27 Nov 2010, 8:18am
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Hold That Baby

Hold That Baby

“You hold that baby too much,” a young mother recently told me.
Excuse me, Chickie, I thought biting my tongue, but it reminded me that, during one of the Natural Childbirth Classes I attended three years ago, the training nurse showed us a device breast feeding mothers were supposed to wear. The baby could lay on this padded “shelf” which was strapped to your neck and waist. The baby nursed himself while you had both hands basically free to do something else.
Well, I don’t know what else; maybe get their e-mail or chat on their cell phone while they smoked a mentholated cigarette and sipped artificially flavored coffee!
I’m not a nursing mother, but I like to hug my baby close as I hold his Playtex Nurser. I can’t see his little face, yet I look at him and make faces and sing and talk to him and sometimes even let my emotional tears of love bathe his face.
I can feel his little hand pat the bottle, play with my fingers and tightly grip my pinky. As he drifts off to sleep in my arms, he relaxes his grip and he stops sucking.
I am thrilled that he trusts me to keep him safe while he sleeps. I gently maneuver him up-right against my chest to let a whisper of milky air slip past his tiny rosebud lips and I resist plopping him immediately into his crib. I cherish the feel of his plump, limp sleeping body held against mine. I rub his warm, fuzzy little head and breathe a prayer of thanks for this
privilege.
Oh Dear Gussie! If I were holding my baby too much for these past six-months, he wouldn’t be so adept at rolling from front to back and back to front; he wouldn’t be exploring his toes the way he does; and he wouldn’t know how to lift his belly off the blanket and be ready to crawl any day now.
Do these young mothers have any appreciation of what a precious gift little babies are? The public schools seem to place a lot of emphasis on “Sex Education” where all the mechanics of sexual inter-course, biological reproduction and growth are taught. Can they, or is it even the schools place, to attempt to teach the emotional impact that wanted or unwanted
children has on themselves and society? Our churches seem to over-look immorality by saying we must love the sinner, not the sin, instead of holding people to a higher goal. The young parents of today, if they are even married, seem to be so busy with their dual-incomes and purchases of cars and great sound systems that they treat babies like items to be put in cold
storage until they (the parents) are ready for them.
Perhaps this is why we need grandparents who have weathered many trials and tribulations during their multiple decades; who have melded textbook education with real life experiences (reality); and who have acquired the patience and wisdom to see a bigger picture. It takes hind-sight to realize how relatively short an amount of time we have our children.
There is a song that says: Where are you going, my little one, my all. Turn around and they’re small. Turn around and they’re tall. Turn around and they’re not there at all.
When I was a young sighted mother, I thought my three children would be mine forever. Now, as a blind grandmother raising two more babies, I know these children are just on loan.
The young mother who told me I held my baby too much probably didn’t know she paid me quite a compliment when she exclaimed with Exasperation, “How can you always put a screaming baby to sleep so easily?”
It really isn’t any deep, dark secret, Chickie, I thought smiling like Whistler’s mother. You just hold that baby in your arms and let him feel your heart beat with love.
(Copyright 2001, 2010 by Kate Chamberlin. All rights reserved. 2/15/2001 Wayne County STAR)

12 Nov 2010, 1:38pm
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Veteran Russell Bailey

Patriotic Cornucopia: Tribute to A Veteran:
Russell Bailey

Russell Bailey is one high?octane octogenarian. He draws on
his many former years as a teacher and Guidance Counselor in
North Rose, when he relates the challenges he faced as a Prisoner
of War during WWII. The 8th Graders at Red Creek Central know,
first hand, what a dynamic speaker he is, because Russell Bailey
has been sharing his story with each class for the past ten
years.
His retirement from North Rose 25?years ago has seen him
remain active in the WCTA Credit Union as a Supervisor, as well
as many other activities. He devotes much of his time during the
growing season to his large flower gardens and as a welcomed
guest lecturer.
Russell was a PFC with the 5th Army’s 36th Infantry Division
in Italy for about two months when they crossed the river to
invade France in August of 1944. He was a Browning Automatic
Rifle (BAR) carrier, when he was captured and detained for nine
months. As most military men will tell you: the BAR is like a
machine gun, so when the enemy identifies you, you’re their prime

