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Kicking Off 2017 and Happy 208th Birthday to Louis Braille

January 4, 2017


Kicking Off 2017


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



With fleece-lined boots and in about twenty inches of snow,

I am kicking out the old year

and kicking off the new!

While I wrap up all the memories

in shades of vivid blue,

I am dancing with the present

and wondering how that yesteryear so quickly went–

went into a first book and photographs,

and forgotten places too.


As I look toward eleven months and then a new December,

please know that it is you, my Zoe,

that I will keep in my heart

and will gratefully and fondly remember

while I walk into this world of 2017

without you, but with Willow.


I am amazed

and raise my glass of pink champagne

to all that lies ahead

throughout the upcoming

snow, sun, and rain.


During all of 2017,

may we honestly measure

our blessings from above

and may we always find at a window

a vessel for holding memories,

the star of hope,

and a peaceful mourning dove.



HISTORICAL REFLECTION:  Today, January 4, is the 208th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille (January 4, 1809-January 6, 1852).  At age fifteen, Louis Braille put the final touches on his remarkable invention of a reading and writing system of tactile dots–which, in honor of this brilliant individual from Coupvray, France–we call braille.  Besides devising the system of dots based on a cell of up to six dots, Louis Braille was an organist, pianist, inventor of music braille, one of the first three blind teachers of blind children at the world’s first school for blind students, in Paris, France.  He passed away much too young at age 43, due to tuberculosis.


Besides having taught braille as a volunteer and then having taught braille as a blind rehabilitation instructor for six years (between my years of teaching in a traditional classroom), I am one of the very grateful daily users of braille.  Despite all the amazing computerized equipment which has been developed during the past few decades, I believe that Louis Braille’s system of dots remains the greatest gift to people who were/are blind or visually impaired.


For additional information about the life of Louis Braille, I recommend the reading of C. Michael Mellor’s biography Louis Braille:  A touch of Genius, copyright 2006 (available in print, braille, audio, and BARD download).


Best wishes for a sparkling, serene, and successful 2017!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


January 4, 2017, Wednesday



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  1. Alice.
    Here’s hoping that 2017 brings you a bucket full of smiles, and a head full of memories to go along with them. With such wonderful sources of inspiration heading east from Wisconsin, how can a Maine goat go wrong?
    Best to you and Willow Girl.

  2. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice,
    I am so happy to be here with you and Willow to ring in the new year and to celebrate the first few days of 2017. Looking forward to a Healthy and Happy New Year for all of us!
    Love, Mary

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