CHAPTER 5


                                THE WALL



               The wall is tall, surrounding all.
               Towering tall, never to fall?
               The wall is tall, surrounding all.

                                    [Phil Scovell]






               "Don't run," the  teacher barked.  "Walk!"   We walked [fast
          walked]  but we  walked.   The fire  doors loomed  ahead like  to
          bronze  eyes  from  some  giant  sculpture,  closed,  slumbering,
          undisturbed.   The  noise of  hundreds of  tennis shoed  students
          squeaked on polished tiles like millions of summer crickets  gone
          mad.   Suddenly...twin explosions shattered ear drums as the fire
          doors banged  open; splitting  apart to  release the  super hyped
          kids heading for the playground.   The giant was awakened.
               Leaping  from the  steps,  we  catapulted  into  the  grassy
          playing field.   Lunch was  over and it  was time  to play.   two
          dozen  Indy  race cars  leaped  from the  starting  line, engines
          roaring, tires screaming,  horns blaring, as the  boys played car
          race.  Horses whinnied, hooves  pawed the earth, long shiny mains
          snapping behind  slender necks, as the girls  played while horse.
          Someone slapped  me on the back, "Your  it, Scov," a voice called
          out  and quickly faded  as he ran  away.  I  sprinted toward him,
          narrowly missing a wild horse whinnying in my path.
               Tapping another kid  on the arm, I bolted  away calling over
          my shoulder, "You're it!"
               The playground  wasn't anything  special but  it was  large.
          Perhaps a half acre  of green grass.   There were two tether ball
          poles, a baseball and soccer  diamonds, chinning bars, a  bicycle
          rack for  parking our  bikes, and lots  of tennis  shoe staining,
          pants staining grass.  We moved like fish in deep water; darting,
          skipping, jumping, only to break surface to bounce over the green
          surface  like flat  pebbles  on  a smooth  pond.   Kids  laughed,
          yelled, barked like dogs, growled like tractors, and  soared like
          airplanes; arms out stretched.  We  were free; free that is,  for
          about thirty minutes.
               I stopped running,  after all, I wasn't "IT."   My breathing
          was deep and slow.   I loved  to run and was  on the track  team;
          holding the second highest  time in the sixty yard dash.   We had
          just gone to the Drake relays for the first time, and although we
          hadn't place, it  had been an  honor just to go.   I scanned  the
          playground.   Kids  were everywhere.   A  couple of  the teachers
          stood on  the sidewalks  up by the  building surveying  the seen.
          Balls  were  arching  through the  air,  bodies  crisscrossed the
          freshly  mowed surface of green, a bird perched on the high chain
          link fence examining the picture below, head cocked; listening to
          the cacophony.  My eyes registered the multi colored clothes warn
          by the other  kids.  The long  haired girls ran like  deer, their
          light hair flowing behind them like long tailed comets glistening
          in the velvet of space.  Strong athletic boys ages ten  to twelve
          kicked balls across the  well manicured lawn and  players rotated
          bases.  Everybody was happy.
               Feeling the sun on my face for the first time, I  looked up.
          The sky was partly cloudy and a white fluffy caterpillar the size
          of a  long poorly  shaped airplane floated  in the  distance, its
          plumose texture  offering  the appearance  of a  strange bird  in
          flight.  "Something  is wrong," I  said.  I  looked again at  the
          white cloud.   No,"  I thought,  "they are  there, I  think!"   I
          dropped my eyes to the green grass  under my feet.  "I don't  see
          'em there,"  I said puzzled.   I lifted my eyes again  to the sky
          and  studied  the  white  cloud.   "What  are  those  things,"  I
          questioned.  I  allowed my eyes to  drift to the blueness  of the
          surrounding  sky.   "No,"  not  there, but  when  I  look at  the
          cloud...   Yep, I  see 'em."  Tiny  brown spots, specks actually,
          were  mingled with  the milkiness  of the  floating cloud.   "Oh,
          well," i thought, and ran off.
               "I'm  going  to  write your  assignment,"  the  teacher said
          clearly, "on  the board.   Write it  down and bring  the finished
          work in tomorrow  morning.  She began  chocking the words on  the
          blackboard;  the assignment nearly  covering the entire  front of
          the room  on the wide blackboard.  I  watched and began to write.
          As I turned my eyes downward and focused on the white paper under
          my hands,  I saw the brown  specks again.  I glanced  back to the
          board.  They were gone.  Again to my paper.  They returned.  They
          looked like small specks  of dirt floating in a fish  bowl.  They
          moved when I moved, dancing, swirling, bouncing in my vision.   I
          looked up.   Next  to the  blackboard  on which  the teacher  was
          writing, I  saw the bulletin  board.  Cream colored  posters hung
          with  various announcements.    Compared to  the darkness  of the
          blackboard, the posters   were striking.  The  brown spots danced
          over their  surfaces like  tiny gyrating periods.   I  screwed my
          eyes shut and opened them again.  They were still there.
               "Phil?"  I snapped  to attention  at the  sound of  my name.
          "Are  you  getting this  down?"   I  bowed my  head and  began to
          scribble.
               I  rounded the last  corner by Pat's yard  and headed up our
          street.   Corky,  our little  fox  terrier, was  standing in  the
          middle of our gravel driveway two  hundred feet up the road.   He
          was  the fastest dog I had ever  seen.  I often tried racing with
          him on my bike.  He  would lope along beside me, his  long skinny
          legs stroking  the pavement  effortlessly, the  sound of  his toe
          nails clicking loudly  like  a clock tightly  wound, and suddenly
          he would blur; leaving me helplessly behind.
               Standing at the large picture window facing south, I spied a
          rabbit grazing in the empty  lot next door to our home.   He, the
          rabbit, was probably less than  one hundred feet from the orchard
          to the east.   His nose wiggled  as he sniffed, then  tasted, the
          fresh grass.  His long ears sampling for sounds of danger.  "here
          Corky," I whispered.   The little white dog with  the large brown
          circle on his  back came galloping through the  house and skidded
          to  a stop.    His  ears popped  up  like  TV antenni;  sampling,
          probing,  listening; His nose wrinkling, his tongue flicking, and
          his tail wiggling frantically.  "I wish dogs could talk," I said.
