Vera talks about how she achieved her mobility training

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 16th September 2011 by Liam Physick

Vera discusses how she overcame her blindness to pass a mobility training test on 2nd February 1979. After her father’s death, one of Vera’s cousins encouraged her to attend Christopher Grange day centre, a visual impairment charity based in West Derby, where she learned first basic living skills and then mobility. On the day she passed her test, she had to walk to the centre and back again unaided. On the next working day, she again walked to the centre, where the staff had been worried because they had not been notified that she had passed her test!

Interviewee: Vera

Interviewee Gender: Female

Interview Transcript

Vera: I did my mobility training, in 1979 . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . which I did in the snow . . .

Ian: Right.

Vera: . . . I was passed that, I passed that on 2nd February, and, obviously, the, the world is me oyster, then, wasn’t it! (laughs)

Ian: Yeah. At 39!

Vera: Yeah.

Ian: That’s what I’ve remember, when I first met you, that’s, you know, like, it’s really, it’s a remarkable story, isn’t it, you know, like, you know, it’s almost like, you know, your life began again at 39, isn’t . . . ?

Vera: Well, I say, well, the saying is, they, I don’t know whether they still say it now, but they used to say, “Life begins at 40”, and I, I used to say, “Mine was a little premature because it began when I was 19, when I was 39, yeah.

Ian: So what things did, what things did you do for the first time, then, can, you, you know, can you just talk a little bit more about that, cos it is a, an amazing story? How did you life change at 39?

Vera: Well, you see, I lost me dad in 1977 . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . the last day of the month, the year, New Year’s Eve, obviously I was was on me, when I say on my own, I had, I was lucky enough to have cousins who lived in front of the maisonettes where I was, where I . . . and she encouraged me to go and get help, if it was only to go to a day centre for to get away from the family for an hour or two, as though . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . I say, once or twice of week. But we didn’t bargain for what I got, so obviously, the, in due course, I found me way, you know, seeing the social services come to see me and such. I went to Christopher Grange and I was there from nineteen seven . . . I started 1978 . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . would it be . . . yeah . . . oh, I don’t know now, I’m getting all mixed up . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . with me dates. I know . . .

Ian: And Christopher Grange, for listeners, when they hear this, is a, it’s a charity that helps people, doesn’t it, with, with visual impairments, or, and/or who are blind in, in West Derby.

Vera: Or attend a day centre . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . to learn to be independent.

Ian: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Vera: I went there, and I went to learn to look after the home, like, do you, what you do for yourself, a little bit of cooking, basic cooking . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . and I did, to, you know, cleaning, do the, use the Hoover, do the washing and ironing . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . and, of course, the main thing was mobility . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . (in a very enthusiastic voice) which was great . . . !

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: Oh, yes!

Ian: Fantastic, so you got out. Did you ever use this station?

Vera: Not to go, no, not on me own, I’ve never used the, the, the . . . I’m not really a train . . .

Michael: We’ve started now, though, in the last few months we’ve been going to see Vera’s (indecipherable) in Manchester from here . . .

Ian: Right.

Michael: . . . cos it’s so much easier . . .

Vera: Or coming back! (laughing)

Michael: Came back from here?

Vera: Yes, only the other night . . .

Michael: On the Tuesday?

Vera: . . . yeah.

Michael: Was it your first time from, on the train from here?

Vera: We didn’t go, to come off . . .

Michael: No?

Vera: . . . no, we come off here, the other . . .

Michael: The other week?

Vera: . . . a while back, didn’t we?

Michael: Yeah.

Vera: What I’m really, once, I can remember the day I cast my passed my mobility . . .

Ian: Yeah

Vera: . . . and it was marvellous. I came, they set you off, you see, they set me off on, in the morning time, to go from home to Christopher Grange . . .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . I had to go and get the bus on Edge Lane, the 40 bus, and it would take me round to Calvary Church, that’s where I had to get off, and walk round a little sub-road and, and then along, and not along Ewan’s Way, into the centre.

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: I was there then for the morning and had lunch, and after lunch, they set me off again, they had to do it the other way around, they had, it was slightly different, to get to the bus stop, but I got there, and the next time I’d see the, cos the mobility officer set me off at home as well, so, but, going home, and he said to me, he said, went, “Next time I see you, we’ll be outside your door”, sort of thing. Well, obviously, I lived up on the top of me, with the maisonette, I was on, we were on, he went up one side of the stairs and I went up the other and we met at the front door .  . .

Ian: Great.

Vera: . . . he seen me coming, you see! (laughs) And I invited him, and we had a cup of tea, made a cup of coffee or something, and he said, “Well, you go”, sort of thing, so I says, oooh, I says, “Can I go to the centre on, on Monday”, cos this was on Friday, on the Friday, he said, “Yes”, I says, “Well, what about”, cos the social services ambulance used to take me, I says, “What about Cath?”, “Oh, that’s all right,” he said, “I’ll do that”. Well, I couldn’t wait for, til Monday, but anyway, I did do other things, I rang me cousin to tell her, that ordered that, that I’d passed, of course, by then, it wasn’t worth going anywhere that, that, then, so on the Saturday, Saturday, I did a few little chores what I had to do in me own house, and after me bit of lunch, I went out, and I walked, along Chatty, cross Wavertree Road, up Wavertree Road, and turned into, you know, Marmaduke Street, there . .  .

Ian: Yeah.

Vera: . . . I walked so far along, I didn’t go right to the end because I thought, “No, that’s enough”, turned back, and come back again . . .

Ian: Great

Vera: . . . and that was marvellous.

Ian: Yeah, it’s fantastic.

Vera: Of course, on the Monday morning, I was up early (sounds excited), and of course, Vera was out! And went to the day centre, and when I got there (laughs), when I got there, and the social service, you know, the, the women who, who drive it, they said, they’d been hooting their horn for me to . . . (laughs) and I’d already gone! (Ian laughs) They hadn’t been told! But it was, oh, yeah, it was, it was marvellous.

Ian: That’s a great story.

Tagged under: edge hill station, wavertree road, chatsworth street, buses, edge lane, chatsworth street maisonettes, christopher grange day centre, calvary church, west derby, mobility training

Categorised under: Social Life

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