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My First Nfb Convention

Editor's Note: John Goodfellow is a sighted member of the Toronto Chapter. Although his partner is blind and he has associated with blind people for many years, the Convention of the National Federation of the Blind gave him a new perspective on blindness. This is what he had to say about it.

When I arrived at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel, I observed many blind persons waiting to check in. As the days went by, I was utterly amazed at how efficient many blind people were in finding their way around. I was surprised to notice the extent to which small children were able to deal with mobility--and if I do say so myself--much more successfully than most adults.

One of the funniest things that I saw was a small blind boy who was about four or five years old. He was playing hide and seek with his mother who happened to be sighted. He would run down the corridor with his white cane, never missing an ark, then stand in the middle of the corridor calling out to his mother "Find me, Mom!"

There were a number of guide dogs present, and it was interesting to observe their behaviour during work sessions. There did not seem to be any conflicts or school rivalry! Now to the conference itself ...

The sessions were informative. The speakers had done their homework and were well prepared. Afterwards there was an opportunity to ask questions. The delegates paid close attention and had plenty of questions for the speakers. It was quite apparent that they were there to learn and take information back to their chapters.

The general assembly sessions were all very well attended by the delegates. Speeches by President Marc Maurer and Dr. Jernigan were well presented and most inspiring. They knew how to hold the attention of a large, diverse gathering of 2,500 individuals. It was obvious that they were no strangers to public speaking and knew their subjects inside out. I feel quite fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet these two fine gentlemen.

The conference was followed by some fun and enjoyable entertainment--setting the tone for informal get-togethers and camaraderie. I found myself making new friends from all over the United States and Canada.

Finally came the banquet, drawing this great convention to a close.This also was quite impressive for those who, like myself, had sight.It must be said that the staff at the hotel did an excellent job ensuring everyone was well looked after.

I could go on forever, but I will close by saying to the blind "Thank you for accepting me into your family!"

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