target; hence, BAR carriers usually have short lives.
“April 29, 1945. It was a morning just like any other
morning in southern Germany,” Russell Bailey told the members of the Col. Wm. Prescott Chapter, N.S.D.A.R.
“The weather was mild. We sat
outside the barracks, looking around as we had done so many
mornings. Looking at the barbed wire that encircled the
compound; and the regular German guards, the old men, the
Wehrmacht, who walked all around the perimeter of the camp. We
thought about food, because it was constantly on our minds ? the
lack of it.
Then, it seemed as if something was different. It wasn’t
quite like all the other mornings. The guards that walked around
the camp seemed agitated for some reason. As if they were
expecting something. And then, off in the distance, we heard
small arms fire. Rifle fire which was Very, very unusual.
This camp is located in southern Germany, near Munich in a
place called Moosburg.
That morning, when we started hearing the small arms fire,
we heard the German guard holler at us: Your General Patton is
here. All is over.
We looked up. We weren’t sure. We’d heard so much talking
over the last months, we didn’t know what to believe. I looked
over the center of the stalag, the camp to where there was a
great tower. On the top of that tower was a flag. That flag was
the German swastika. Every morning when we got up, we always saw

the German swastika flying from the tower over this camp. It was
no different this morning.
As I looked over in that direction, one of the greatest
events in my life occurred. Slowly, hesitatingly, down came the
German zwastika. In its place, more quickly, rose the American
flag. We had been liberated!”
Russell Bailey has lived to tell the tale. He’s even
eligible to join the Sons of the American Revolution (S.A.R.)s!
(NOTE: This is an excerpt from Mr. Bailey’s talk to the Col. Wm. Prescott Chapter, N.S.D.A.R. On June 15, 2005.)
Column To: Ashleah Reitz, Editor,
11/09/2005 Wayne County STAR Newspaper
Cornucopia
by Kate Chamberlin
986-1267 E-mail: KATHRYNGC@JUNO.COM
Copyright 8 2005 by Kate Chamberlin

Tribute to A Veteran:
Russell Bailey

Russell Bailey is one high?octane octogenarian. He draws on
his many former years as a teacher and Guidance Counselor in
North Rose, when he relates the challenges he faced as a Prisoner
of War during WWII. The 8th Graders at Red Creek Central know,
first hand, what a dynamic speaker he is, because Russell Bailey
has been sharing his story with each class for the past ten
years.
His retirement from North Rose 25?years ago has seen him
remain active in the WCTA Credit Union as a Supervisor, as well
as many other activities. He devotes much of his time during the
growing season to his large flower gardens and as a welcomed
guest lecturer.
Russell was a PFC with the 5th Army’s 36th Infantry Division
in Italy for about two months when they crossed the river to
invade France in August of 1944. He was a Browning Automatic
Rifle (BAR) carrier, when he was captured and detained for nine
months. As most military men will tell you: the BAR is like a
machine gun, so when the enemy identifies you, you’re their prime

target; hence, BAR carriers usually have short lives.
“April 29, 1945. It was a morning just like any other
morning in southern Germany,” Russell Bailey told the members of the Col. Wm. Prescott Chapter, N.S.D.A.R.
“The weather was mild. We sat
outside the barracks, looking around as we had done so many
mornings. Looking at the barbed wire that encircled the
compound; and the regular German guards, the old men, the
Wehrmacht, who walked all around the perimeter of the camp. We
thought about food, because it was constantly on our minds ? the
lack of it.
Then, it seemed as if something was different. It wasn’t
quite like all the other mornings. The guards that walked around
the camp seemed agitated for some reason. As if they were
expecting something. And then, off in the distance, we heard
small arms fire. Rifle fire which was Very, very unusual.
This camp is located in southern Germany, near Munich in a
place called Moosburg.
That morning, when we started hearing the small arms fire,
we heard the German guard holler at us: Your General Patton is
here. All is over.
We looked up. We weren’t sure. We’d heard so much talking
over the last months, we didn’t know what to believe. I looked
over the center of the stalag, the camp to where there was a
great tower. On the top of that tower was a flag. That flag was
the German swastika. Every morning when we got up, we always saw

the German swastika flying from the tower over this camp. It was
no different this morning.
As I looked over in that direction, one of the greatest
events in my life occurred. Slowly, hesitatingly, down came the
German zwastika. In its place, more quickly, rose the American
flag. We had been liberated!”
Russell Bailey has lived to tell the tale. He’s even
eligible to join the Sons of the American Revolution (S.A.R.)s!
(NOTE: This is an excerpt from Mr. Bailey’s talk to the Col. Wm. Prescott Chapter, N.S.D.A.R. On June 15, 2005.)
Copyright 2005, 2010 by Kate Chamberlin. All Rights Reserved.

