Archive for July, 2011

Feature Writer Terri Winaught – History of the Negro Leagues: Part 3 – The Homestead Grays

In 1900, a group of African-American men who loved baseball got together and formed a team which would become the Homestead Grays in 1912. In 1900 however, this new team was called the Germantown, PA Blue Ribbons Industrial Team. These young men had no way to know that they had founded a team that would become one of the greatest franchises in the history of Negro National League.
For ten years, The Blue Ribbons were considered mediocre, but they always managed to put a team together and played against very talented Sandlot clubs. After team managers retired in 1910, the Blue Ribbons reorganized and changed their name to the Murdock Grays.
The 1912 team that became the Homestead Grays–Homestead being a community near Pittsburgh– was formed by Cumberland Posey and played continuously for 38 seasons. Because the Grays were such a winning team, they drew large crowds and had fun doing what they loved.
Although the Grays joined the American Negro League in 1929, that league lasted only one season, which resulted in the Grays becoming an independent team again for another three years. In 1932, Posey founded the East-West League, which folded before completing their first season, and led to the Grays entering the Negro National League in 1935.
From 1937 to 1945, the Homestead Grays won 9 consecutive league pennants with the help of future Hall of Famers “Cool” Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, Buck Leonard and Martin Dihigo, originally a great player with the New York Cubans.
A pitcher considered the best or “Ace” Pitcher for the Grays was Smokey Joe Williams. This pitching powerhouse once struck out 27 batters in a 12 inning game.
During World War II, the Grays played ball in Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field–where the Pirates also played– and Washington, D.C.’s Griffith Stadium. Because the Washington Senators (D.C.’s white team) played so badly that they were “in the Cellar,” the Grays always outdrew the Senators when the former team was on the road.
When the Negro National League collapsed after the 1948 season, the Homestead grays struggled to remain an independent ball club, which lasted another two years until they disbanded in 1950.
Along with the Hall of Famers and other greats already mentioned, Sam Bankhead gained notoriety for becoming the first black Minor League manager in 1951.
To honor the Grays’ legacy, the Homestead Highlevel Bridge, which crosses the Monongahela River and connects Homestead to Pittsburgh, was renamed the Homestead Grays Bridge on July 11, 2002. From 2006 to 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates and several other teams played 7 games in which they honored Negro League baseball by wearing Homestead Grays uniforms.
Material for this article came from www.nlbpa.com (Negro League Baseball Players Association), and www.en.wikipedia.org

Letter from the Editor for July 25, 2011

Hello Everyone,
I hope you all had a nice weekend and were able to escape from the oppressive heat. As for me, I chose to march right into it. I spent some time with friends down in Virginia Beach this past weekend and when I arrived on Friday morning, the temperature was 105 with the heat index between 115 and 120. Needless to say, we did most of our activities inside that day. The following day we went to the beach, when it was a significantly cooler 100 degrees. This also happened to be a day when I foolishly decided to remove my sandals as we made our way across the sand to the water. About halfway to our spot, I decided that I was most likely on fire, and it would be best to simply not look down and see the flames. My feet literally sizzled when I could finally get them to the water for relief.
There are no announcements for this week and it’s business as usual. We’ve got a great line-up of articles, so I hope you enjoy browsing through them.
Take care, and as always, thanks for reading.
Sincerely,
Ross Hammond, Editor

Recipe of the Week – Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Submitted by Dave Hutchins
Yield: 12 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey or half and half
1 cup chopped green pepper
2/3 cup chopped onion
2 cups ketchup or barbecue sauce
2 envelopes sloppy joe mix
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
12 hamburger buns, split
Directions:
In a large skillet, cook the beef, pepper and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the ketchup, sloppy joe mix, brown sugar and mustard.
Transfer to a 3-quart.
Slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until flavors are blended. Spoon 1/2 cup onto each bun.
Slow cook your way to a crowd-pleasing entree! Ground beef is transformed into a classic sandwich filling with just a few pantry staples.
Nutrition Facts: 1 sandwich equals 337 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 1,251 mg sodium, 47 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 18 g protein.