          "Wanna' catch a rabbit, Boy?"  I questioned, using just the right
          amount  of  voice inflection  to incite  interest.   Hoisting his
          little body to the window, I pointed his nose in the direction of
          the  grazing rabbit and  said, "See  'em, Corky?"   The  dog went
          wild.  I quickly carried the wiggling creature to the  front door
          and dropped  him  out.   Slamming the  door, I  ran  back to  the
          picture window to  survey the seen.   Corky had just  rounded the
          corner of the house and was darting across the field.  The rabbit
          froze, his  nose flicking, sniffing  the air.  Their  eyes locked
          momentarily as  Corky prepared for  his attack.  The  rabbit spun
          like a top and vanished so quickly, it was difficult to decide if
          he had  ever been  there.   Corky arrived  at an  empty spot  and
          immediately darted in  the opposite direction,  totally confused,
          running just as fast  as he had when chasing the rabbit.  I fell,
          laughing, to the floor.  Retrieving my dog from the front yard, I
          patted his head.  "Well, Cork', I guess you'll never make  a good
          huntin' dog but I like ya' anyways."
               The little white and brown dog  didn't see me coming up  the
          street until I got  to the very edge of our yard.   He trotted to
          the corner of the gravel  driveway and slowly descended the small
          hill to the lower side yard.  I  called to him but he stopped and
          crouched as though the newly mowed lawn would hide him.  "Come on
          you  silly  dog," I  coaxed.   "You  can't hide  like that."   He
          refused to  move.  "I'm telling  you crazy dog, I can  see you in
          plain sight."  Head down, no movement, frozen.  I stepped closer.
          "What's a matter  with you,  ya' dumb  dog?"  Another  step.   He
          sprang toward me like a wild  mountain lion and shot past like  a
          miniature  jet launched.  "I wish dogs could talk," I laughed, "I
          wonder what he'd  say about that."  Uncle Harold always said dogs
          could smile and I think I saw Corky smile that day.
               "How was school today?" Mom queried.
               "Ok, I  guess.  Anythin'  to eat?"  I said,  yanking on  the
          refrigerator door and illuminating its interior.
               "Look in the bottom there," Mom said without looking up from
          her sowing machine and pressing the peddle, "there's some oranges
          down there."  I loved oranges.  Mom bought a case once  and I ate
          most of them myself within a couple of weeks.
               Seated at  the table  in the dinning  room and  watching Mom
          sow,  I pealed  my orange;  my  nose wrinkling  from the  pungent
          scented skin.
               "Something funny happened today," I said dropping a slice of
          orange into my mouth.
               "Funny?" Mom repeated, the  sowing machine spinning  loudly.
          "What you mean, funny?"
               "Well, I mumbled, "it's kinda' hard to explain."
               "You in trouble at school again?  I hope you didn't get into
          a fight with that kid...what's his name," she hesitated.
               "Naw, Mom," I sighed, "nothin' like that."
          "    Well, what  then?" she  prompted.  I  stripped away  another
          piece of orange and tossed it through  the air; catching it in my
          mouth.   I'd seen Jim  Dutton do that  just last week;  he missed
          though.  "I  wonder what squirrels feel like when  they hold food
          in their  cheeks?" I pondered, pressing the  orange between teeth
          and cheek, the juice running down the back of my throat.
               "Well, ya' gonna' tell me," she said again, raising her head
          from the sowing machine to stair.  
               Seeing her stern  gaze, I said, "Well, I  noticed seeing 'em
          while on recess today."
               "Saw what," Mom said, her voice rising in pitch.
               "Oh, just these little tiny brown spots floating around."
               "You mean, in your vision?"
               "Yep," I grunted.
               She frowned.  "When do  you see these [little brown spots,]"
          she said emphasizing each word individually.
               "Well," I said after sucking the juice from another slice of
          orange and then swallowing the shriveled skin.  "That's the funny
          part."  Her sowing machine  remained silent, Her chair was pushed
          back, and  she listened intently.   "When I look at  darker stuff
          like,  oh, like grass  or the sky...stuff like  that, I don't see
          'em.   When I look at the  clouds, though, then I see  'em.  They
          ain't very dark spots, Mom."
               "Aren't," she corrected.  Do you see them any other time?"
               "Hum, yeah.   When I went into the  class after bein' on the
          playground.    We  were  writin'  down   our  homework  from  the
          blackboard and when I looked over to the bulletin  board, I could
          seem 'em again on the white posters.  I could see 'em on my white
          notebook  paper, too,  but  not  on anythin'  else."   Her  frown
          deepened and her eye lids dropped; making tiny slits.  She didn't
          say anything but I knew she didn't like what she'd heard.
               "Well," she finally said, "we'll see about it later.  Go out
          and play some if  you want.  Supper won't be ready for an hour or
          so."  The next morning we went to see the eye specialist.
               "I can hardly see a thing," I complained.  "How long did the
          doc' say this would last?"
          "Mom honked the car horn at somebody I couldn't see.
               "Don't take  those sunglasses  off," she  warned, seeing  me
          trying to push them aside to see why she had honked.  "The doctor
          said your vision would be blurry for a couple of hours but not to
          remove those sunglasses they gave you until then.
               "Man, thinks  look all watery," I reported, sliding the dark
          glasses back down over my eyes.  "The sun is really bright, too."
               Well, that's what happens when they dilate your eyes."
               Why they gotta' do that, Mom?"
               "They dilate your eyes, you know the center part of your eye
          called the pupal..." she hesitated momentarily and when she heard
          me snort  acknowledgement, she  continued.   "Well, that  part of
          your eye has  to be enlarged so  they can look in  and see what's
          going on inside your eye."
               "Oh," I moaned, my eyes  watering from the bright light even
          with the sunglasses.  "Hows come they gotta' do that?"
               "Well, I was  a little worried about those brown  spots so I
          wanted them to check you out."
               "Am I Ok, then, Mom?"
               "According to the doctor."
               "Are you sure his retinas are all right," Mom said again.
               "Mrs.  Scovell," the doctor replied, "I cannot find anything
          wrong with your son's  retinas at all.  They look  perfectly fine
          with the scope."
               "Why is he seeing those brown spots then?"
               "I don't think  that's anything to  be concerned about  Mrs.
          Scovell.   I've prescribed  these drops, however,  so be  sure to
          follow the instructions carefully."
               "Will they help?"
               "Yes, and the spots should go  away in a few days.   There's
          no reason for concern."
               Two weeks later I  lay on my back after more  than six hours
          of retinal surgery.
               "Could we talk outside the  room Mrs. Scovell," Dr. Watke, a
          retinal specialist said.   He took her  arm and led her  from the
          room.  "We'll be  right back son," he said over  his shoulder.  I
          lifted my head from the scope where my chin had been  resting and
          shook my head in acknowledgement.
               "Your  son  has retinal  detachment  in  his left  eye  Mrs.
          Scovell.  We need to do surgery immediately."
