WBU-NAC region Fine Work
“PRINCESS OF THE DOTS”
U.S.A. Patricia Harman(64/female)

Once, near the conclusion of World War II, in New Jersey, a princess was born to a Navy officer and his secretary wife.Freckled, funny and fat, Princess Patricia was perfect.Everybody knew she was going to live happily ever after.
Princess Patricia accepted her position as first in the family of six.She adored reading and writing, hiding in the room upstairs for privacy.She collected Nancy Drew mysteries.Patricia read and wrote poetry.She won the writing contest, pretending to be Father Fox's umbrella.Her tiny crown sparkled in the sunlight of praise and popularity.
One chilly spring morning Queen Mother drove Princess Patricia to the hospital because she was very ill.Patricia rolled in to the starched bed, falling asleep for three days.It was called a coma; everyone was frightened.Eventually, the diagnosis was juvenile diabetes.At the castle, nobody knew anything about that.
Princess Patricia mastered the art of injecting medicine in to her thighs.Queen Mother was never going to do that, declared Patricia adamantly.
In the beginning, food selections and urine tests seemed simple.Oh, they were definitely villains lurking behind meals or snacks or banana splits.From all, Patricia kept the disease secret.To everyone, Queen Mother revealed it.No cokes, no cakes.Those were rules, strict and stupid.Insulin injections increased.Princess Patricia prayed for miracles.Throughout high school and college diabetes dominated discussions with Queen Mother.Jesters failed.
Patricia longed dramatically to be a hippy--a poet performing in tiny coffeehouses wearing fringed jackets and flowered headbands.The King and Queen said no; their first-born became a teacher temporarily.
Magicians were unable to stop the frightening decline of vision.Diabetes did it.No potions worked for poor, poor Princess Patricia.Alone and afraid, the princess had experimental laser treatments in Colorado.They failed; life changed forever.Blindness arrived.
It was 1970.Princess Patricia entered the special education program for a masters at the University of Northern Colorado.The New Jersey Commission for the Blind provided tuition, reader fees, a taperecorder, a typewriter and a braillewriter.From the gods of the disabled, Princess Patricia was granted humor, guts and fashion finesse.Magic worked!
Proud Patricia mailed one hundred letters to potential employers.She was a blind teacher with appropriate credentials.One school responded: the New MexicoSchool for the Visually Handicapped.In September of 1972, Princess Patricia moved to the Land of Enchantment.Under the spell of her Braille dots and long white cane, her castle became an apartment alone.Braille was an enchanted system.Like six sky-balleting stars, the dots were graceful and practical.Princess Patricia was reading, writing and working again because of Braille.Independence!
Because of Braille, she had grocery lists, lesson plans, clothing labels, medicine markings, telephone numbers, beauty products and clothing colors.She created captivating tales for students about rattlesnakes, roadrunners and cockroaches.There were recipes for chili rallenos and green chili stew.Princess polished those dots.Patricia pounded those keys.Practice!Practice!Practice!
Following boohoos about blindness, Braille was a refuge.The perfection of the Braille code, with its rules and reasonings, became sensible.She dreamed of reading GONE WITH THE WIND, but began with CHARLOTTE'S WEB.Once she realized the value of context clues, she grew faster.Like print, Braille delivered the word.She taught English, renewing her passion for adverbs.The contraction for "ally" became a friend forever.
In 1977, Princess Patricia delivered a daughter, a real princess.Braille brought Patricia through the weeks of hospitalization.Diabetes was the Villain.Ever-present.While she worried, Patricia spread Braille over those starched sheets.She designed worksheets and plans for students.Notes were written on index cards.Lessons were graded for her college classes, which employees were taking from New MexicoStateUniversity.Birthday cards were brailled.She had Braille dots on her mind----and daughters, too!Jennifer Dawn arrived like sunrise, turquoise and pink.Like magic, Patricia overcame problems of diabetic pregnancy.
When Prince Charming fell from his black charger in 1999, Princess Patricia begged the gods of independence for renewed daily living tricks.Braille came as the necessary solution. No one was there to answer questions about makeup, clothing matches, vegetable choices, microwave directions or bills. She created "poor pitiful poems and prose.She read them aloud, privately permitting tears to drop.
Dots dominated Braille assemblies, Braille scripts, Braille booklets of creative writing.Patricia solicited volunteers, who became certified braillists.Braille production moved from writers to computers miraculously.Staff acquired Braille reading and writing skills, under her guidance.This was an enchanted land of dots!
Only a clear crystal ball could have predicted life's surprises for Princess.In retirement, following over thirty years as a teacher of the visually impaired, Patricia decided to return East to take over Queen Mother's castle.With Braille everywhere, she packed up her memories in boxes and bags, in dressers and drawers.Poems were packed for presentations.The treasures of her trunks demanded labels for the move from the Land of Enchantment to the GardenState.Like Christmas elves, real magic arrived during unpacking.Braille organized!
Braille casts its special spell in Jersey.Labels are pinned on the backs of shirts, in plastic bags with necklaces, un underwear so black is not peeking through white shirts, notes for computer commands, telephone numbers for doctors and services, appointments, book titles for book clubs and challenging vocabulary. Princess jotted down catchy phrases and surprising language.Patricia resides in the castle where trash rules are new and taxis are necessities.Here, bread grows old quickly, but Braille remains magic.The beautiful braillewriter sits on the kitchen counter in the castle, awaiting the creation of dots for the betterment and blessing of life.She is happily-ever-aftering, just as crystal balls predicted.Like royal jewels, dots sparkle.In print or in Braille, words sparkle; words have power.Braille delivers the magic of the word to Princess Patricia.


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