Reader’s Forum for July 18, 2011

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.
In response to Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Sounds Good to Me and Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Will Braille Ever Be Affordable?, Terri wrote:
Like you, Lynne, I hear beautiful birdsongs early in the morning which seem to say, “Welcome to another new day.”
As the day progresses, I am also bombarded with the undulating beats of Rap and Hip-Hop.
Finally, living in Pennsylvania’s second largest city, I also hear the whoosh of bus and truck airbrakes, horns honking impatiently, and the strident tones of frustrated mothers telling their overly energetic children to “Get over here!”
My final comment is about Alena Roberts’ article in which she wonders if the cost of Braille will ever come down.
As an avid Braille reader and a Library of Congress certified Braille proofreader, I couldn’t agree more with you, Alena, especially given the low rate of Braille Literacy and the high rate of unemployment among America’s blind and visually impaired citizens.
Though I don’t know if the cost of Braille will ever come down as I’d like it to, I’d like to recommend two funding resources in the meantime.
In Pennsylvania, consumers can obtain low-interest loans from the Pennsylvania Initiative on Assistive Technology (PIAT). For more information on this Temple University-based program, call 1-800-204-7428 (1-800-204-PIAT), or contact your area’s Center for Independent Living (CIL). In Pittsburgh, the number for the Three Rivers Center for Independent Living (TRCIL) is 412-371-7700.
The National Federation of the Blind is another excellent source of low-interest loans which can be used for any type of independence-enhancing assistive technology. To learn more about this loan, for which no credit check is conducted, phone 410-659-9314, x2213.
I hope that the above information helps.
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In response to Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Will Braille Ever Be Affordable?, Gonz Blinko wrote:
As is often the case, I find myself wading into a subject which Freedom Scientific, my former employer, hates to hear discussed. In fact, FS people will deny the veracity of my statements regarding reducing the cost of braille hardware but, if they pipe up, please ask them to offer an alternative explanation that includes facts rather than hearsay.
At CSUN 2001 in San Diego this past March, a friend of mine asked a Freedom Scientific salesperson exactly why braille hardware costs so much. The answer, as one could have predicted, suggested that braille hardware requires braille cells which cost roughly $35 per character. This answer is partially true, most braille devices on the market today use a separate part for each cell on the display and these parts are really very expensive. The incorrect portion, though, is Freedom Scientific’s favorite lie by omission: they do not use these high priced cells but, rather, FS braille devices are made using a single “braille stick” of either 20 or 40 cells.
As one might expect, a single part with 20 or 40 cells is profoundly less expensive than 20 or 40 individual parts. If I remember correctly, when I left FS nearly seven years ago, a 20 cell braille stick cost only a few hundred dollars to manufacture and the 40 cell part cost only a little more. The FS braille stick technology is covered by US and EU patents. The hardware is manufactured in China and the rest of the displays (very cheap housing and very cheap electronics) are also built in China where they are assembled, boxed, and shipped to distribution points around the world.
So, one way to lower the price of braille devices would be by using technology similar to that which FS has in place. With the current state of the braille hardware biz, only FS seems to have dramatically lowered the cost of building such devices, so without any real price competition, FS can enjoy windfall profits on their sales.
For the past fifteen years or so, since I started following access technology closely, there have also been several research projects that seemed promising but have never made it to market. Some of these new ideas failed for lack of funding but most failed because they simply did not work. These notions included everything from smart metal alloys to an air pressure based system which showed some promise in the lab but failed badly when researchers tried to expand them to a usable system. This is how research works, many failures take time and money in the hopes that a single major discovery will advance the art with something really innovative.
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In response to Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Will Braille Ever Be Affordable?, Chantelle wrote:
Now that is something we also ponder about here in South-Africa.
Almost everything we blind people use is imported from America. Most of us have to borrow money to buy the things we need. Most of the technology costs more than the blind pension that we get. So if I would have liked a braille display or even jaws, I would have to go without food for a few years in order to buy it. Even something like a talking or braille watches are getting really expensive for us. Even worse, we have to really look after our things that we were able to afford. I had a braille/talking watch which only worked for a year after it was modified by a shop and then broke again by that very same shop after sending it for a new battery. Now I have to save up for a new one all over again. Most of the technology that I do know of that blind people use around here doesn’t even belong to them. It belongs to the place where they work. Some are really lucky to have such things at home because it was sponsored to them. So yes, I would also like to know why technology for the blind costs as much as a car or house. Why make things like that if the blind can’t even afford it? Don’t the people do research before they make these things?
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In response to Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Will Braille Ever Be Affordable?, Allison wrote:
I don’t understand the technology that goes in to braille displays either, so I don’t know how it could be made more affordable, but I share Alena’s fear that braille could become a thing of the past if prices don’t come down. I am writing this from my braillenote Apex that I was able to convince the state to purchase for me as a college student. I absolutely love it, but when it goes on the fritz, I don’t know that I will be able to convince the state to replace it. This note taker has been crucial to my college success as it is much more portable and efficient for me than laptop computers are. But when I enter the workforce, I will most likely spend the whole day in one office where it will be a lot more practical to do my job on a computer equipped with JAWS. Given the budget cuts everywhere these days, I doubt I could convince the state to purchase a braillenote merely for pleasure reading when I get off work. Even if I find a job that pays well, I am sure it will be hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on braille technology given the cost of living (I might end up biting the bullet and buying one anyway because I love it so much, but would prefer the price to come down first). Thank you, Alena, for bringing attention to this issue.
