Seventy-five years ago a person who knew Braille began teaching it to others. A third person asked for instructions. They began meeting for lunch in a local park that was conveniently located for all of them. They called themselves the Three Blind Mice. The group grew in size. They started to meet in the Norton Gallery's pagoda. They formally organized in 1935 and moved to Howard Park.
The President around that time was a vaudevillian who; had lost his sight. He and the other members put on a minstrel show (remember those?) for schools and service organizations in order to raise money for a permanent structure. One family helped them get land. A lawyer took care of the legal paperwork in exchange for a small parcel of the land.
In the late 50's the Braille Club finally got their building. The Club Charter says the building was built for the blind and is run by them for their enjoyment. Today's members themselves do many of the improvements and redecorating.
There were approximately 25 blind members and 12 associates and volunteers. Some had achieved the "Honorary" status for outstanding service to the Braille Club. Most Wednesdays the members brown bagged it. The Club added the coffee, Ice cream, heaps of laughter and a good helping of friendship. Guests were immediately absorbed into the spirit of the groups. Music often flows through the air when John Dickson "tinkles the ivories."
Once a month members were treated to lunch by outside groups or their own treasury. Additionally, there was a chance of special entertainment, such as when four professional entertainers, all with connections to members of the Braille Club sang and delighted their friends
The Braille Club meetings were a good chance for many people to get out and socialize. The Red Cross helped by providing transportation. The members became so closely knit that they kept in contact the rest of the week. The term for this would be "support system" or "networking". We believe it is just a good old-fashioned case of friendship.
Today, much of the above has become tradition. The Braille Club still meets on Wednesday. Lunch is prepared every Wednesday with donations the week before. Occasionally we, too, have speakers and entertainment. Blind members play the piano. Palm Tran provides our transportation. However, most importantly, we are closely knit, keep in contact with each other during the rest of the week, and have a good old-fashioned case of friendship.