ALTONA Lorraine Rabideau LaFountain may be blind, but she most certainly has vision.
Born with a condition called opticatrophy, Lorraine has never physically been able to see more than lightness and darkness, yet she has always been able to use her other senses to see.
I see with my mind, my heart and my hands, she explained.
And whats even more amazing about Lorraine, at age 59, shes proud to be able to finally call herself a high school graduate.
Im a young 59, she laughed.
Its not about age, its about attitude.
Things were different when Lorraine was a child than they are now. In fact she was the very first blind child to attend school in Clinton County.
When she was very young it had been suggested that she go away to a special school for the blind located near Buffalo, N.Y., but because Lorraines family was very close-knit, being so far from home was not in any of their best interests.
It certainly was not because I did not have good parents, they (Leo and Dorothy Rabideau, of Mooers) were always wonderful to me. And I wanted to be home, with the people I loved.
Yet that longing to be able to read and write stayed with her. It remained until Carl LaFountain came into her life.
I really owe him so much, he was wonderful to me, she said.
He taught me Braille, he came right to my parents house to teach me.
At age 10, Lorraine sat in a classroom with all the other children, and had managed to complete both second and third grade in just one year. But it wasnt easy.
I was self-conscious because in fourth grade I was older and much taller than the others, she said.
And some of the homework was pretty tough too, she admitted.