MY FATHER DRIVES ME AROUND NEIGHBORHOODS
This is me selling Christmas cards
door to door. This me taking over for Mom.
This is me vacuuming.
This is me in the kitchen.
This is me selling brooms for
Lighthouse for the Blind.
This is me at the paper shack counting papers,
bagging them before delivering. Seattle times.
This is me smoking a cigarette throwing the paper bag
over the handlebars of my bike. 120 daily. More on Sunday.
This is me quitting the market where I cleaned the cooler
where deer skins were thrown. Unable
to clean up maggots. I couldn't hold my head up.
You want to be good at door to door.
You have to have a product you believe in.
You have to present yourself , not scare people.
You have to know how to get your foot in the door.
I was ten, new in Seattle. Then I was 12.
I'd moved on from Christmas cards.
What I was good at was selling those brooms.
Products from Lighthouse for the Blind.
Dad drove me into new neighborhoods twice a week.
Blind people made everything I sold.
Understand, I was doing this for money,
I also believed.
You're representing those who cannot see.
You're making lives better, like Jesus.
You're not wearing jeans, OK?
You better believe the blind shall see.
You show people your broom.
You're wearing a necktie, just old enough for pimples.
Good evening, Ma'm. I
sell products made by the blind,
and I work for The Light House for the Blind.
This is how I got my start, before
I loaded fruitcakes inside Paul Bunyan's 25,000 pound
birthday Cake at Seattle World's Fair.
I worked before the Fair opened, after it closed,
and all 180 days. Before I became a busboy.
Apprenticed to itinerancy.
My journalism teacher signed my yearbook
saying he was certain I'd be rich.
I loved him so much. But he was wrong.
Now, Lighthouse for the Blind partners with Boeing.
They teach signing, Braille. Accessibility.
Advocate for blind and deaf/blind,
and blind with other difficulties.
Behind the Seattle Lighthouse,
Ethel L. Dupart's Fragrant Garden
contains over sixty different plants
appealing to the sense of smell and touch.
For me it was always about the senses.
Who had them, who didn't,
how they keep moving around. *
16 July 2018
*Lighthouse for the Blind is the largest employer of people
who are blind on the West Coast, and the largest employer of people who are
DeafBlind in the nation.