Full, creative, and pleasurable

October 16, 2015 • Posted in baseball, blindness, book tour, careers/jobs for people who are blind, memoir writing, Mike Knezovich, parenting a child with special needs, public speaking, travel, Uncategorized, visiting schools, Whitney, Writing for Children by

It’s been a very happy week here in Chicago. Ours started last Friday, when Mike and I took an el to Schaller’s Pump on the South Side to watch a playoff game. Schaller’s Pump has been at 37th and Halsted since 1876, and from Mike’s description it hasn’t changed much since then.

The bar is cash-only, the bartender was our age or older, and when she recommended the ribeye sandwich we didn’t bother looking at the menu. She served it with a cup of bean soup and a draft beer. I felt like I was a world – and a lifetime – away, a college girl on a date with Mike.

The whole class celebrated Wanda's (on my right) 94th. Photo courtesy Darlene Schweitzer.

The whole class celebrated Wanda’s (on my right) 94th. Photo courtesy Darlene Schweitzer.

The next morning my Seeing Eye dog and I walked over to the Chicago Architecture Foundation for Must-Hear,a special 25th anniversary walking tour they put together for adults who are visually impaired or blind. Whitney and I headed directly from the tour to Chicago’s Goodman Theatre for their first-ever audio touch tour in honor of, you guessed it: the 25th anniversary of the ADA. The actors from the play Disgraced got on stage to describe their characters, their clothing and their hair styles to us before the play. Minutes later my friend Brad and I were blown away by their fantastic performances on stage. The week went on from there:

  • Monday my Lincoln Park Village Memoir II class started a new eight-week session, and that night Mike, Whitney and I took an Amtrak train to Milwaukee, where we enjoyed cheese curds and Miller beer at our hotel bar.
  • Tuesday Mike rented a zipcar in Milwaukee so we could visit our son Gus in Watertown, Wisconsin.
  • Back home Wednesday the “Me, Myself and I” class I lead in the Chicago Cultural Center celebrated writer Wanda Bridgeforth’s 94th birthday, and her fellow 94-year-old writer Hanna Bratman arranged for a ride from the assisted living center she’s living in to be there for the party, too.
  • By Thursday I’d flown to St. Paul, Minnesota to speak at Metropolitan State University (a disability studies class there uses my memoir Long Time, No See as a text book), and I enjoyed dinner that night with my great-niece Shelley Rae, a stylist known for her skills with coloring hair. Shelley regularly travels to NYC and L.A. to teach hair-coloring classes but had spent most of her Thursday afternoon at her salon in Minneapolis doing a client’s hair in a “rainbow sort of swirl thing.”
  • This morning I woke up in my St. Paul hotel room and had the staff take care of Whitney while I swam laps – the hotel adjoins the oo la la St. Paul Athletic Club – before taking a cab to the Minneapolis airport for my flight home.

You know, one of my favorite reviews of my children’s book was one from Booklist editor Donna Seaman, who pointed out how Safe & Sound not only shows young readers how remarkable Seeing Eye Dogs are, “but also how a person without sight can live a full, creative, and pleasurable life.” Amen! And now, for a day of rest.

Lois Baron On October 16, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Brava! Life is good! Lois

bethfinke On October 16, 2015 at 10:19 pm



Brad On October 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

A splendid week for you, Beth. And may I add we were also blown away by the play, DISGRACED. Welcome back.

bethfinke On October 16, 2015 at 10:21 pm

You know, I may add the name of the play to the post now –thanks for the heads up, Brad.


Barbara Timberlake On October 16, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Thanks for sharing your week along with your joy of life. I am smiling from ear to ear

Hugs and blessings

bethfinke On October 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

Must say, I felt yor blessings all the way “up north” in St. paul, Barbara. So many, many kind people looking out for Whitney and me on our trip — they left * me* smiling ear to ear, too!


Janet On October 16, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Oh my gosh! I’m tired from just reading all of this!! What a full week! Looking forward to hearing all about it, whenever you have time! Right this second, we are at doctors office waiting for, eyebrows up, some good results. Floey’s already happy because they have Disney channel on in the waiting room.

bethfinke On October 17, 2015 at 11:45 am

Am responding to this comment of yours a day later, when we know Floey got very good results from her medical tests — that’s the best news of all, and just adds one more great thing to celebrate during this happy week. If I hadn’t dedicated this day to resting, I’d be Off to do the dance of joy…

Carol On October 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Hi, I do not know which is correct. Either the world celebrates you or you celebrate the world. Probably both. You are an inspiration to all of us! Carol

bethfinke On October 17, 2015 at 11:40 am

Aw, shucks. Thanks, Carol.


Monna Ray On October 17, 2015 at 10:41 am

Yes, a day of rest!


bethfinke On October 17, 2015 at 11:41 am



Judy Ciambotti On October 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Beth I love reading the blog. Really want to hang out with you and Mike again. Whenever I read the blog it makes me miss you guys more. Judy

bethfinke On October 18, 2015 at 10:26 am

Oh, Judy, was a sweet note. We miss you guys, too! I’m coming to Urbana November 17 to do a talk — Mike may come along, too. I’ll try phoning you this afternoon and let you know that, you know, just in case you don’t follow all these comment threads!


bethfinke On October 18, 2015 at 9:00 am

My secret? I go to bed early…!


bethfinke On October 18, 2015 at 10:50 am

…and I drink wayyyyyyyyyyyyy too much coffee, too. Ask my sisters: I make them crazy!


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