##
Beth wrote in, saying:
Re: Negative attitudes
I was disheartened about all the negativity presented in the July 11, 2011 “Readers’ Forum” and I will make general statements, as this letter would be too long if I specifically addressed each issue in detail. If a sighted person’s attitude or desired action concerning you or the blind in general bothers you, chalk it up to ignorance, misinformation, or a desire to help–rarely does harmful intent come into play. Remember that you are not perfect, so use tact and kindness in response to people always. This is the only right response to such situations. You can be polite and firm, exemplifying confidence. Never let anyone else’s attitude change yours regarding a topic under discussion with anyone, unless you see that yours needs changing, then thank the person for stating the new idea. If you do not agree but the other person persists, just say the idea is something you will consider and politely drop the conversation. Regarding the expense associated with Braille technology, a sighted driver will pay big bucks for a Rolls-Royce. Since this product is in a niche market, it’s no different with note takers and Braille displays.
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In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Ignorance of Our Abilities, Rev. George Gray wrote:
I read with interest and amusement Bob Branco’s article, “Ignorance of Our Abilities” in the July 11 Ziegler Magazine. Let me tell you my story.
Originally, I trained as a teacher at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, NY. I graduated with a 3.5 average on a 4.0 scale in 1970. I then went on for my MS degree in education because of a 100% paid scholarship–not related to Voc. Rehab who did pay, thankfully, for my undergraduate degree. I finished that MS with a 3.3 grade point average out of 4.
I said the above to illustrate that I am not a dunce. In my life I have been able to figure out things. I completed student teaching and the biggest problem for me was finding a ride to and from the school where I taught, but I accomplished that too.
As I was approaching graduation, I needed and wanted a job. I remember one interview with an assistant superintendent of a local school system. I dressed conservatively and went in for the job interview. After meeting the gentleman, he said that a lady teacher in the school system would be conducting the interview and then he dismissed himself and left the room. I thought this strange since I knew he had conducted other interviews–so why not talk to me? I don’t bite–growl maybe–but not bite.
When he left I decided that I would take charge of the situation. I figured that she did not have the authority or power to hire anyway. Why did he leave? What do I have to lose? Did I make him that uncomfortable? Did I forget my deodorant….hmmm! I thought and still maintain his actions were totally rude and very unprofessional. Well she asked me a question–frankly I can’t remember what it was. I answered it and then asked her how long she had taught; where she went to school; was she married; tell me about your family; why did you choose teaching as a career and on and on. Inside I was upset over this whole thing. I figured the entire interview was useless, so why not have some fun.
About 30 minutes later the assistant superintendent returned and as he entered, he casually said, “Well how are things going in here?” I stated, “Well I’ve learned a lot about your teacher–I also know that your school system doesn’t meet my standards for professionalism and I am not interested in continuing talks further.” I then got up and left.
All my interviews were not like this though, thank heavens. I remember another interview where I was asked a question about teaching geography to fifth graders. It was, I believed, a legitimate question. They asked, “If you sent a student to the U. S. map in the front of the room and asked them to point out say West Virginia, how would you know they did it?” I said, “Before I answer you…and I will, let me say that you are asking this question from the perspective of a sighted person. You have seen all your life. This is what you know. You are familiar with answers based on what you see. Now I, being blind, have to figure out a solution to solve the same problem. Bear in mind I have considered situations like this for many years and have come up with alternatives, so I would ask the student…what is to the north of West Virginia; what is to the south of West Virginia; to the east and to the west? By the student’s answers I know whether or not they have pointed out West Virginia”
The interviewer must have liked my answer and my introspection into other areas of teaching because I ended up getting the job.
Landing my first teaching job, however, was not an easy task. I estimate that I filled out probably 150 applications and went to probably 100 interviews all over the country. I remember hitchhiking with my guide dog to make it to a job interview because I missed the bus. It takes persistence and yes you do get discouraged, but a job at the end makes it all worthwhile!
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In response to Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Prayer Will Not Cure My Blindness, Elaine wrote:
I am a Christian and I’ve been to a few churches and Bible studies where people have made unkind remarks about my blindness. I’ve had people tell me that I’m not ready to see and if I had enough faith I’d be able to see. I’ve been totally blind all my life and someone told me that the devil got into either me, my mother, or the doctor when I was born. I think some Christians take what they have for granted. They act like they’ve earned their sight and all their other faculties because they have a proper relationship with God. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are people who don’t believe in God who have all their faculties. It’s a shame that some people can be so cruel and insensitive. My blindness has nothing to do with my relationship with God. I was blind before I knew anything about anything. Jesus didn’t condemn people who had disabilities–he simply healed them. When Jesus was asked by his disciples whose sin caused a man who was blind from birth to be blind, he said that no one’s sin caused his blindness. Some Christians need to appreciate what they have and not be so quick to judge people who are different than they are.

