East Bay Center for the Blind


Summer 2011
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

Editor's Corner

By Daveed Mandell

Welcome to the summer issue of "Keeping in Touch". Besides the usual announcements, the Center's General Manager, Jan Santos, informs us about various Center happenings; Steve Fort writes about his encounter with the BART tracks in 1983; Loralee Castner offers a contemplative poem; and Preston Moses tells us about his adventures during last March's Hawaiian cruise.

Please send your contributions to this newsletter to me via email at ebcb@pacbell.net, or call the Center and leave a message for me at 510-843-6935. Enjoy your summer!

General Manager's Letter

Hi, Friends,

Our thanks to Mike Gorman for another fun Oldies Dance in May. We enjoyed the music and socializing, and ate our fill (as always).

And speaking of eating our fill, thanks to all of you who baked, cooked and otherwise worked so hard to make our bake sale such a success. Our thanks as always to Charlotte Criddell for her tireless candy sales fund raising .

And of course we couldn't have done it without all of you who bought goodies. The final total is not in yet, but so far we've made over $800. Clearly it was a fine fundraiser, thanks to all of you.

The chorus added to the fun with their songs from "Show Boat". Grace Rodriguez gave us a wonderful narration as usual, and we couldn't do all this without Diana Perry, our excellent director and pianist.

I'm pleased to report that the Berkeley Adult School has decided not to cut our classes, so they will be continuing again in the Fall. Thanks to all of you who wrote letters of support and attended the budget meeting to help this happen. Word is that your speaking up for the classes you wanted made a big difference.

We'll be taking a break from our regular classes during the summer, and will use this time to focus on other activities.

On Wednesday, July 20, 2011 EBCB will hold our second workshop in conjunction with BORP, (Bay Area Outreach Recreation Program), on disaster preparedness. This workshop will be a basic first aid and compression-only CPR class, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. The location for this joint endeavor is yet to be determined, but we will keep you informed. Cost is $10.00 for this Red Cross training, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Center members can also join BORP in August for a trip to the Red Cross store in San Francisco, where disaster, first aid, and other preparedness kits and supplies will be displayed and can be purchased (under a BORP discount. Date and other specifics will be announced later.

At our business meeting on July 23, we have tentative plans for some of our members to discuss crisis response to disabilities they live with. We can increase our awareness of emergency situations, both at the Center and at home.

Continuing the theme of making our Center a safe place for everyone, we are asking those who have not already done so to provide us with an emergency contact, so we can help you contact your loved ones should the need arise.

Also at our July business meeting, we'll be voting on the amendments to the EBCB bylaws presented at our April business meeting. Hope to see you all there, and have a great summer!


Upcoming Events

Red Cross First Aid Class: The Center will hold a basic first aid and compression-only CPR class, in conjunction with BORP on Wednesday, July 20, from 10 to 11:30 AM. The cost is $10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. The location is to be announced.

In August, BORP will offer a trip to the Red Cross store in San Francisco. First aid and disaster preparedness kits will be available for purchase. For more information, please call the Center.

Quarterly Business Meeting: The Center's next quarterly business meeting will take place on Saturday, July 23, from 1 to 4 PM. We will vote on amendments to the By-Laws and talk about assisting people with physical conditions such as diabetes, asthma and epilepsy. Lunch costs $10 across the board, and the menus is to be announced. Please reserve your lunch plate by no later than Wednesday, July 20.

Annual Picnic: The Center's annual picnic will take place on Saturday, August 27, from noon to 4 PM. The menu will consist of hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, watermelon and ice cream. Lunch costs $10 across the board. Please reserve your lunch plate by no later than Wednesday, August 17.

Talent Show: Bill Barker is organizing a talent show, to be held on Saturday, September 24. The lunch menu is to be announced. Lunch costs $10 across the board, and must be ordered no later than Wednesday, September 14.

Center Announcements

Center Closure: The Center will be closed during the first two weeks in August. It will re-open on Tuesday, August 16.

New Candy Bars: The Center is now selling the World's Finest candy bars, in addition to the See's candy that we've been selling for several years. These bars cost $1 each and are currently available in five flavors: milk chocolate, milk chocolate with almonds, dark chocolate with almonds, caramel and crisp rice.

Over the Edge

Submitted By: Steve Fort

November 22, 1983 was the twentieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, one of the saddest days of my life. Although we shook hands in the East Garden of the White House in the summer of 1962, I didn't know Kennedy personally. Yet he was my President, unlike any president since, I thought. But, I could not have anticipated how momentous a day this day would become.

I planned to visit my brother and his family that evening. It was the day before Thanksgiving, and I was looking forward to a long weekend back in Southern California where I grew up. But, like every other work day, I went to work as a vendor at Oakland City Hall.

Even customers were cross like the weather, cloudy with rain expected later. A man who didn't like women swore under his breath, slamming his merchandise and money on the counter when a woman was standing too close to him.

I went to Every Woman's bookstore to buy a paperback, and returned home to San Francisco to finish packing in time to go to the airport. I took a bus to the McArthur BART Station in Oakland, entered a BART train, and exited at Powell Street Station in San Francisco. It occurred to me that I was in a less familiar area of the platform than usual.

As I walked down the platform toward the Market street exit between Fourth and Fifth Streets, I heard the trains stopping along both sides of the platform confirming that I was not too closed to either edge.

