by Teddie-Joy Remhild

Little did I know, as I was growing up in a traditional era, that the second half of my life would be the most surprising, exciting and successful.

I made all the traditional choices as a female growing up in the '40s and '50s. I married, had three children, divorced, struggled and survived. During those challenging times, I learned of my vision loss caused by Stargardt's disease and I then became a traditional blind female employee, occupation medical transcriber, which lasted for 9 years.

Somewhere around the age of 48, I took some time to rest and regroup. By then I was involved in a long-term relationship and could be home, relax and maybe take a couple of classes at the community college.

Those classes were the nudge which slowly, but surely, motivated me to earn a college degree. At the age of 54, I earned a bachelor of science in gerontology from the University of Southern California. That was May 1987, and the years since have been the most surprising, exciting and adventurous of all my 76 years. I love the unpredictability of life and, so far, I am still seizing opportunities and marveling at this unexpected journey.

I have worked for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks as a recreation director, for an independent living center in the Client Assistance Program for clients of the Department of Rehabilitation, a CAP trainer for Protection and Advocacy Systems in Washington, D.C., and a community outreach trainer and advocate for the Los Angeles County Public Authority for People with Disabilities in need of in home assistance. I am now semi-retired from that 9-year position and working as an independent consultant on work incentive programs, doing statewide trainings and presentations for agencies and consumers of services.

I believe in the value of work and of contributing back to the community. I believe in the value of turning life experiences into a career and I believe that I have been blessed to be able to do all this. I will continue to follow these beliefs and this remarkable journey as long as the spirit allows.

I realize that I am no longer a woman of tradition and that is sometimes a solitary perspective, but it is, finally, the person I really am. I am Teddie-Joy Remhild, a blind 76-year-old woman who loves life and surprises, and is hoping to discover what is around the next corner. I delightedly declare, "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over!!"

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