Neighborhood Collects Money For This Blind Boy’s Operation.

Story by Mark Crider

Back when us kids were small there was a little kid two houses down that was blind. Smart little guy too. He could read Braille, I think, at a sixth grade level, and he was only six or seven. The way he ran, played and spoke to you it would be difficult to tell he was blind from a distance. His eyes looked normal except for the slight cloud or film that seemed to be in their depths.

In the early fifties there was some kind of new eye surgeries that had come available or were experimental, I can’t remember now. Anyway the parents looked in to them and discovered there was one that the doctors’ thought may give him a chance at some level of eyesight. They knew not what it would be, but they were pretty sure it would be better than complete blindness, which he suffered at the time.

Investigating further they discovered the cost, a staggering sum would be an understatement. Insurance at the time wouldn’t cover it for some reason I don’t remember. The people at church, the whole neighborhood, well, the whole community found out about it after a while and some started little things to raise money. Gloria, the little crippled girl who owned Shep The Wonder Dog who pulled her around in a carriage her dad had made, started a lemonade stand in front of her house to help. Several of us started a neighborhood vegetable stand selling things from our gardens. They even had rummage sales and lawns were being mowed that didn’t need it. Special collections were being taken up in church for the fund and all of it was going into the fund for his operation. Our efforts made the paper.

The family was contacted and it seems that a hospital out of town and some doctors agreed to do it for what was in the fund at the end of that summer. They were gone a few days somewhere to get it done and when they returned his whole head was bandaged and he had to be kept inside and quiet for thirty days.

It was a cool, crisp fall evening when it was time to unwrap the bandages. The room had to be darkened. We neighbors were all gathered on their patio bar-b-qing and had brought all kinds of things to go with it while waiting for the event. Their house was dark and it had gotten so clear with no moon it was eerie. The stars seemed to be flashing like a circus. I went inside to see how things were going just as they opened the venetian blinds a little for him to have his first glimpse of the world. Across the street a neighbors lights were on. He asked what it was and was told the neighbors were home because their lights were on. He had never experienced seeing lights before.

His parents gently led him out onto the patio where we were all gathered watching in anticipation of his first visions. He looked around at all of us who he recognized by our voices, but had never seen. Then he looked up into the sky and exclaimed, “look daddy, God’s home, his lights are on.” There was not a dry eye among us.

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