               Mom leaned back against the wall; The weight of the past few
          months  pressing heavily  against her.    Dad had  died just  six
          months earlier.   Mom had gotten a  job working in a  flower shop
          downtown; her first job  since she had been a teenager.   She was
          involved at  church, of course,  but it just wasn't  the same any
          more  without him.    Saundra,  my oldest  sister,  was in  Bible
          college in Omaha,  Nebraska and had been trying  to encourage Mom
          to come and work for the college as a counselor.  Mom had been to
          talk with  Dr. Nettleton,  now the new  school president,  and he
          promised her a  job.  She hated  the idea of leaving  Des Moines,
          because  it was  like  leaving everything  and  everyone she  had
          known.   Now with her back literally against the wall, she sighed
          heavily and said, "I've got to go back home and get things ready.
          Can we come back next week Doctor?"
               "Mrs  Scovell, Noreen," he  urged, "Philip is  in bad shape.
          His retina  is literally falling  apart as we stand  her talking.
          This is an emergency.  I need to get him into surgery.  I'd  rush
          him in right now if you'd stay and admit him."
               "It's really that bad?" Mom asked.
               "That bad," he confirmed.
               "Ok,"  she sighed again.   "I'll be back  first thing in the
          morning."
               Driving the  hundred and ten  miles back to Des  Moines, Mom
          told me I needed eye surgery.
               How they do that kinda' thing, Mom?"
               "Well, your dad had the same kind of surgery.  Remember?"
               "yeah, I  guess so.   I remember coming up  during Christmas
          last year  to see Dad in this here hospital.  I need my eye fixed
          like Dad's?"
               "Yes."  She was beginning to cry now.
               "I'm going to  put some drops in your eyes,  Philip.  You've
          had it done  before, right?"  I  stared up into  the face of  the
          young doctor.
               "Sure," I admitted.
               "Ok, then; here we go."   The cool droplets touched my  open
          eyes; causing me  to blink rapidly.   "I'll be back shortly.   It
          takes a little time for your eyes to dilate."
               He returned as he promised, and showed me a round magnifying
          glass.   "Phil, I'm going to use this to  look into your eye.  He
          began pulling on  a device which  he strapped to  the top of  his
          head.  It had a light attachment which hung just over the edge of
          his forehead.   "I know  it'll be uncomfortable for  you; shining
          this light into your eye and all, but I have to draw a picture of
          the inside of your eye before your surgery tomorrow."
               "Why ya' gotta' do that?" I inquired.
               "Well, we use the picture during the surgery to make sure we
          are where we should be inside  your eye.  Don't worry," he  added
          hastily, "you'll be asleep and won't feel a thing.  He  bent over
          my small body  and the light sliced  into my dilated eye  like an
          exploding sun.
               Two hours later I was helped from the gurney on which  I had
          been laying.   Everything appeared dark  and in shadow,  although
          the lights were  all brilliantly lighted.  Everything  had a blue
          and deep purplish hew; like seeing through liquid purple.
               "Here Philip," the  nurse said, "use  this special soap  and
          wash around  your entire left  side of your  face.  She  had just
          shaved off my eyebrow and clipped my eyelashes.
               "Why we gotta' do all this?" I said quizzically.
               "Well,  we've  got  to  make  good  and  sure everything  is
          perfectly clean before surgery early tomorrow morning."
               "How they do this surgery?  I heard they have to take my eye
          out."
               Hearing the apprehension in my voice, she said, "Hey, you'll
          be asleep when they do that."
               "Asleep?"
               "Yep," she  said, helping  me scrub my  face with  the funny
          smelling cleanser.   "We'll come and give  you a shot  real early
          tomorrow morning  and by the  time we come  and get you  a couple
          hours later for the  surgery, you'll be good and sleepy.   You'll
          hardly know a  thing."   She was  wrong, of course,  but she  had
          tried.
               I  was in  a ward of  nearly sixty  men.   Not a kid  in the
          place.  Everybody there, of  course, had something wrong with his
          eyes.  I  was sleepy, sort of, when  they came to get  me for the
          surgery  but I wasn't  looking forward to the  whole thing.  They
          put me to  sleep with an  IV after rolling  me into the  surgical
          room.   The rush of  sodium pentothal rolled  over me as  a heavy
          steam roller, squashing me thin as  paper,  and pounding me  into
          the ground.  I fell through  thick darkness; the roaring of water
          thundering in my  dream as I plunged  down...down...down into the
          dreamless void.
               "I think  we did  pretty  well, Mrs.  Scovell," the  retinal
          specialist said.
               "Please," Mom said, "call me Noreen."
               "Ok,  Noreen.   Anyway,  I  think we  did  pretty well,"  he
          repeated.   "I'm not  completely satisfied with  what we  saw but
          we'll know more in a few days when we take the bandages off."
               I lay on my  back, sand packed sleeves rolled  along side my
          head keeping me from movement.  I tried rolling over.  "You can't
          roll over like that," a nurse  said, her voice sounding far away.
          "You've got to stay on your back."
               "I feel sick," I mumble, my voice sounding strangely.
               "What," she said.
               I answered by vomiting.  I continued  to do so time and time
          again after each operation over the next six months.
               "How are you feeling, son," Mom coaxed.
               "Not too hot," I confessed dreamily.
               "Does anything hurt?"
               "No, not  really."   I gingerly felt  my face.   A  huge eye
          patch puffed out  over the entire  left side of  my head made  of
          thick tape.   "Has come  I gotta' lay  on my back,  Mom?  I  hate
          laying on my back," I protested.
               "I know, Philip,  but the doctor says your  retina is in its
          normal position  when your flat on  your back and  you gotta stay
          that way till he says otherwise."
               I  groaned.   The  thick  sand filled  rolls  pressed firmly
          against my head; restricting movement.
               "We're going to take off  this big bandage today, Phil," the
          doctor said quietly.   "It's stuck down pretty good  to your skin
          but I'm going to be real careful taking it off.   You let me know
          if I'm hurting you in any way, ok?"
          The patch came away, pulling ferociously at  my facial skin.  The
          gauze was pulled away slowly.   The doctor dabbed some antiseptic
          smelling  liquid around  my eyelid  and  the eye  lids then  were
          tenderly  forced open.   Light was  blurry and I  saw nothing but
          shapes and shadows.
               "I'll be back  each day to check how things  are going," the
          doctor said.  "Don't worry about not  being able to see much this
          first time.  It always takes some time for an eye to recover."
          This same  scenario would  be repeated again  and again  with the
          same results.  Sight dwindling until there was none.
               "Mrs. Scovell," the doctor began, "we want to take a look in
          your son's other eye this time and do some exploratory surgery."
               "Why?" Mom questioned, worry in her tone.  "Do you think his
          other eye might be bad, too?"
               "We're   just  not  sure.     That's  the   reason  for  the
          exploratory.  He won't feel any different, of course, except when
          he comes out of his third surgery on his left  eye, both his eyes
          will be covered.  I'll talk to him about it if you like."
