Nora’s Archives, Part One

16 May

Keeping my promise with my previous post, I’ll start by talking about the job I held for a little over year as an personal living assistant to a visually-impaired girl in the area. Originally I started out as her paper-formatting gal, but our friendship grew and she needed an assistant.

My weekly duties involved taking her to the gym, driving her to the grocery store (where I had to read her the ingredients on the back of each box, the weekly specials and etc), cleaning her apartment, occasional outfit coordination, accompanying her to dinner and describing the food to her, and as I came to find out, general companionship.

Shamefully I can’t remember her name for the life of me, though I believe it was Rebecca. Rebecca was wildly accomplished given her handicap- she was attaining her Doctorate’s degree in psychology and sociology, managed to the be the Residential Assistant for the dorm she lived in (free housing!), was engaged to a successful engineer who lived in the Chicago area and was well-known among students and staff.

The first few times I worked with Rebecca I found her to be terribly gruff and bossy and extremely sarcastic. All things that are obviously acceptable given the daily issues she faced. After about a year of my working with her I was dusting her collection of unicorns and merry-go-rounds with Smallville  on TV in the background. It happened to one of those scenes where there was no talking… all action and acting… in silence. Smallville happened to be Rebecca’s favorite show and as she put it, she couldn’t have been happier to have me there. I found myself describing the opening scene for her as without that information, she would have been lost for the entire show.

It hit me at that moment, while I was delicately wrapping the unicorns and merry-go-rounds into newspaper and boxes for her, how much those of us with sight do take for granted. We never discussed her sight impairment; I have no idea when it happened or how it happened. She never wore sunglasses, unless we were outside and her bright blue eyes managed to look at me on occasion which was both fantastic and slightly eerie.

Rebecca was great at schmoozing with adults and kids, getting what she needed done, writing a well-crafted paper and she turned out to be a friend. We did lose touch shortly after I graduated, but last I knew she was in Chicago, with her fiance, planning the upcoming wedding.

This job is one I look back on that actually had some purpose and some meaning during my college years and if nothing else taught me to be more open, less judgmental and remember how fortunate I am.

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One Response to “Nora’s Archives, Part One”

  1. anne May 16, 2008 at 9:22 pm #

    Digging the new layout….

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