This next page from my journal describes one of the most important weeks of my life. The build up, the wind down, the exhilarating emotions, the unforgettable memories that followed me home, it all signified the end of something that I would never forget, and the start of something I could never have imagined. Through all of those days at the center, I was unknowingly preparing for the rest of my life, a life without the use of sight, but a life with so many new visions.
It’s been a few years from there, to here, and man how things have changed.
And now, on with the post.
I had been trying to build a wooden toy truck in Manual Arts class those past several weeks, and had not made much progress with it. I really never thought I would finish it before I returned home after graduation. It just didn’t seem possible. I had class twice that week, and my instructor Bill told me that he would be able to work with me after class on a few days. I still didn’t think we would be able to finish it.
With one day left in the week, I was still miles away from finishing the project. The wooden truck was designed to be able to be completely dismantled, and then re-assembled again. Jack had told his Nunna that he wanted a toy truck for Christmas. A truck that you could take apart, and put back together again. I had told Bill this in the first week of class when we were supposed to decide what to build for a project. His eyes lit up when I mentioned it to him. He said that he had always wanted to feel like he had Santa’s workshop at his finger tips. He also told me over and over again that he loved to build toys.
That Thursday night was the night before graduation. There were only classes until noon on graduation day, and so Thursday night was my last chance. Bill had told me earlier in the day that I could come to class after final period at 3pm. I arrived with no concept of being able to finish the toy.
Bill and I stayed in the shop until 9:30 that night working on the truck. He was also helping a couple other people finishing up their projects as well. When I finally assembled the cab of the truck, and felt it, I knew we were done. I got a rush of warmth up and down my body like I used to get at Christmas time. Santa and his elves had done it. The truck was complete.
I couldn’t take it out of my hand all night. The only time I did let go of it was to let the others in the dorm have a look at it. From the reactions of the people who had working eyes, it was a cool, sharp looking truck. I felt wonderfully good. I felt like I had conquered Mount Everest. I felt like I also needed to thank Bill again and again. What a wonderful thing he did to help me finish the truck.
That last week for me was a blur of emotions and experience and hope and accomplishment and a sense of completion of the first stage of my new life. I really felt like I had climbed an unbelievably high mountain, and the view from the top was incredible.
There were some altercations, some goings on with a few of the students on campus, but for the most part, I had managed to stay focused on what I needed to do for myself. I had come through the 6 week program with flying colors, and received very good reviews from the counselors as well as the instructors. I was told that I had made a positive impression with the faculty. I had remained focused and positive in my direction and objectives. I had from the start, kept the mind set of being able to tackle obstacles head on and learn from any experience that came my way. I had lived what I had been preaching. I felt good that I had kept a promise to myself. That was the most important thing to me.
I had grown rather close to a few of the students, and hated having to leave because of them. Karen from the Cape, and Yancy from Long Island had become very good friends that I could always count on cheering me up on those gloomy days. I tried to do the same for them also. We just kept picking each other up when we needed it.
As I look back now on all that went on in those 8 weeks at the Center, I am amazed that it seemed for the most part rather easy. I told this to Leona, and she wasn’t surprised. She told me that I had my focus level set so high, and that the amount of anxiety that I riddled myself with, was met with tasks that I had internally prepared myself for, no matter what they were. By imagining the worst things that could ever happen, I had set the bar a lot higher than the Center did. I know that there were some very trying times during those two months, but like usual, they were almost never as bad as I had made them out to be in my head.
This is something that I have done my whole life. I always play things out in my head prior to events, and usually imagine that things are going to be much more difficult than they ever transpire to be. I have a vivid imagination, and it gets the better of me a lot. I should have been a screen playwright, or a drama coach, lol. My theatrical, over the top mind more than not propelled me into a created parallel world that usually never came close to reality. It sure looked and felt like it though.
To be continued…