"I play in the
water and pick up shells. I feel them with my feet while I'm wading,"
says Jacel, age 90. Every summer her family takes her to the beach
along the Gulf Coast of Texas where she gathers seashells. Her total
blindness isn't a total handicap.
a good life yet. I enjoy my days. They are filled up," says Jacel
(pronounced Jay'-cel), who still lives independently in her home.
Jacel was born
in 1910, in Waco, Texas. When she was seventeen years old, a doctor
told her that she would be blind within a year, most likely due
to aftereffects from a case of measles. The prognosis caused her
to break off her engagement to her fiancé. However, he persisted
and they eventually married.
Her last of
three children was completing high school when she became almost
completely blind. How is it she kept her eyesight for so many years
defying the doctor's one-year prediction?
"I did a lot
of praying all those years. I think the Lord helped me through,"
she reflects. "I've had the Spirit of the Lord all my life. Ever
since I can remember, God has been with me," she reflects.
When her eyesight
deteriorated at age 48, she still had enough vision to distinguish
large objects and colors. After she and her husband James retired
to Palestine, Texas, they traveled into Canada and Mexico and places
in-between. She climbed mountains and toured Carlsbad Caverns.
"I kept up
with him. He'd tell me what things looked like; then I could 'see
When her husband
became too ill to drive, undaunted, she walked to the neighborhood
grocery store by following the curb. Sometimes she would ride a
bicycle with a basket to carry her purchases.
became total about 15 years ago, several years after her husband
died. She sees nothing but black. To get her groceries, she began
using TRAX Transportation Service, funded by state and federal moneys,
private donations, and optional fares for passengers over age 60.
A few years
ago, she had a heart attack and in the hospital a social worker
told her that the could get housekeeping help through an organization
funded by the state of Texas. This service sends a woman to do housekeeping,
such as cooking, vacuuming, and laundry, for two hours each day
during the week.
however, Jacel takes care of herself entirely, cooking her own food
in the microwave or preparing a simple stovetop meal like soup.
She makes her morning coffee and juice.
"I know all
my furniture. If I just touch something, I know where I am in the
house. I know where everything is in the kitchen and I place items
into the refrigerator so that I remember just where they are when
I need them."
include a talking clock and a talking wristwatch, and her telephone
speed dial is set with numbers of relatives and emergency help.
Remarkably, she cuts her own shoulder-length hair.
Jacel is a voracious