The Infirm

The Infirm

    When the county came and took the children of Cora and Hank Camp, to the Children’s Home in Hillsboro, Ohio, they also took Cora and placed her in the Infirmary. This was because she was totally blind, they said. However, Cora had overheard what the real reason was. Now her life became a constant struggle to prove that she didn’t belong in the Infirmary. Not trusting the county to release her, however, she plotted her own escape.

    But getting out was only the first step. How was she going to find a house to live in, rebuild her family life, and ultimately get her children to come home to live with her and her husband again? She faced big challenges. Will she be able to do it?

    This novel is about the unseen struggles that people with disabilities endure on a day to day basis, the way they learn to celebrate every small accomplishment, and the appreciation some of them feel for each small victory.

 

Dear Reader: This novel is based loosely on a real person who once lived in Highland County Ohio. I believe it is a story that needs to be told and so I endeavored to tell it as accurately as possible, although the events mentioned occurred long before I was born. The local gossip as re-told in the novel is true based on newspaper articles of the day. I wanted to have my characters talking about things that really were happening in the county in 1921-1923.

One of the things about the story that I found intriguing was the relationship between Rose Beggs and Cora Camp. I was curious as to how these two women, one with blindness, and the other with deafness, could communicate with each other. I knew that they did, but wasn’t sure how. I believe I finally figured it out.

Another message I wanted to illustrate with this novel is something I believe to be important. Many people have hidden disabilities. Since others cannot see the disability, the person is misunderstood often and judged more harshly than is warranted. Hank Camp was such a person. He’d likely had brain damage from anoxia during the Spanish Flu Epidemic, when he had been pronounced dead, and nearly embalmed. He was also handicapped due to his lack of education and his severe asthma. He was judged as lazy, not disabled. On the other hand, Cora was judged disabled when her only handicap was an inability to see what was around her. Otherwise she was bright and capable with a zest to be useful to society.

I hope you enjoy this novel.

Saundra Crum Akers

 

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