Technology – Bringing Real Touch to Touch Screens

Last week, Alena Roberts wrote an article about the financial inaccessibility of Braille technology. In my response to her, I said that as far as I can tell, the only real way that any sort of tactile technology could become truly affordable is if it can have a functional use in both the blind and sighted communities. With access to both markets, companies will be developing the product or products for a much larger pool of consumers, which will then reduce the cost. Unfortunately, at the time of that reply, that was as far as I could go, as I had no real solution or product idea. It seems now that there may have been a huge change.
Currently, there are a few crossover products or features that are used by both blind and sighted individuals. Off the top of my head, I can think of the vibration feature in cell phones (which was actually originally developed for the blind) and voice-to-text software, which has become very popular as a time-saver in lieu of typing. But now, researchers are developing touch screens that are capable of offering tactile feedback that is accurate enough to display real Braille lettering.
Apparently, this is not a new study. Research has been performed to create what’s called “programmable friction,” which yields more of a sticky sensation than anything crisp. But a new concept, called “tixtels,” or tactile pixels, is being experimented with to create a fine electrical field that can be felt by touch. The display, using something similar to static electricity, will allow the user’s skin to feel the touch interface. This could mean that buttons or icons will be felt, and possibly images as well.
This is exactly the type of technology that will be a game-changer for access to Braille, and education for the blind in general. With a display like this, that appeals to both the sighted and the blind, manufacturers will jump all over the opportunity to offer it in their newest devices. By using these displays, everything from Braille text to tactile pictures would be instantly available and at a cost many times lower than what is currently offered. Without all of the moving parts that come with the current displays, reliability will be increased and maintenance costs would be greatly reduced as well.
This is perhaps the most promising piece of crossover technology I’ve come across yet, and I really hope that some of the big guns in technology (I’m looking at you, Apple) decide to incorporate this into their future products.
Source: http://www.geekosystem.com/tactile-pixels/

Contributor Valerie Moreno – Sound Reasoning

One of my favorite childhood memories is the sound of my older cousin’s cuckoo clock. At age three, I sat patiently waiting for that brilliant sound every thirty minutes, wondering why the sweet bird had to live in a clock rather than a cage.
It’s no secret that kids love toys that sing, talk, and make noise, especially blind/visually-impaired children. I wonder, is it true for adults with vision loss as well?
One explanation is that we grow accustomed to listening more since we can’t access visual cues as sighted people do. By that reasoning, of course sound would be very important to us. Here’s my curiosity, though–why such an interest in talking devices now, and a batch of them at that?
Sliding batteries in talking clocks yesterday, I wondered why there were so many. There are three male voice clocks, two female, and a sassy-voiced watch. Alarms go off as well, from chimes to snips of music to the ever-loved cuckoo.
Time is important–hearing alarms and hours is necessary, right? Certainly, though, a half-dozen clocks in a two-room apartment creates quite the cacophony.
I wonder if my fascination with sound is more common than just necessity. Anyone else have more than two or three clocks that talk-and with varied voices/alarms? What’s your sound reasoning?

