Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Every vision-impaired person has his story of how he or she lost their sight. My dad lost his in two incidents.
The first was when a rock from a sling-shot ricocheted off a building and hit him in his left eye. That one was permanently blinded.
The second eye was injured when he was asked to look down a pipe and a fellow shot a rod down it and hit him in his right eye. Without any sight and blood running down his face, he climbed onto his horse and rode home. He was about 13 at the time and remained completely blind for several years. His older sister by two years, Aunt Vida, became his sight. She read all his work to him, and he continued to do very well in school.
They attended school in Karnes County at the Choate County School. But when Vida moved to high school, graduating from school in Karnes County, Daddy no longer had help, so that's when he went to the Austin School for the Blind. There he learned brail and again, excelled in school.
When he was 19, he regained some of the vision in one eye, so he transferred to Brackenridge High School to finish up there. The family had moved into San Antonio where his mother was running a boarding house (1929). But before he could graduate, he was in a major car accident on Guenther Street, and he remained in the hospital for months and months, recovering from 71 broken bones. The greatest damage was to his left leg. He limped all his life, more noticeably in his latter years as arthritis had set in.
But Daddy could do so much. He was a 'jack of all trades' and amazingly could do plumbing, electronics, wood-work, and mechanics, mostly using feel instead of sight to figure things out. And he played the guitar, mandolin and piano, all self-taught. He read avidly, using a magnifying glass and a book held close to his face. He played dominoes, holding the entire ‘hand’ in one hand, again, close to his face. He also listened to books on tape, especially the Bible, and despite all of his setbacks, he enjoyed a happy life. He was a jokester, a loving father, a fine Christian, and a cheerful man who loved people and life and never complained.
Daddy died at age 72 in 1982. I think he would have lived much longer, but his body was worn out from all the injuries.