               "Yes, I think you should but I'll tell him, too."
               "He's  doing remarkably  well, Mrs.  Scovell,  I mean,"  the
          doctor hesitated, "in handling everything."
               "Yes,   he   seems   to  be   doing   well"   she  responded
          perfunctorily.
               We descended  the high  stone stairway to  the floor  of the
          park.  The deep valley was cut low into the tall  hills on either
          side.   So steep they  were that i  found it impossible  to climb
          their sides even on hands and knees.  The ground was covered with
          a blanket of millions  of brown acorns.  It  was August.  We  had
          just  moved to Omaha.   Mom had a job  with the Bible college and
          Ruth and  I would be  starting school  in a couple  of weeks.   I
          wasn't looking forward to  going to a new school.   I didn't know
          anybody in Omaha.  "Would I  like it?" I wondered kicking  acorns
          as  I walked and  hands jammed into  pockets.  Dad  had been dead
          nine months and I had been through surgery three, or was it four,
          times.  The  stone sidewalk sloped slowly down  through the trees
          perched high up on the hills on either side.  "Kinda'  pretty," I
          thought.   "I wonder  how long  it'll take  to make some  friends
          here?"
               The  sidewalk ended,  emptying at  a pond.   "All  right!" i
          said, my voice nearly cracking.  Kids and adults stood  about the
          pond  fishing, tossing  pebbles, picnicking, and  just strolling.
          Our house was just four blocks  from the park and this  beautiful
          pond, and a  big one at  that.  I knew  I was going to  like this
          place now.   Picking up a rock,  I heaved it  far out across  the
          water.  I never dreamed in less than three months, I would not be
          able to see the beauty of the  park or the pond ever again.   The
          rock smacked the water and sent up a tiny geyser of spray.
               "Now Philip," the doctor  said, "can you see this light?"  I
          said I could but  it wasn't very bright.   "How about now?"   The
          light moved.
               "Yeah," I see it," I confirmed, "it moved to the left.   The
          light died.
               "Can you see it now, Phil?"
               "Yes,"  I replied  but  not very  good,"  with some  concern
          touching my voice.  The light faded completely.
               "How about this?"
               "Nope," I said, "nothin' now."
               "I'm sorry Mrs. Scovell," the retinal specialist said with a
          sigh, "there's  absolutely nothing  more we can  do. He  has some
          light perception but not much."
               "Will any of his vision clear up?" Mom said.
               "No," he replied  carefully, "there's no chance.    In fact,
          he  will eventually  get cataracts  which will  impede even  what
          little  light  perception he  currently  has."   Waving  his hand
          silently,  he motioned  to the  door and  they stepped  beyond my
          hearing.  He continued, "He may even get glaucoma, in which case,
          the eyes will have to be removed."
               "Removed!" she said with alarm.
               "Yes,"  he confirmed, "but  they make artificial  eyes today
          and  you can't even tell they are  prosthesis.  Don't worry about
          that right now, however.  The best thing for you to do  is to get
          Philip into a school, a school for the blind, I mean."
               "Oh, yes," Mom said, her  voice halting, "I guess that would
          be the best."
               "Check with the  services for the blind in  Nebraska to find
          out where  the state school  for the  blind is there  and they'll
          help you make arrangements to get your son enrolled."
               I  screwed  my eyes  tightly  shut  as  we walked  from  the
          darkened hospital building into the dazzling Iowa sunshine.  "The
          sun hurts my eyes," I complained, holding my mother's arm tightly
          as we walked to the car.
               "We'll  get  you  some  sun  glasses," she  said  softly;  I
          couldn't see the tears touching  her cheeks, "just as soon as  we
          can get to a drugstore."
               My  newly developing sensory  web registered the  new sounds
          and feelings all  around me.  I felt the hard sidewalk beneath my
          shoes, I heard  the swish as others passed,  walking the opposite
          direction.  Birds chirped nearby..."I wondered if they're in  the
          trees or  on the buildings."   Cars hummed passed,  and something
          which sounded like a bicycle whizzed by.  "What was that?" I said
          a little too quickly.
               "Someone on a bicycle road by," Mom confirmed.
               "Oh," I responded, "I thought so."
               The gravel crunched  loudly beneath our  feet as we  stepped
          into the parking lot.
               "Here's the car Honey," Mom said placing my hand on the door
          handle.   I  felt it's  firmness,  my fingers  curled around  it,
          feeling  for  the button  to  press.   It  was  warm  from direct
          sunlight.   "I'll go around and unlock the  door."  I listened as
          the keys rattled and  the correct one  was inserted.  The  engine
          fired and I slid in.
               "How do these  fit?" Mom asked, adjusting the  sunglasses on
          my nose."
               "OK," I guess."
               "Well," Mom said a little flustered, "are they ok or not?"
               "Yeah," I  confirmed, "they'll do  fine."  I could  hear the
          exhaustion in her voice.  I  knew something was wrong and I  knew
          what  that something was,  but I refused  to consider it.   I was
          gonna' get my sight back again.   Sure!  There wasn't anythin' to
          worry about.
               "Let's  head home," she  said, her words  knifing through my
          thoughts.
               "OK," I agreed, "but can we stop and eat?  I'm starved!"
               "here's your sandwich," she said  placing the hot burger  in
          my  hand, "and a  napkin."  I  felt the paper  and its design but
          didn't care what the design might be.  We ate in silence, the car
          closed up.   It was November 13,  1964, and November in  Iowa was
          generally chill and windy.
               "Dad  died  a  year  ago  today,"  I  said,   realizing  the
          significance,  my voice  mouthing  the  words perfunctorily,  and
          wishing I hadn't spoken them.
               "I know."   Mom's voice was low, barely  audible.  Her plain
          response  carried the weight  of hundreds of  hours of suffering,
          loneliness, and grief from  the past twelve months.   I felt  the
          hot tears  burn my eyes, my blind  eyes, as I sat in  the car.  I
          knew  what the doctor  had said.  I  knew I was  afraid.  The car
          became a tomb for mourners.
               "We're  on the  edge  of  Des Moines,"  Mom  said, the  turn
          signals  clicking rhythmically.   "I  want to  stop at  Betty and
          Carl's before heading back to Omaha."
               "Ok," I said.   "What ya' wanna do there?  It's pretty late,
          ain't it?"
               "Don't say ain't," she corrected.  "It isn't that late.
               "It's dark; I can tell that" I protested.
               "Well, we won't be there long.  I just want  to see them.  I
          don't know when  we'll be  back this  way again.   We'll be  home
          probably by eleven or so."