Op Ed with Bob Branco – Appealing to the Consumer Groups

In 1981, when I first joined a blind consumer organization, the unemployment rate of the blind was at 70 percent. Today, I still hear the same figure, and in fact, some sources feel the rate has gone above 80 percent. Getting a job is very important to all of us, blind or sighted. To me, helping the blind get into the work force should be a top priority. Yet despite the actions of consumer groups, it doesn’t appear, according to the statistics, that much has been accomplished.
I think it’s time I ask a very important question–exactly what steps have the consumer organizations taken to help lower the unemployment rate of the blind? I ask this with all due respect to these organizations, who serve an important purpose. State commissions for the blind instruct their clients on how best to find and be given jobs, but if employers are reluctant to hire us despite what the agencies teach us, then more must be done. You can teach me 20 steps on how to get a job, but what good is it if employers won’t hire me? With all the high technology manufactured in the world today to help a blind person, and with all that these consumer groups do to help the blind become an important part of society, I find it shocking that the unemployment rate of the blind, after 30 years, is either the same or has gone up. In a progressive society, the rate should go down, and more of us should be working at productive jobs.
It seems that the tools are being given, but nothing is being done to sway the minds of those who control the job market. The tools are a highly necessary part of the process, but much more needs to be done by these consumer groups to put pressure on employers to not only consider visually impaired applicants, but to seek them out on their own without the need for such pressure.

Feature Writer Terri Winaught – History of the Negro Leagues: Part 2 – The Pittsburgh Crawfords

Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Crawfords–also known as “The Craws”–were one of the National Negro League baseball teams. The team’s name came from the Crawford Grill, a club in Pittsburgh’s Hill District which Gus Greenlee owned, as he would eventually own the Crawfords.
When the club began in 1930, the young players were semi-professional, and sponsored by the Crawford Bathhouse and Recreation Center. Gus began his ownership of the team in 1931 by signing on some of the nation’s top African-American players, Satchel Paige being a key athlete.
In 1932, Greenlee went on to sign such future Hall of Famers as “Cool” Papa Bell, Josh Gibson and Judy Johnson. Additional Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston had the distinction of being both player and manager.
Although Crawford baseball games were sometimes held at Forbes Field, they were also played at Greenlee Park, one of few venues at the time to be owned by a Negro team.
Though the Crawfords were an independent ball club before Greenlee formed the second NNL in 1933 and added them as charter members, “The Craws” had already established themselves as the best African-American team in the United States.
In the second half of the 1933 season, both the Chicago American Giants and the Pittsburgh Crawfords claimed the pennant, but League President Greenlee awarded it to his Crawfords.
The 1934 season saw the Crawfords near the top in the standings, with Josh Gibson leading the league with 16 home runs and Paige winning 20 games.
Because Satchel Paige was playing for a North Dakota semi-professional team in 1935, he missed most of that season with the Crawfords. Despite the absence of such an excellent player, the “Craws” lived up to their promise by taking the first half title with a 266 lead and ending the season by defeating the New York Cubans. An important pitcher to mention here is left-hander Leroy Matlock, who won 18 games for the Craws.
The 1937 season was not so successful for the Crawfords, perhaps in part due to team defections. Specifically, Paige led several players, including Gibson and Bell, to play for a team in the Dominican Republic.
The Crawfords partly bounced back in 1938, but in addition to key players Bell, Gibson, and Paige playing for other teams, attendance dropped dramatically when white board members of the team refused to allow African-Americans to be hired as ticket takers and ushers at Greenlee Field. Gus responded by selling the Crawfords, demolishing Greenlee Field and moving the team to Toledo, Ohio for the 1939 season. After just one season in Toledo, however, the team folded.
Though 1960 was the last year for the Negro Leagues, Major League Baseball continues to honor their rich and lasting legacy. For example, when the Pittsburgh Pirates played on June 28, 2008; July 5th, 2008; June 12th, 2010; and August 21st, 2010, they honored the Crawfords by wearing their uniforms at each game.
If any Pittsburgh readers saw the Crawfords play, especially at Greenlee Field, I’d love to hear your memories and thoughts in Readers’ Forum.

Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Opening Night at A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability in Art

In May I wrote about the upcoming art exhibition, A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability in Art. July 9th was the grand opening, and I was excited to attend. I ended up going with a friend who is a visual artist. It was fun to have the art pieces described to me by someone with a background in art. The evening included a reading of an essay, an interpretive dance, a reading of a poem by Carmen Papalia, and exploring the many art pieces of the show.
During the evening I had the privilege of talking with four of the artists who are participating in the exhibition. David Kidd is a water color artist who showed me the brushes he works with. He used to be a line artist, but after brain surgery he had to switch to an art form that wouldn’t require as much pressure from his painting arm. Patricia Krishnamurthy is a visual artist who is losing her hearing. Her piece, one of my favorites, depicts a restaurant scene from the eyes of someone who can’t hear. At the bottom of the piece is a sound wave with sound words to show how exhausting loud crowded places can be for the deaf. It was fascinating to hear how losing her hearing has impacted her art. Joy Corcoran is a fabric artist who makes figures of people in transition. My favorite piece of hers is a blind goddess on a guide dragon. What an amazing image that conjured in my head. Imagine what the blind could do if we had guide dragons instead of dogs. Finally, I met with Carmen Papalia, a blind poet. His poem that was read at the end of the evening was a great glimpse into how humor can make a disability not seem as frustrating as some might think.
In between looking at the art pieces, we were entertained by a reading of an essay. There was also an interpretive dance by Yulia Arakelyan. The dance was about her journey from anger to acceptance of her paralysis. The dance was described to me by an audio describer. All of the presentations have audio description and ASL interpretation. It was a real treat to be able to enjoy an interpretive dance. Also, all of the art pieces are accompanied by descriptions in braille and large print. This is certainly the only art show I’ve ever attended where I felt like my needs were taken into consideration. It is my hope that more art shows outside of museums will be as inclusive as this show. If you’re in the Portland area before the end of the month, I highly recommend going to this exhibition.

Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Sir Paul, Here We Come!

We were just recently privileged to attend our first stadium concert given by the incomparable Sir Paul McCartney in all his energetic glory. I’m pleased to share this incredible experience.
An anticipated phone call was the signal alerting us that our friend was approaching our apartment in a cab, which we took to the famous No. 4 train that stops at the recently-built Yankee Stadium. I’ll proudly state that I am a sentimental (and often long-suffering) Mets fan from childhood, and I considered myself in enemy territory. For Sir Paul, though, I was willing to do the unthinkable.
The platform was crowded (probably with fans going to see the show). In true New Yorker fashion, they piled into the first train but we waited for the next. After only a few short stops, we were there. Hopping off, we snaked our way downstairs. I now know why they recommended we bring a sighted guide–Maria and I would have become hopelessly lost.
Upon arrival, the obligatory security guards were out in full force and our bags were searched. Thankfully, the crowd was blissfully calm and well-mannered. How wonderful to be among a multi-generational audience. My feet and heartbeat were skipping and we still had an hour and a half to go.
I’m certain that someone with a sense of humor designed the bizarre steps that led to our seats. They were wide apart and high and it was difficult getting a rhythm going. Ascending that treacherous configuration was also challenging. I did not care one bit as we were determined to have tee shirts commemorating the event. We are not yet jaded when it comes to souvenirs. I will admit that the price of the tees was relatively high.
A stand-shaking roar rose up among the audience as Sir Paul took the stage–and take it he did. His stamina and stage presence were phenomenal. I’m extremely grateful there were two huge screens flanking the stage or I would have had no clue where he was or what instrument he was playing at the moment. He boggled my mind as he effortlessly moved from base guitar, to acoustic guitar, to mandolin, to piano and back again. Performing many favorite hits, he had some snappy patter and fun audience participation bits. Highlights included the spectacular fireworks display during “Live and Let Die,” the intense light show that kept up with the lyrics, and a surprise appearance by the great Billy Joel who performed on a much-loved Beatle tune.
An important element of the show I did not count on was the loudness and shrillness of the sound system. I endured about half the concert before I smartly inserted homemade ear-plugs. Ah! Much better!
Do you have any concert stories you’d like to share?