On Wednesday, October 8, 2014, Chris and I rode the commuter train in from Elburn, Illinois, to the Ogilvie train station, located in downtown Chicago. We arrived at around 7:45 PM. From there we took a cab. The cab was fairly new and had only a few thousand miles on it. The driver was very proud of his new, fuel efficient vehicle. The driver told us that he was going to be starting his own business at some point in his homeland of India. With all of his talking, he drove past the hotel where we were to stay for that night, the Inn at Lincoln Park in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago. He only drove past it by perhaps two blocks.
When Chris and I walk, instead of me holding her elbow, as I do with most people, Chris and I walk hand-in-hand. As we walked towards the hotel it was evident that Chris was being pulled away from me by some unknown force. Oh no. The force that was pulling Chris away was a shoe store with women’s shoes in the window. Fortunately, the shoe store was closed.
When Chris and I got to the hotel, we found that it was an older building, so the elevator was very small (think two adults, tight fit). The room was kind of small also, but actually quite nice. For me, this was a lot of fun to have Chris on one of my adventures away from home.
Thursday, October 9, 2014, Chris and I got up early for a nice casual start to the morning. We went downstairs in plenty of time for Amy Kozyra from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to pick us up. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the continental breakfast had already been opened. When Amy picked us up she had her boyfriend in the car with her. I forget his name but he was a very pleasant young man. From there we went to the WGN studios. I remember I was very young when it was built. The WGN studios are not very far from where I grew up.
Inside WGN TV we met Demetrius Ivory in the ‘green room’. He offered to give us a tour and led us into the studio where they were doing the morning news live. Demetrius is the man who would be interviewing me. He is the 4 to 6 am weather man. Once inside the studio we patiently waited for an opportunity to have pictures taken of us behind the news anchors desk. I did not know this was going to happen, but it certainly was a fun opportunity.
While I stood inside the studio, the woman who does the traffic report, Erin McElory, came over and shook my hand. As often times happens, in situations like this, I’m not quite sure what’s going on. I really didn’t realize who she was, I just did what you’re supposed to do, shake hands. Later, I learned who she was. What a nice thing for someone like her to do. Pat Tomasulo, the sports anchor, also was able to leave the desk to shake my hand. The others were behind the anchor desk doing the live show.
After we took pictures with the WGN morning news team, Chris, Amy, Demetrius, and the cameraman (Eric/Erik) and I headed over to a park close to the WGN studios. This park is near the north branch of the Chicago River. This is one of the places I used to play as a child, maybe in my early teens.
While we were waiting for the cameraman to get set up, there was a smell like a skunk. Demetrius mentioned the smell as being like a skunk, then said something about students. I really didn’t realize what was going on and could not understand why he would make the comparison between students and skunks. It turns out the skunk-like smell was coming from students going to Lane Technical High School. They were smoking marijuana in the park. There was a group of probably 10 to 12 of them, all of them with book bags.
Once the cameraman was set up, Demetrius began the interview at various locations in the park. One of them was on a cold concrete bench. He and the cameraman decided that I should wear my light jacket to cover up the words ‘Blind Runner’ on my Cystic Fibrosis Superheroes T-shirt. We were going to save the part, that I am blind, for last. We also took shots of Demetrius and I just walking. I was holding into his elbow but they tried to hide that fact to make it appear that I was fully cited.
As often happens with these videos for news pieces, we took many of the same shots over and over again. Then, Demetrius led me in sighted running guide fashion. He, like many people, was a little nervous at first, but found that it is really very easy to do. We did bump up against each other from time to time and I told him that running with me is a contact sport. He got the joke and had a good laugh.
While Demetrius was interviewing me, Amy and Chris had a nice chat about women’s shoes. It turns out that when Amy was a little girl she, like my daughters, liked the shoes called jellies. I learned this later.
After Demetrius was done interviewing me, he and Amy went off to the side so he could interview her for the same news piece. After the interview was completed, Amy drove Chris and I back to the Ogilvie train station. We learned that when Amy drives her car to work, she has to pay $16 a day to park near her building, or maybe it is in her building, so, she generally takes the bus from home to work. This is not unusual for people who live and work in a major city.
When Chris and I got home, Chris used my IPhone so she could take a picture of a pair of jellies that she has displayed in a room to send to Amy. Chris has never really attempted to use my IPhone to take pictures with before, but she was motivated to do this because of her and Amy’s mutual interest in women’s shoes. Using an IPhone to take a picture is probably not normally challenging, but my IPhone has the accessibility feature turned on. With the Accessibility feature, the user taps once to identify that they are on the right feature that they want to use, then they have to quickly double tap to actually make it work. So, yup, it was challenging for Chris, but she was motivated, because the subject matter was shoes. I am sure that most women can identify with her motivation and her love for women’s shoes.