8 Nov 2010, 4:57pm
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Voting 2010

Patriotic Cornucopia: Voting 2010
I have voted in the November elections since I was of legal age to do so. For the past quarter of a century, I have not had the privilege of the “secret ballot”. I am totally blind.
Usually, my husband will come in the booth with me and, presumably, mark the ballot as I direct him to do. While I do trust him, it is a far cry from a secret ballot. I was excited to find accessible voting machines were being investigated.
There have been a lot of questions about new voting equipment required to meet the regulations under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The New York State Legislature has passed (2006) legislation that provides the framework for what type of voting equipment we will be using.
On January 5, 2006, I attended a demonstration of several machines in Minot Hall on the campus of the Henrietta Dome Fair and Expo Center, Monroe County. I found Liberty Vote” manufactured by Liberty Election Systems, Albany, NY ( to be the easiest for me to use, keeping in mind that I am just blind, not otherwise impaired.
Two years ago, I wasn’t even told that the handicap accessible voting machine was available until I thought of asking about it after my husband had talked me through the lever machine.
A year ago, I asked about the accessible voting machine and was told it would take too long to train me to use it. I suspect that meant no one was willing to make the time to explain it to me or they didn’t understand it yet either.
This year, I contacted my counselor at the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) and asked how blind folks were supposed to vote on the now mandated paper/pen ballot. I received: “Guide for Blind or Visually Impaired Voters using the ImageCast Ballot Marking Device”; Compiled by Susan Cohen of Voting Access Solutions, with the assistance of Lisa Hoffman and Dominion Voting. I read the guidelines and quick reference list several times and confidently followed my guide dog into our polling place at the fire hall.
After signing my own name on the registration book, I requested the handicap accessible voting machine. The poll site worker (PSW) explained how it would take about 20-minutes to fill-out the ballot (The Dominion Guidelines said it might take an hour). Was I sure I wanted to take the time to do that. I said yes.
I sat in the designated chair as an approximately 6”x6” box was put in my lap. I requested the monitor be turned off, so I’d have privacy as I voted. The PSW did not know how to do this, so a plastic cover was placed over the monitor; nor did the PSW know how to get the audio started. After 20-minutes or more and several phone calls into the County Election Board, the monitor was turned off and I heard audio instructions. I knew to firmly push the center donut of the arrow keys or select key and wait for the delayed voice to say its piece. I was voting by secret ballot after 25-years !
It took about 40-minutes to actually go through the complete ballot and then, I proudly pushed “print”.
The machine said I needed to ask assistance from the PSW, so I did. One PSW pulled the allegedly printed ballot out from my hand and quickly inserted it into the privacy sleeve (folder) that had been placed on top of the console. I thought the machine meant something didn’t go correctly, but the other PSW said I’d need assistance to get over to where the machine would suck in my ballot to officially scan and tally my votes.
The PSW picked up my folder, so I rose out of my chair, smashing my nose and upper lip into the console. It added injury to insult.
Several PSWs attempted to assist me in guiding the sleeve and ballot into the slot, but they over corrected each other and I asked them to let go; let me do it myself. The machine promptly sucked in my ballot and just as promptly spit it back out. We attempted to do this several times, several ways. During another phone call to the County, my husband and the PSW looked at my printed ballot only to discover that the “page two, Proposition” did not print out. So much for a secret ballot. Time lapsed: one hour 35-minutes. By this time, I was completely mortified, with a fat lip to boot.
Apparently, the County then advised us to chuck the wasted ballot into the locked and secure “damaged ballot” bag and start again with a fresh paper ballot. I opted to not use the handicap accessible machine again.
Before we could pick up a new ballot, my husband had to sign an oath that he’d faithfully fill-in my ballot as I direct him. Hello, excuse me. Not once during the previous quarter of a century that he has assisted me in voting, has he ever had to sign an oath of faithfulness; well, not unless you count our marriage vows over 40 years ago!.
He filled-in the paper ballot with the special pen, inserted the ballot, and we were out of there. Time elapsed: 5 minutes.
By the time we returned to our car, I was sobbing. I’ve never had a more traumatic voting situation except when I tried to vote alone.
Several years ago, our polling site was changed to the Freewill Elementary School. I thought that was great, because as I was allowed to ride the school bus each Tuesday to be a volunteer mentor and tutor, I wouldn’t have to inconvenience anyone to take me voting. My husband could vote on his way into work and not be late. I could vote when I got to school.

