Thursday, March 12, 2020

Flash's Story

My husband Murray and I are now teaching a braille transcribing class at a women’s correction facility.

This is not for people who are visually impaired, but to train students to produce braille books and other documents for those who do need to read braille.

Braille transcribing is much harder to learn than braille reading. I found this out when I took the transcribing class, after I’d been a braille reader for nearly forty years.

Transcribing has many rules about how to use and not use the different braille symbols, formatting the documents, much more. It is a tough course, and Murray and I appreciate how hard the women in our class are working to accomplish this difficult skill.

Part of what I do is come up with lessons to practice transcribing skills, as well as actual braille documents for the students to read, in order to practice proofreading.

Brailling out these reading practices is a challenge for me. The braille writer I use is similar to a manual typewriter. If I make a mistake toward the end of the page, I have to do the whole page over. I am so tempted to scratch out the mistake and explain it to them, but I want to encourage them to make their documents as perfect as possible.

So, yes, I have started many pages over. I also have to make sure not to use symbols which they haven’t learned yet. All this helps me appreciate the effort the women are putting into their work.

This week my reading practice lesson ended up being a story about my Mom’s dog, Flash. Next time I see Flash, I need to thank him for giving me material for a lesson.

Flash is the name of my mother’s dog.

His favorite day is Sunday because my brother Rodney brings treats.

When Mom leaves the house she says, “Flash, stay here; you’re in charge.”

The cats know now that Flash is old, he won’t eat their food.

When he was younger, he used to jump on everyone who came near.

Sometimes he ran so fast to jump on Mom, she feared he might knock her down.

He still takes his work seriously and barks every time we drive up.

My brother Jim gave Flash to my father as a puppy, and he brought Daddy joy for many days.

Those are some sweet memories I have, thinking of Daddy with his dog.

Mom never has been a real pet lover. “Dogs and cats need to stay out of the house,” she said. But I know she likes going out on the front porch to talk to old Flash.


  1. Thank you, Kathy. Keith and I met Flash when we visited with your mom last summer. I remember a dog named Punkin your family had when I was a kid, and the donkey! But my best "pet" memory at your house was in the summer of 1985. Mom and Dad, me and my kids, Andy ages 7 and Kristy aged 2, stopped to visit your parents when I was in MO visiting. Jimmy asked if my kids would like to see the cute new piglets. "Of course!" So off we trekked across the field down to the pig pen. I was carrying Kristy and Andy was gleefully skipping all over the place, stepping in manure with every step. And then - he saw a goat or sheep or cow poop right in front of him! He stopped in his tracks, looked at his shoes and shouted like a city kid (which he is!) "It just pooped! And that one did it too! There's poop all over the place!" Jimmy and I were laughing so hard I almost dropped Kristy - and then I had to clean ALL the shoes! But seeing the piglets was definitely worth it. And my city kids learned so much! This last weekend, we took our grandgirls for a horseback ride at a ranch, and they were very accepting of animals and nature. What a difference!

    Thank you for another great story. Love you, cousin!

    1. Michelle, Oh my, what a great memory.:) thank you, love you.:)

  2. "He still takes his work seriously and barks every time we drive up."

    I emulate Flash's serious approach to work, but I let cars approach the house in quiet.

    1. Dave,

      Oh, me too. If I don't acknowledge the cars, maybe they'll go away and let me get back to work.:)

      Take good care, Kathy

  3. HI Kathy,
    So fascinating! I love Braille, and enjoy reading it when I have time. I had a refresher course two summers ago. I didn't realize it was so difficult to transcribe - do transcribers reverse it and put it into print? Bless you and all your talents!!

    1. Transcribers take print documents and turn them into braille. Even though much of that is done by computer now, it's not perfect, so transcribers have to proofread and fix. Take good care.:)