65° - 01.09.1967, Blaðsíða 18

65° - 01.09.1967, Blaðsíða 18
We ARE Capable Interview with JOLEE CRANE, fiancee of Leifur Magnusson, piano technician Q. Have you always been blind? A. Yes. I and my twin sister were born prema- turely and received too much oxygen, with the result that we have never had sight. Q. Do you find that your other senses are un- usually well-developed as a compensation? A. I suppose you might say that this is so. Certainly if one is without sight he tends to de- pend more upon his other senses, and for this reason they are more highly developed. I am not distracted by what I see, but instead focus atten- tion on what I hear, smell and taste. My hearing is considered normal, although I can hear pitches of very high frequency. My other senses have not been tested for acuteness, but because they are used more than by the average sighted person’s, I suppose you could say they are more highly developed. Q. How do you identify new acquaintances? A. Mostly by voice. Naturally sex is determined this way, and often height, if the person is stand- ing near, preferably in front, as when shaking hands. Sincerity or its lack can usually be de- tected, but as with age and height, mistakes can often be made if the individual is a good actor. Perhaps I should interject here that most blind people frown upon individuals who approach them, take their hand, and ask, “Guess who I am?” Q. Have you ever used a seeing-eye dog? A. No. I have friends who have dogs, but I prefer the cane. This preference for one or an- other means of travelling around is purely per- sonal. Some people like the security and protec- tion the dog provides. Most people are not aware, however, that it is the blind person who deter- mines whether it is safe to cross the street. The dog is color-blind and only alerts you if a car comes from out of nowhere. Blind people can spend many an evening discussing the pros and cons of dogs vs. canes. Q. Did your sight affect your education? A. Of course. I attended the New York Institute for the Blind from 1947 to 1960, learning all my academic subjects, as well as Braille and typing. If I had not been blind I would not have attended such a school. Now, more blind children are encouraged to attend public schools, but at the time I was growing up, education received in public school was considered a waste of time for a blind child. Q. You have a degree in sociology? A. Yes. I received my B.A. in Sociology-Social Work from Adelphi University in June, 1964. In the course I studied anthropology, the history and practice of field work, American minority groups, social change, marriage and family, ad infinitum. I also studied psychology, economics, and European and American history and so forth. — everything, in fact, which the average sighted person would study for a degree in this field. Q. What made you go into that field? A. Actually the NY State Vocational Rehabilita- tion Service was paying for my education. Originally I had wanted to study languages and work as an interpreter. The state advisers felt this unwise as it was extremely difficult for a blind person to go into that field. They suggested that I go either into teaching or social work, as both fields were open to blind people. At that time teaching did not appeal to me, so I decided on social work, otherwise I would have been un- able to go to college. Q. Where did you get your field training? A. At the Nassau County Health Department. I worked there during my senior year for four hours a week. My work consisted of interviewing and processing cases under the Medical Re- 16 65



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