As I approached the registration/sign-in table, I asked if someone could assist me. It temporarily threw them into a tizzy. Who was legally allowed to assist this blind lady vote? After some discussion, one representative from the Republican Party and one representative from the Democratic Party accompanied me into the booth -along with my guide dog.
I’m not sure what we would have done if there’d been representatives from the Conservative Party, Green Peace Party, Socialist Party, Liberal Party, etc. I don’t think we would have all fit into the booth! Can’t you just picture all those human and canine legs sticking down from the voting machine curtain?
I found the top line of levers (Yes, yes, I’m thankful that I could at least reach up that tall.) and requested that, as I put my finger on the little lever, one of them tell me which candidate I was on. They discussed whether or not they should alternate reading or should one read the whole line, then the other would read the next whole line. I decided to solve their dilemma by just voting one straight line; some thing I would not ordinarily have done. I like to vote individuals, rather than straight party. Later, I found out that they had neglected to direct me to the “propositions”.
On the one hand, I should have been more assertive and asked if there were more items on the whole ballot, but I was embarrassed and just wanted to get out of there. One of them was triumphant; the other irritated. It was not a secret ballot by any stretch of the imagination.
The next year I received an Absentee Ballot with a note stating that they noticed I was having difficulty voting. I could have put the ballot on my computer’s optical scanner and read all the information, but then how would I be able to find the correct little box for my “X”? Once scanned into my computer, I could mark my choice and print it out, however, then it becomes a facsimile and a bit illegal to mail in! If I had someone assist me to put my “X” on my selection, it is no longer a secret ballot.
Cornucopia’s opinion is that one machine could not possibly be able to meet all the needs of all the people with handicapping conditions, why not develop a system where﷓by one could vote from their home computer or touch﷓pad telephone using security PINs or secure electronic registration methods? Each functioning person with a handicapping condition already has adaptive equipment for his/her needs; others can probably use a telephone; no transportation barriers; no use of fossil fuels; no trees felled for paper; and complete confidentiality. It might even cost a whole lot less.
Oh, Dear Gussy, some other year, some other election and maybe, just maybe, I will be able to exercise the privilege of casting my secret ballot.
Copyright © 2010 by Kate Chamberlin. All Rights Reserved.
In Hind-sight:
1. The guidelines that were e-mailed to me were invaluable. I felt as if I’d been better trained than the poll workers. Perhaps an explanation of the location of the “monitor off”, “audio on”, and “machine on” , and “zoom” could be added to the guidelines, but it sounded like these features were on the side away from where I sat. If I knew that for sure, I could have directed the PSW where to go.
2. Knowing that after the chosen button or arrow was selected, the voice would be delayed was very helpful…I just waited.
3. The little box with the keys on it kept slipping off my lap. Perhaps one of those trays with a non-skid “pillow” on the bottom would prevent slipping and give the box a firmer base.
4. Occasionally, the noise in the polling room got so loud, I had to push the ear-piece tightly to my ear, in order for me to hear the voting machine’s voice. I had it turned up and I’m not hard of hearing. It was the room noise that was the problem. Perhaps some kind of sound curtain, “study carrel” or “ear muff” type of head set could be used.
5. I am used to using a talking computer and accustomed to listening to synthesized speech, so perhaps the PSW should have listened to me when I tried to tell them I thought the message indicated there was a printer problem. They assumed it meant they were to take me over to the scanner. If there is a “page 2”, do you have to take out the paper ballot and turn it around so it prints on the other side?
Sue Cohen: No, the machine will do it all.
6. It was not clear how to actually get the ballot privately into the privacy sleeve. Does the ballot come out print side up or down?
Sue Cohen: The privacy sleeve should have been velcroed so the printer would put the ballot directly into the privacy sleeve.
7. I have been voting in my district for 38 years, 25 of them as a blind person. I’ve had a newspaper column for 15 years and I have never been silent about feeling disenfranchised from being able to vote by secret ballot. Wayne County has chosen to ignore me.
Sue Cohen: …Trust me-I am taking this very seriously. I will analyze your testimonial and bring these issues to the proper people.
I encourage you not to give up on the new machines-but rather help me to get good pollworker training in Wayne County. I spoke to the election commissioners in Wayne county about the pollworker training I provide in April-and they basically said that no one uses the BMD so why should they train their pollworkers.

Over-all, I feel the BMD I used was rather good and having used it once, shall be better able to do it next time. The poll workers were well intended, polite, and concerned. They just weren’t well trained in how to use this technology.
Psw: I hadn’t touched the machine in over 1-1/2 years, since they came out. Our meetings deal more with policy changes. I’d never actually gone through the entire process by myself, much less with a blind person. I was the only one in the 2 districts voting at the fire hall that used the BMD.

Will I ever vote again? You bet your bippy. I’ll be there!
p