down recipes, read books or keep a personal journal. Classes at the East Bay Center are tailored to your individual needs. You may learn uncontracted or contracted Braille.

Wednesday mornings from 10:30 to noon and Wednesday afternoons from 1 to 2:30 PM are available for classes. Please call the Center at 510-843-6935 and ask for Patty Nash. She is waiting with enthusiasm for interested students.

Center Class Schedule

Ceramics: Tuesday, 9:30 AM-1 PM. Instructor: Michelle Muennig.

Exercise and Movement: Tuesday, 2:00-3:15 PM. Instructor: Kathleen Davis.

Chorus and Music Appreciation: Friday, 1-3 PM. Instructor: Diana Perry.

Braille: Please call the Center for more information. Instructor: Patricia Nash.

Computer Instruction: Please call the Center for more information. Senior Instructor: Leah Gardner. Assistant Instructor: Patricia Nash.

Mission Statement

The mission of the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is to develop quality programs and services for blind and visually impaired people by providing a safe and supportive environment, while encouraging one another through leadership, interaction and the sharing of information, resources and skills. The center's activities enhance independence, dignity and self-determination. As a self-governing organization of primarily blind and visually impaired persons, the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., is committed to remaining a living, working foundation of strength, as we participate in the larger community in all areas of our daily lives.

Center Officers and Directors

General Manager: Jan Santos
President: Anita March
First Vice-President: Lizz Deeff
Second Vice-President: Steve Fort
Recording Secretary: Daveed Mandell
Corresponding Secretary: Patricia Nash
Treasurer: Ida Johnson
Directors: Dorothy Donaville; Claude Everett; Katrina McCurdy; Grace Rodriguez; Connie Skeen


If you or a friend would like to remember the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., in your will, you can do so by employing the following language: "I give, devise, and bequeath unto the East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization in California, the sum of $___ (or ___) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons." Thank you for your tax-deductible donation.

"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."

-- Albert Einstein