by Shirley Taylor
The conference center in Edmonds was a busy place on the afternoon of April 14. It was the scene of an auction to benefit the Louis Braille School. Many WCB members attended for an afternoon of fun and to support the school. A few of us were asked to help with hands-on exhibits. Velma and I were there to demonstrate a working guide dog team. We shared space with volunteer Linda Krogh, who manned a table with braille writers, slates and a variety of other aids. With the help of volunteer Nancy Hopkins, we encouraged people to write their names in braille and to check out the other items.
Next to us there was a group of puppy raisers with their charges of various ages. The public was much more interested in the puppies than in a working guide dog. Velma’s feelings weren’t hurt, however. She seemed to think the puppies were much more interesting, too.
To our left sat Karen Johnson Hildie with a table of vision simulators. The Lighthouse for the Blind was also represented, and there was a special corner for children.
The auction was scheduled to begin at 1:00 P.M. but when I arrived at 12:30 there was already a line of people checking in and others looking over the silent auction items. There was a great variety in this category, everything from coffee and candy to artwork and home crafted items.
Shortly before 2:00 the silent auction closed and the live auction began. Those who had not already done so helped themselves from the snack table and found places at one of the round tables in the center of the room. Auctioneer duties fell to Washington Council of the Blind member Doug Hildie and Paul Rucker, who is director of alumni relations with the University of Washington Alumni Association. The two worked well together and did a great job of stirring interest in various offerings. Among other things, there were beautiful paintings by well known local artists, a ride with a police canine unit, and a tour of Edmonds on a fire truck. Four tickets to a Husky football game caused some very lively bidding.
Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist David Horsey donated two of his autographed books to be auctioned. During a break in the bidding, Mr. Horsey spoke about braille and old and new methods of transcribing. He asked for donations for the purchase of a tactile image enhancer and was successful in raising funds for this piece of equipment.
The afternoon ended with happy people settling finances and picking up their bargains. The first auction to benefit the Louis Braille School had been a success. We can look forward to bigger and better auctions in future years.
Reprinted with permission from Washington Council of the Blind NEWSLINE, June 2007 issue.
Shirley Taylor is the Vice-President of the King County Chapter, Washington Council of the Blind (WCB)