               I heard  the gravel  crunch under the  wheels as  we entered
          Betty  and  Carl's  driveway.    The car  rose  sharply  like  an
          escalator as the car mounted their  steep driveway.  I had  spent
          many  happy hours roller  skating down their  steep driveway with
          Craig over the years.  Their front  yard was perfect for sledding
          during winters.  It was always  so green, I recalled, as the  car
          jerked to a stop.  "Let's go in," Mom said.  "They've got someone
          here it looks like  because there was a car parked  at the bottom
          of their drive."   Slamming my door, I took my mother's  arm.  We
          climbed the front steps and knocked.
               "Well,  Noreen," Betty Falk's cheerful voice rang out, "come
          on in, come on in."
               "I didn't  know you were  having company," Mom said,  "but I
          just had to see you before leaving town."
               "Oh, don't worry about that.   Besides, you know these folks
          anyway."
          Familiar  voices from  Grandview Baptist  Church  could be  heard
          exchanging greetings.   "Here's the  couch Philip," Mom said.   I
          sat.  My mind drifted as I heard the adults visiting.   I thought
          about the Falk's home.  I could clearly see every room.  "Funny,"
          I  thought, "how I  can remember so  many things  so clearly like
          that.   I wish we could get home though.  I haven't been home for
          over a month.  I want to get on my bike and ride for awhile."
               Suddenly I was jerked back to the present like a tetherball.
          "Mom's crying," I  thought; "why?"  I listened as  she sobbed and
          explained to  her friends  what the results  of my  final retinal
          surgery  had been.  "The doctor  says he'll never see again," she
          sobbed.  It was  like I wasn't  there.  I felt  far away; out  in
          space alone.   "How  could what  she said be  true?" I  wondered.
          "I'll see again.  Sure!  Just like always.  I'll go home and in a
          couple of  weeks the bandage  will come  off and I'll  see again.
          Sure, Mom, you'll  see.   I'll be  able to see  just like  normal
          again.  Don't worry."
               "There's one more  place I wanna' stop,"  Mom announced upon
          returning to the car.
               "Oh, Mom," I argued,"I wanna' get home.  It's late."
               "I  know it," she  replied apologetically while  blowing her
          nose, "but I want to see Bessie McDuffey."
               "Oh," i  said cheerfully,  "that's different."   I  loved to
          visit Bessie  and Frank McDuffey.  Frank, of course, was dead now
          but I remember  going to their  farm many times  to visit.   They
          sure  were nice  people and  they  liked kids.   Besides,  Bessie
          always had dogs with which to play.
               "Hello Noreen!   Come  on in  and sit.   Oh,  and ya'  brung
          Philip with ya'.  I'm so glad to see both ya'"
               "Well, Bessie," Mom said with a sigh, "it's late and we need
          to get back to Omaha."
               "I'm sorry to see ya' leave so  soon Noreen," Bessie said as
          we  walked out to her front  yard, the screen door banging behind
          us."
               A little dog barked nearby.
               "What was that?" I said enthusiastically.
               "Oh, that's  just a little dog  friend of mine.   Wanna' see
          'em?"
               "Sure," I said, "let's see  'im."  Bessie brought her little
          dog over to me and  held him up for me to pet.  "Oh," I said, "he
          kinda' looks like old Corky."
               "Ya', Mom confirmed, "he kinda' does."
               "How is old Corky," Bessie asked.
               "Oh," I said,  "Corky ran away one  day when we let  him out
          after movin' to Omaha.  We aint never seen him since."
               "Haven't," Mom corrected.
               "So what ya' got for a dog then?" Bessie inquired.
               "We aint...haven't got a dog now," I confessed.
               "No Dog?  What kinda' mother you  got who don't let ya' have
          a dog?"  Bessie said  laughing.   Ya' gonna'  let him  get a  dog
          Noreen?" she said firmly.
               "You have any he can take home with him now Bessie?"
               "Well," she said, "I'm sorry, I just don't have any pups any
          more.  Wish I did 'cuz' I'd sure  get ya' one right now if I did.
          But say, why not take this here old dog.  He's getting kinda old.
          In  fact," she  said  triumphantly, "this  here  dog was  Corky's
          father now that I think of it."
               "Really,"  I said  with astonishment.   "This  here  dog was
          Cork's dad?"
               "You bet," Bessie confirmed.   "You're sure welcome to  take
          him home right now if ya' wanna'."
               "Can  I  Mom?   Can  we  take  him  with  us,"  I  squeaked;
          completely forgetting my blindness.
               "I don't know  why not," she  replied.   "Does he ride  well
          Bessie."
               "Oh,  sure.   He gets  along  fine in  the car...no  problem
          there."
               Walking to the car, I  slid in and held out my hands.   "Let
          me have  him Bessie."   He fit perfectly into  my hands and  as I
          stroked his back I said, "Hey Bessie?"
               "Yes, Honey"
               "What's his name?  I forgot to ask ya' his name."
               "Oh, that's right.  I forgot to  tell ya' his name didn't I?
          His name is Bingo and he's a fox terrier just like Corky."
               "We're home  Philip," Mom said with a yawn.   I had felt the
          car  slow and then stop  but didn't want  to wake up.   Bingo was
          asleep next  to me on  the seat; my  hand resting lightly  on his
          back.  "Come  on," she urged, "pick up your dog  and lets go in."
          It was after midnight when we mounted the stone steps and then up
          unto  the front porch.  The  house was quiet.   "Do you need some
          help finding your room?"
               "No," i half  whisper, "Bingo and I  can make it alone."   I
          climbed the winding  wooden stairs, listening to  their creaking,
          and found the door  to my tiny room and placed my  new dog on the
          bed.  "This  is my room,"  I announced in  a whisper.   "Tomorra'
          I'll show ya' around."
               The next  day was a  new experience.  I  had never traversed
          our new  home in  Omaha without sight.   I  could remember  every
          room, every step down the winding rickety stairway, the basement,
          the yard, and even the houses and buildings surrounding our home.
          I  explored  the house,  slowly at  first, but  eventually moving
          through it with confidence.
               Feeling my way, I moved  toward the basement and finding the
          door  to the  stairs, I  descended the steep  stairs to  the cool
          basement below.  It wasn't much but neither had been our basement
          in Des Moines.   I had my own private room down  here and I moved
          slowly; feeling for the  latch on the door.   There it was!   The
          door creaked open and I passed through.  It  had been an old coal
          room  and was  small.   There was  a  board stretched  across the
          length of  the room;  probably not  more than  six feet.   I  had
          dusted  out the little room  and set up my model  cars.  This was
          where I  had built my most recent models.   I explored the wooden
          surface; my fingers probing cautiously for the models.  There was
          the shoe box I had used  to place the cars inside one-by-one  for
          spray painting.   I had seen that  suggested in a  model building
          magazine once and  had tried it for  the first time on  my latest
          model.   There was my  glue; cap screwed  on tightly.   "Well," I
          thought, "at least my sister hadn't fiddled with that again."  My
          fingers touched a can of spray paint.  It felt cool.  I picked it
          up and shook it.   It rattled.  "I wonder  if the other cans  are
          here?"   Feeling;  I found  them  and discovered  all three  were
          there.  I even found the other paints I used with a brush for the
          tiny model parts.