It was now 5:25 and plenty of time to catch the 27 bus at 5:40 to meet a woman friend who worked at Pacific Telephone.

I passed two escalators, and believing that I was at the back of a third, I shortened my cane stroke to follow it around in order to exit at the right place. I realized to my horror that I was instead at the edge of the platform and the edge of the wall. My left foot was extended in mid-air, and the glider tip on my fiberglass cane clicked against the narrow metal strip along the platform's edge. I knew I could not maintain my balance, since I was leaning forward, and hoped I could stay on my feet when hitting the track.

My knees buckled immediately, and in an instant I was face-down along the edge of the track. "My book!" I heard myself say as it sprang in the air from the impact of the fall and slid ahead of me by two or three feet. I later realized that my sunglasses fell off as well.

Someone who I later discovered was another BART rider came to assist me. I noticed the little finger on my right hand was bleeding, and I noticed later that my chin was also bleeding, although not as badly scraped.

For an instant I thought of the interior of the train with its plushy, carpeted floors and upholstered seats and air conditioning, and how dirty and uncomfortable it was down here on the track with its hard, sharp surfaces smelling of machine oil. When attempting to get to my feet I noticed immediately that I could not put any pressure on my left arm and was helped up by the BART rider.

Now standing at the edge of the platform, I was astonished to find that its height was above my waist. I managed to move on to the platform and was helped to my feet.

As I walked toward the agent's booth with the BART rider, a train entered the platform I had just left. "Thank God I am alive!" I thought.

Twilight Vigil

Submitted By: Loralee Castner
At twilight,
I tarry by a hospital bed
And watch my father drowse.
With care, I knit
Complex repetitions,
A pattern unfamiliar
And intricate.
I check instructions
Twenty times each row
Unable to knit
Two together
Yarnover,  purl three
By rote.
Row upon laborious row,
One white strip finished,
One blue strip begun,
And a baby blanket forms,
Gift for a child
As yet unborn.

With hands that move as slowly
As hands on the nightstand clock,
I slip one stitch
Over two loops
And concentrate on
Slender threads.
This metronome of
Clicking needles
Marks the passage of time,
Second by second,
Minute by minute,
My parent's final hours.
One skein of yarn diminishes.
A field of diamonds grows.
A length of woolen promise
Drapes my knees.
Soon tiny fingers
Will smear its design,
Staining it with daily life,
Droplets of formula,
Globs of pablum.
A baby will snuggle
Against its warmth
Till holes appear.

Needles move continuously.
At last, the blue thread ends.
Attaching white wool,
I begin another strip
And my father's wearied breathing
Labors on.

Hawaii Cruise

Submitted By: Preston Moses

On Saturday, March 26, I boarded the Sapphire Princess, for a wonderful cruise from Los Angeles to Hawaii. I was one of a group of fifteen people.

We sailed at five in the afternoon and cruised until Thursday morning. We hit some rough waters on Sunday; but the water was smoother and the weather was warmer two days later, as we came closer to Hawaii. There were plenty of musical shows and bingo and other activities, but I decided to do some strenuous loafing on the out-door deck, listening to the sound of the waves. That was relaxing and put me to sleep.

We landed in Hilo on Thursday, and went to the Kilowea Volcano State Park. We walked through a lava tube, which is a cave with water dropping from the top. It was wet and slippery, so we had to walk carefully. There was steam coming out of the ground after we left the cave which was quite hot. There were dangerous drop-offs and many ways to fall and get hurt or killed, owing to the high cliffs and deep water. Our guide explained to us that over the years, people had gotten killed by the steam, because they did not pay attention to the warnings that were posted in the park.

The paths were tricky with rocks and sticks and tree branches. We touched hard lava rock which was shiny. This was a thrill, and the tour guide told us that when the volcano erupts, people have to leave, because earthquakes rumble to give warning before fire and hot lava start to bubble up.

The next day we left the ship in Honolulu for a north-shore excursion to a pineapple plantation, where we tasted great pineapple ice cream.

On Saturday, we went to Fern Grotto, where people get married. Two couples in our group renewed their wedding vows, to the tune of the Hawaiian Wedding Song, sung in Hawaiian, with Hawaiian guitar accompaniment. It was romantic and beautiful. After that we ate delicious food at a luau.

Our final tour was Lahina on Maui, where we visited a taro plantation and hiked up to where we were given samples of taro, which tasted like sweet potato. The plantation owner is encouraging young people to continue farming, because taro planting is becoming a dying art. To get to the plantation we had to be driven up a winding road with steep drop-offs over a small stream. We were treated to banana bread and pineapple and nice weather.

We got back on the ship, and some of us sat out on the deck where there were strong winds and waves for five days. The weather became progressively cooler, and the ship rocked a great deal.

We disembarked on Saturday morning. I had a wonderful time and enjoyed feeling the changes in weather on deck going and coming back.

I encourage people to take this unforgettable cruise.

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:  Steve Fort
First Vice-President:  Lizz Deeff
Second Vice-President:  Anita March
Recording Secretary:  Daveed Mandell
Corresponding Secretary:  Patricia Nash
Treasurer:  Ida Johnson
Directors:  Charlotte Criddell; Dorothy Donaville;
Sandra Fancher; Connie Kelley; 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.

"Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

--Jack Benny on his 80th Birthday