Joe Remembers

Before Bliss

It was bad.  I was a bad kid, I think.  I bit myself.  I cried when I had to go home on weekends. During the week, I stayed with my Aunt Irene before she got blind. She had limited vision when I was young. I liked being there with my cousins, Leslie and Garry. We enjoyed watching TV together, especially seeing the Monkees and Batman. 

I felt like a yoyo, going back and forth. At that age (before I was 6) I was wondering why I had to keep coming and going. I didn’t understand at that age that my mother had to work. I thought that I was very dumb. I thought at first that she was giving me away. I wondered at that age, why I was so dumb.

Learning Bliss

When I was in the Bliss class at OCCC beginning  in 1972-1973 school year, my best friend was Greg Keefe. I stayed over at his place and we took turns staying over at each other’s place.  Our mothers were friends.

Joe and Greg in 1973 in the first Bliss Class

Bliss was my mouth to talk. I remember “boy” and ‘girl”, and “mom” and “dad”symbols. I was shy so I didn’t talk to the other kids.

I had a crush on Sherri who was in Miss Norman’s class. Greg did too! Sherri had black hair and she played with dolls. 

Sherri Joe Greg

I knew Kevin and David  (Shirley’s two sons). We saw them playing outside when Greg’s mom drove past Shirley’s house. Mrs. Keefe stopped at Shirley’s house 4 times. She beeped her car horn. 

I remember. Scott Bond. He was the same as me,  shy.  Here’s what Scott, Greg and I looked like in Shirley’s book “Symbol Secrets”.

Greg, Joe and Scott as they appeared in “Symbol Secrets”

I also remember Mrs. Snetsinger and Mrs Barlow.

Mary Snetsinger and Judy Barlow, Bliss teachers at OCCC in 1973

There is another teacher I remember, Mrs. Bederman.  She used to tease me. She gave us grape juice on Jewish holiday. I don’t have a picture of her.

There is more to come….. about my move to Erin Oak Children’s Treatment Centre.

Joe Jessop will share more of his memories in the next episode.

Jorge’s Book

On December 6, 2020, Jorge Almeida will be 50 years of age!  I am very happy to celebrate his birthday by giving you the link to his life story, published by the Inclusive Design Institute,  OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) University!

I met Jorge many years ago when I used to visit Computer Wise in Ottawa and learned about all the great work being accomplished there by several Bliss alumni and their colleagues. You will be able to read about Jorge’s experiences at Computer Wise in the “Jobs’ section of his book. I hope you enjoy Jorge’s story. He shares his many interesting ideas, experiences, and dreams. He tells about his girlfriend Chantal Bedard whom many of us knew in our Ontario Bliss community. You can learn about how Jorge uses his left foot to control five switches that work his electric wheelchair and his Liberator computer. If you wish to send your greetings to Jorge or ask a question, leave a comment and Jorge will see it.

Here is the link to Jorge’s book:

Happy reading!