               Searching further I eventually located the models.  Touching
          one, I picked it  up and explored it carefully.   It was the open
          rail quarter  miler I  realized.   It seemed  as  though I  could
          almost  see it.   I  suddenly remembered  that this  room had  no
          window and  I had  forgotten to  turn on  the light.   "Well,"  I
          mused, "don't need it anyway."  I allowed my fingers to touch the
          car and its many  parts cautiously; not  wanting to break any  of
          its fragile parts.  I had spent  many hours working on the model.
          Actually, the model was three cars  in one.  I had purchased  the
          car from a nearby store and after bringing it home, I  was elated
          to  discover that the  builder could either  make one  big car or
          three smaller  ones.  I  opted to construct  three.  This  time I
          would do it differently though.   Before I had always constructed
          models haphazardly;  gluing and  snapping parts together  without
          hardly  even glancing  at  the  instructions.   This  time I  was
          careful  to read over  all the instructions  before even removing
          the model  from its carton.   I examined  the decals  and decided
          which I would use and which I would save.  I extracted each level
          of parts and looked them  over before replacing them in  the box.
          Laying  the instruction  sheet  down,  I picked  up  the box  and
          carefully examined the  colorful picture on the cover.   "Yes," I
          thought, "I'm  going to build this model just  like what I see on
          the box."
               When I had  finished, I had allowed the three cars to dry in
          the coal room for  a couple of days.   My upstairs bedroom had  a
          book shelve for a head board which made an excellent place for my
          display of recent masterpieces.  I arranged them on the headboard
          and sat on  the bed to examine them.   They were perfect.   I had
          painted  each white plastic  part carefully before  assembly both
          inside and out.  I had even painted the interior.  Their pale red
          bodies, jet black  tires and shiny chrome engine  parts made them
          miniatures of the real thing.
               Suddenly the  room felt  cold and damp.   "What's  wrong," I
          wondered.  The plastic in  my hands felt suddenly meaningless and
          amorphous.  I slowly replaced it on the shelf.  I left the little
          room.  Somehow it didn't seem like I belonged any more.
               Retracing  my steps, I  climbed the  stairs to  the kitchen.
          "What you doing  down there Philip?"  Mom called.   I could  hear
          dishes rattling.
          "Oh, nothing much.  I'm just kind of lookin' around."
          "Well, we're going to  eat lunch pretty soon so don't  go too far
          off," she instructed.
          "I  won't," I agreed.   "I think  I'm gonna go  outdoors and look
          around."
          "Be  careful out there," she  said; a little  too much concern in
          her voice."  I didn't answer.
               I was standing  next to the outside  door at the top  of the
          stairs and tripping the latch, I pushed the door open.  I stepped
          out and closed the door behind me.   I could hear the traffic  on
          Levenworth below.   Although the  house we lived in  was terribly
          small, it was situated in the neatest  place or so I thought as a
          kid.  We were at the top of  a tall hill.  There were perhaps two
          dozen  stairs leading  from street  level to  our front  yard and
          another three  steps  to the  front porch.   It  was a  nightmare
          trying to move all our furniture in.  My sister and I had to take
          our bikes out through the back of the house and down a neighbor's
          driveway  just  to get  to  street  level.   The  hill in  front,
          however, was perfect for wintertime fun.
               I knew I was standing at the  roof level of a small shopette
          which lay just on the other side of our fence.  Although I  could
          no longer  see it  with my eyes,  I could  smell it.   A bar  and
          restaurant was  the establishment  closest to  our house.   There
          were tall  bushes just over  the fence, a small  concrete walkway
          and  then the roof  of the building.   Before going  blind, I had
          climbed  through those bushes  often playing army;  climbing over
          the roof and peering down to the parking lot below.  I stood now,
          seeing  the surroundings  in  my  mind's eye.    I moved  forward
          cautiously  till  my  fingers encountered  our  fence.   I  could
          picture exactly  where I was and  began moving down the  fence to
          the back  of the  house.  I  made a  complete reconnoiter  of the
          house ending back at the side door.
               "Philip," Mom called, "it's time for lunch."
               Pulling the door to, I entered the tiny kitchen and felt for
          the doorway into the dinning room.
               "How'd you do outside?" Mom asked.
               "Oh,"  I  muttered,  my  mouth  full  of  a  toasted  cheese
          sandwich, "pretty good.   It's almost  like I can  still see,"  I
          announced confidently.
               "You and ruth want  to go up to the Bible college with me in
          a little bit?" mom asked.
               "What fer?" my sister and I both said in unison.
               "Oh, no  reason  in particular.    Just thought  you'd  like
          something to do today."
               "Naw,"  I said.   "I'd kinda  like to stick  'round home and
          check things out Mom if that's ok."
               "Well,"  she  said hesitantly,  "I guess  that would  be all
          right.   Ruth," she  said picking up our  plates, "would you mind
          staying around in case your brother needs something?"
               "Nope," was her only response.
               "Mom," I protested, "I don't need anybody hangin' 'round me.
          I can take care of my self you know."
               I spent the rest of my day exploring the house and the yard.
          I  even traced the sidewalk leading  to the steps and walked down
          to the sidewalk below a few times getting used to the feel of the
          terrain.  I had  little trouble finding my way about  my own yard
          and home.   "soon," I thought, "I'll be gettin' my sight back and
          won't have to worry about all this though."
               "What'd you and Ruth do while I was gone?"
               "Oh, nothin' really.  I had  her walk me down to the  corner
          and back just to see what it was like," I confessed.
               "Well?" Mom inquired.
               "Well what?" I said.
               "How was it?"
               "Oh," I said, understanding, "it was ok I guess."
               "Hey,"  Mom," I  asked, "could we  all go down  to that park
          where the pond is tomorrow?  That's a real neat park and I'd kind
          of like to go."
               "Well,  I don't know  why not.  We  don't have anything else
          going  on since it's Saturday.  Let's go late in the  morning and
          I'll take some sandwiches and we can  eat down there.  How's that
          sound?"
               "Great!" I said with enthusiasm.
               Holding my Mom's  arm, we made our  way to the park.   "What
          street is this Mom?" I asked.  "How  far is it?  How much further
          is it?   What was that noise?   Haven't we  gone far enough  yet?
