Another one of my favorite stories from this week. Not only are they walkers and, oh, yah, blind, but they are just about the most loving, caring, beautiful couple I’ve ever met. They literally finished each others’ sentences and they didn’t need sight to do that or to love each other with all their hearts for more than 40 years. -JJ
By Jessica Noll | WCPO.com
COVEDALE, Ohio – Joyce and Robert Rogers sat at their dining room table playing their favorite game, Scrabble. It’s the board they first bought when they first started dating nearly 50 years ago.
“Oh, oh, that’s an ‘A’,” said Joyce, as she rubbed her fingers over the wooden letter tile’s small, raised bumps. She was reading the letter in Braille.
If they had had their vision back in 1961, they said they might not have seen each other when they met for the first time.
“I don’t think I would’ve met her at all if I hadn’t had visual impairment because the place where I worked… The place where we worked employed blind people and weren’t discriminatory,” said Robert.
Married 46 years, they have never laid eyes on each other.
But being blind isn’t stopping them from anything.
As Joyce opened her front door, it creaked passed her. She walked down her steps out front and proceeded with her friend and walking guide, Sue Hill, to the sidewalk.
Joyce, who’s now retired from teaching, and Robert, 75, retired from computer analysis work, are gearing up for the Flying Pig 10-K, along with 50 other blind walkers and 20 walking guides.
Joyce walked down her sidewalk with her walking stick in front of her, feeling for any cracks in the concrete.
Walking is one way the advocates for The American Council of the Blind, said they are just like anyone else.
“People have a mindset that we don’t belong, and therefore we’re not a part of things,” said Joyce.
“It’s so simple to include us but people don’t even think on how to do it. Like, we play cards. We use to play Bridge, but now we play Euchre,” she continued, as she shuffled a deck of cards with both the numeral and Braille imprinted on each card.
She lost most of her vision young, before ever meeting her husband.
“Pretty much lost my vision by the time I was 8. Nobody really knows but I was probably born with Glaucoma.”
Then when she was 30, she was in an accident and lost what was left of her sight.
Robert was just 5 years old.
“My grandfather was drilling and digging a well on our property and he was very good with dynamite, except he was careless with the dynamite cap. I got a hold of the dynamite cap and lost my fingers,” he said with his right hand lying in his lap, missing the first two fingers.
He also lost most of his vision. Then in college, he had a detached retina and that took the rest of his sight.
The parents to three sons, now rely on their other senses to do most everything, including walking.
“Hearing, feeling, I mean feeling the breeze, like when you take a walk. Feel the breeze; hear the birds…”
At 69, it’s Joyce’s third year walking the Flying Pig. Last year, she walked the half marathon: 13.1 miles.
This year, she said she is more than ready for the 6.2 miles ahead of her Saturday morning.