Five Years

joshua goldstein footstone in ohev shalom cemetery in brookhavenJune has many special dates in it for me. Most are happy dates, like 10 June, our wedding anniversary (27 years, this year,) the kids high school graduations, and several others. There is one sad one, though. On 11 June 2012, my father died. Five years. When I was a kid, I didn’t know how I would get along without my dad. Since I was a around 10 years old, my dad would say, “one day, I’m just going to wind up in Brookhaven.” Every time he would say it, my mom would get mad at him. He and I would laugh.

My dad was use to going to the cemetery there. His mother died when he was four years old and he started visiting her grave with his sisters and brothers before he was seven. As he liked to point out, he was going there so long, Brookhaven Road was just a dirt road. I guess I’ve been going there for a long time, too. I was probably eight or 10 when I would go with my dad sometimes to visit my uncle Herman’s  grave. My dad also showed me where his mother was buried, and his brother Abe. And the twins, Morris and Pauline, who died in infancy a year or two before my dad was born.

goldstein tombstone in ohev shalom cemetery in brookhavenGoing there now is completely different, though. When I was a kid, I didn’t know many of the people buried there and I would come and go with my dad. Now, there are many people there that I knew. The biggest difference is it is now the only place I can go to be with my dad. It does make me smile, though, when I think of all of our conversations about the cemetery.

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I Joined the NFB!

Me and my friend Warren.I joined NFB (National Federation of the Blind) this past weekend. My friend Warren invited me to the Keystone Chapter of the NFB last month, but it snowed that day, so I didn’t feel comfortable going. It’s not  that I hate snow, it is just the walk to the train station after the meeting that concerned me. I’ve never really gone out and about in the snow using my cane. For this month’s meeting, the weather cooperated.

In the days and weeks before the meeting, Warren and I talked and texted about it. He also told me about his time at the Colorado Center for the Blind. What an amazing place that sounds like. It seems he really learned how to manage every aspect of his life with very limited vision.

Back to the reason for this post, joining the NFB. Most people I know, including many friends and family, know that I can’t see, but they don’t realize how it affects almost every aspect of my life. They don’t get that moving something from its regular place on one shelf in the fridge to another shelf makes it almost impossible for me to find. Everyone at the NFB understands that and lives that. Just like when I had some training at CBVI in Chester, it is nice to be around people who have similar interests and issues and to learn from each other.

There is also that feeling of being independent. Since Eliz had plans, I felt confident enough to walk from 15th and Walnut to Suburban Station, find my way to the ticket counter and buy a ticket, then go to the right platform and get on the right train, then walk home from the Swarthmore station — about a mile. I did it all with very little trouble. I was surprised. My biggest issue was finding the ticket counter at Suburban Station. Once I had my ticket, the clerk walked me to the steps to the platform and I was good to go. Several passengers also offered assistance once the train arrived and warned me about the gap between the train and the platform.

While it doesn’t seem like that big a deal to most people, it was to me. To share stories and tips with people who are similar is very gratifying. To make it back home on my own seems almost miraculous.

 

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Shaving

I like to say I shave once a week whether I need to or not. Of course, I should probably shave more often, but that is another topic completely. In the winter months, I grow a beard. It helps keep me warm and makes up a little for the lack of hair on the top of my head. Shaving has never been easy for me, between my lack of sight and psoriasis flare ups. It is tougher when you are trying to keep a beard intact.

Today, for the first time in a long, long time, I shaved with a manual razor. The Gillette Fusion ProShield, to be exact. My Braun Series 3 Cordless Electric Razor hit the tile floor last week and that was the end of that. I had a look around Amazon.com a few times during the week, but never had enough time to really look for a replacement. I figured I would just give a manual razor a try and picked the Fusion Proshield up when we took my mom to Target.

Once I went into the bathroom to shave, I started asking myself how I was going to do it. With an electric razor, I just keep shaving an area then feel for stubble. With a manual razor, I could shave an area, but with all the shaving cream on my face, how am I going to feel the stubble? More importantly, how was I going to get close to my beard without accidently shaving bits of it off? The answer: very carefully. As I lathered my neck up with the shaving cream, I remembered how much I didn’t like shaving with a manual razor. I shaved my lower neck area first, then got close to my jaw line. Once I finished, Eliz came in and checked it (which she does when I use an electric razor, too — I can only imagine missing a clump of hair and looking ridiculous.) She touched up a few places, as she also does when I shave with an electric razor. For the most part, though, it surprisingly went well.

I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d still have a beard when I finished shaving. I thought I would have taken too much of the beard off and then be forced to shave the entire beard off. I was surprised. That being said, I’ll be purchasing a new Braun electric razor in the next day or two.

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