          Shouldn't we be there by now?"
               "Calm down, Philip.   We're just entering the  park now," my
          mother soothed.
               "Let's go down to the  pond first," I said pushing her  arm,
          "I wanna toss some rocks into the water."
               "Hey,"  I said excitedly, "I  can smell the  water.  We must
          almost be there."
               "that's  right," Mom  said with  disbelief,  "we are  almost
          there but I don't smell anything."
               "Well, I do," I replied, sniffing the air.   "It's water all
          right.  Let's hurry up."
               We stood at  the edge of the pond and I  listened to all the
          sounds.  I heard  someone's reel spin and the sinker striking the
          water with a  tiny crack.  He reversed the reel and tightened the
          line.  "Hey,"  I said, "I should  of brought my fishin'  rod down
          with me...I never thought of that.  I wonder if there's many fish
          in this place?"
               "Well," Mom said, "maybe you can come down here sometime and
          try fishing."
               I  could  hear children  laughing,  swings  creaking nearby,
          birds singing, and people walking by.  "Hey, Ruthy,  help me find
          some rocks and we'll toss a few into the pond."
               "Okay," she said agreeably.
               I felt about my feet and found a  couple of small stones.  I
          tossed them high into the air and  heard the splash.  "It sounded
          like it went quite a ways," I said, confidence framing my words.
               "Yeah," my little eight year old sister said, "It went about
          half way over."
               We spent the afternoon walking  through the park, riding the
          swings, negotiating  the jungle  gym, climbing  the tall  slides,
          tossing rocks into the pond, and rocking on the titter-todders.
               Retracing the few  blocks to our home, Mom  said, "How'd you
          enjoy the park Philip?"
               "Oh," I yawned, "I really liked it.  I always thought it was
          a pretty  neat place anyway.   I'll have  to come down  here this
          winter and ice skate."
               "Ice skate?"  Mom said;her  voice forming  a question  mark.
          "Do you think you can still ice skate?"
               "Sure," I said,  "why not?  I  wanna get my bike  out pretty
          soon, too," but Mom thought it wise to remain silent.
               Pulling on  my pajamas, I  called Bingo.  He  came lumbering
          into my bedroom and  I lifted him to the bed.   "My bed's kind of
          small Bingo," I said, "but it's big enough for us both."  Sliding
          beneath the covers, I thought of the  next day.  I hadn't been to
          church  before  under these  conditions.    I  was worried  about
          getting around.   I knew the  church building well and  could get
          around it by myself but I  wouldn't want to try and do  that yet.
          How would I get to my class?  What would I do during class if the
          teacher asked me to read a Bible  verse?  How would I get back to
          the auditorium for the main service?   I pulled Bingo closer  and
          stroked his head.  "If you were bigger Bingo, you could be one of
          those guide dogs I've heard about.  You'd lead me around wouldn't
          you boy?"   I  stopped petting  my  new dog  and lay  on my  back
          listening to  the sounds about me.  A  car past on the street far
          below.   Ruth was whining about  Mom brushing her  hair.  Saundra
          was listening  to her radio  in her bedroom.   Kay would  be home
          from her  job at the hospital before long.   Though I was fearful
          about Sunday school, I knew it was  only temporary.  "I was gonna
          get my sight  back before long.   Sure!"  Tears began  to trickle
          from the corners of my eyes.
               Sunday school worked out because  I decided to stay with Mom
          instead of going  to my own class.   Dick Arant had  spoken to me
          but the other kids had stayed away it seemed.  Several adults had
          spoken, asking how I was, but otherwise I was anxious to get home
          to familiar surroundings.
               "Hey, Mom," I said that  afternoon, "you remember that  book
          you was readin' me when I was layin' on my back in the hospital?"
               "Oh," she said, "you mean the Hey BC book?"
               "Yeah," I agreed, "that's the one.  Where is it?"
               "I don't know.  Why?"
               "Oh, no special reason.  I'd like to have it.  Can I?"
               "Well," I  guess so," she  said putting down her  needle and
          thread.  "Let me get it for you."
               I  listened to  her  move about  the  room, turning  papers,
          moving objects and then returning to the table where she had been
          sowing.  "Here it is Philip but  I still don't understand why you
          want it."
               "Oh, I just kinda want it.  Thanks."
               Climbing the winding  steps, I found my room  and closed the
          door behind me.   trailing the corners  of my bed, I  rounded the
          room till I came to the only window in my room.  The November Sun
          was  streaming in  brightly.   I sat  on the edge  of my  bed and
          listened closely  to make  sure no one  was coming.   Holding the
          book up to  my face, I opened  my eyes wide and stared.   I could
          see red and black  colors on the face  of the book but they  were
          watery and the light from the window hurt my  eyes.  Mom had read
          from this  book by the hour to me and  I had often laughed at the
          stories of the little  prehistoric man known as Hey BC.   I often
          lay on my  back in the hospital during those four weeks wishing I
          could read it myself.  I was  a poor reader and hated reading out
          loud in  school.   Though  I stumbled  over even  the easiest  of
          words, I Now  wanted to read  more than  ever.  I  held the  book
          closer  and squinted  attempting to  distinguish  letters on  the
          cover.  I couldn't see anything  except the blurry red and black.
          I closed my eyes, shutting out the harsh light, and held the book
          with both hands.   "I'd see again,"  I mused, "I'd see  again and
          when I did, I'd read this little paperback book.  I'd read it for
          myself...I'd see again."
               "Hey, Ruth said,  her voice high and excited,  "It's snowing
          outside."
               "Really," I said, "let's go out and see.
               Walking down the steps, my sister and I walked into the open
          air.  The  snow was  falling in  big flakes and  the wind  gusty.
          "Hey," I exclaimed,  "it really is snowing.   Man, I hope  it's a
          big storm Ruthy cuz then we can play on this here big hill."
               "Yeah," she agreed,  "it'd make a pretty neat  place to play
          wouldn't it."
               "Hey you kids,"  Mom said from the door,  "get back in here.
          You don't even have a coat on."
               Returning  to the  warmth of  the house  I said,  "Mom, it's
          gonna be a big one...I can tell."
               "Well, maybe," she agreed, "but I hope not."
               "Oh, yeah," I said, "it's gonna be a big one and Ruthy and I
          are gonna play out on that big hill of ours in the front.  We can
          play  king  on the  mountain and  build  a snow  fort and  have a
          snowball fight and we can get our sled out, you do know where our
          sled is  don't you, and we can  build a big huge  snowman, and we
          can roll a big old snow ball, and..." 
               "Well, I don't know about  that Philip," she said, "that's a
          mighty  steep hill  out there  and it  empties  right out  on the
          street."
               Hearing  the worry  in her  voice I  said, "Oh,  yeah, well,
          we'll moved down the yard a ways where the hill is smaller and it
          won't be no problem at all."
               "Maybe," Mom  said again, "we'll  have to see how  much snow
          there's going to be."   My little sister  and I went to bed  that
          night praying the snow would continue to fall.
               "Did  it snow  a lot?"  I questioned  first thing  that next
          morning.
               "Yes," Mom  affirmed with  a sigh, "I'm  afraid it  did snow
          several inches."
               "Oh,  great...that's just great.  When we  getta  go out and
          play," I said demandingly.
               "Well," let's  eat some breakfast  and then  we'll get  your
          clothes ready and you and Ruth can go out for awhile."
               My sister and I  spent most of the day playing  in the fresh
          snow.  We came in several times to warm, drink hot chocolate, and
          change into warm clothes.  It all was a new experience for me and
          I tried everything as though testing myself  to see if it was all
          the same.  I had to keep my eyes closed tightly much of the  time
          because the  bright light  reflecting off  the newly  fallen snow
          felt like needles penetrating my watery vision.
               "Mom, Ruthy  and I  are gonna  play a  little longer  on the
          hill."
               "It's   getting  dark   though  Philip,"   my  mother   said
          hesitantly.   "I really don't  like you playing  out there in the
          dark.  Besides, it's really getting cold out there."
               "ah,  Mom," I  said, "It  ain't that  cold and  besides, our
          clothes are warm.   You can turn  on the porch light  and there's
          street lights  out there,  too...I remember seein'  'em.   Let us
          play some more...please?"
               "Well, all right.  I guess you can for awhile."
               Pulling on  gloves and boots  again, Ruth and I  bounded out
          the door.   "Let's go down in  front of our neighbor's  house," I
          suggested, "cuz their hill ain't as steep as ours and we can play
          king of the mountain.  We ain't done that yet today."
               "Okay," Ruth agreed guiding me across the yard.
               We played on the hill  for several minutes, sliding down and
          then attempting  to climb up  again.   "It's too steep  still," I
          said to my  sister.   I can't climb  back up cuz  I keep  sliding
          down."  We decided to play near the steps so that when we  wanted
          to return  to the top of the hill, we  only needed to walk up the
          stairs to achieve the top.
               "Hello," a girl said.
               "Whose that?" I questioned.
               "My names Jenny," she said.  I live a block up the street in
          the green house."
               "Oh, well,  that's good,"  I said  a little  hesitantly, not
          wanting anyone to intrude.
               "What's your name?"
               "I'm Ruthy  and this  here is my  older brother  Philip," my
          sister said before I could answer.
               "Oh, that's nice," the new comer said.  "Can I play with you
          guys?"
               "Well, I  guess so,"  I replied, "we're  plain' king  on the
          mountain."
               "How is that played?" she wanted to know.
               "Well," I said clearing my throat, "one person stands at the
          top of the hill and tries to push the other people back  down the
          hill when they come  up.  Who is ever standing at  the top at the
          last  is  the king  and we  just  keep doing  that over  and over
          again."
               "That sounds fun," she said, "let's do it."
               We played for some time in the gathering darkness; the porch
          and street lights our only illumination.  It was getting cold and
          the snow felt icy.  Our clothes and  gloves were getting damp.  I
          would roll to  the bottom of the hill and then  feel my way along
          the sidewalk till my out  stretched arm came in contact with  the
          hand rail of the steps.  Sometimes,  when I was too far down  the
          sidewalk, my sister would  guide me to the rail and  I would once
          again ascend  alone.  The  little neighborhood girl took  part in
          the game  and often  showed me  the rail  herself.   Our laughter
          drifted across  the snow covered  yards as we played;  our breath
          condensing in the frozen winter air.
               Finally, rolling to the bottom of the hill once again, I got
          to  my feet and  felt for the rail.   It wasn't  there.  I walked
          several more  feet and still  couldn't find  it.  "Hey,"  I said,
          "where's the rail...am I going the right direction?"
               The new friend my sister and I had made came near and as she
          breathed heavily through her scarf, she said, "What's matter with
          you?  Why we got to always show you where that rail is?"
               "The world suddenly began to  loose its spin; slowing on its
          axes.  The frigid air seized my body in a death grip and my heart
          stopped.   I  could feel  the  blood pumping  in my  ears.   "She
          doesn't know, I thought, she doesn't know I'm blind."
               "Well," she prodded.
               "Cuz I'm  blind," I said  sharply, my voice sounding  like a
          pistol crack in  the cold air.   Hot tears spilled from  my eyes.
          Ruth was crying now, too, and she guided me down the frozen empty
          street to our  house.  We  mounted the stairs, crossed  the snowy
          sidewalk to our  porch, and stumbled into the  house; our sobbing
          clearly heard.
               "What's the matter,"  Mom said apprehensively as  she helped
          us pull off our frozen clothes.  "Did you get hurt out there?"
               "No, No," I said barely able to speak.  "Ruth?"          Mom
          questioned, "what happen?"
               "He," she began haltingly, "he..." and sobbed loudly; unable
          to continue.
               I  sat  in  my  mothers   lap  in  the  living  room  crying
          uncontrollably   attempting   to  explain   what   had  happened.
          Eventually I was able to tell my mother that I  suddenly realized
          I was blind and  that I was never  going to see again.   The wall
          had closed in around me.  She held me close, rocking and silently
          crying with me till I fell  asleep, wondering how her little boy,
          her only  son, would adjust  to his blindness; wondering  how she
          would adjust herself.


                            End Of Chapter 5

                             LIQUID PURPLE

                                   BY

                              PHIL SCOVELL




                           Copyright 1991-2004

                            By Phil Scovell

                          All Rights Reserved



          Reproduction of the book  entitled "Liquid Purple" is granted  by
          the copyright holder, Phil Scovell,  if such reproduction is done
          in the  spirit in which it  was given.  It may  not be reproduced
          and sold  for financial gain  without written  permission of  the
          copyright  holder: Phil  Scovell.    Electronic  formats  may  be
          distributed freely  but this  copyright notice  must remain  with
          each  copy and  the  text cannot  be  altered in  any  way.   For
          convenience, this copyright notification may be placed at the end
          of the document  if reproduced electronically.   If chapters  and
          sections  of the  book entitled  "Liquid Purple" is  separated in
          file  form   for  convenience  of  electronic   reproduction  and
          distribution,  this copyright notice must appear somewhere within
          each individual file.


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          Phil Scovell
          840 South Sheridan Boulevard
          Denver, Colorado  80226-8017
          Email:  phil@redwhiteandblue.org
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