His sight dims, but hobby keeps toymaker busy

February 06, 1994|By Susan Canfora | Susan Canfora,Special to The Sun

Over the years, 66-year-old Gunther "Joe" Bongard has been losing his sight, the result of optic nerve damage from hydrocephalus, which he suffered as a newborn. Now, he only has about 5 percent sight left, but that doesn't stop him from his hobby -- making toy trucks, cars and wagons out of wood.

"You never know what talent you have until something like this happens to you," said the Laurel, Del., resident. He learned to use saws and rulers especially made for the blind while attending a school for the blind in his native New Jersey. He's also lost about 75 percent of his hearing, but not his sense of humor. "I don't look blind and a lot of people don't believe it," he said. "My stock answer is, 'Do you have a car I can drive?' " "I've always had a sense of humor. You've got to be able to laugh at yourself," he said.

After 40 years, romance blooms again

It had been more than 40 years since Iris Rose Duncan and Hiram "Mac" Heysinger saw each other. Then, in late November, he telephoned after speaking to her sister, a former classmate, on the telephone, and the two of them arranged to visit.

Mr. Heysinger, of Iowa, arrived in Salisbury, where Ms. Duncan lives, four days before Christmas. A widower since 1991, he asked Ms. Duncan, who never married, to be his wife. She said yes. The first time he asked, back in Iowa in 1950, she said yes, too, then abruptly broke off the engagement because she didn't like how overpowering both their mothers were.

Now they're enjoying each other's company but haven't yet decided when they'll marry or where they'll live.

For some, massage means rejuvenation

Sore? Stiff? You might want to try a soothing massage.

"Some people feel rejuvenated after a massage. Some people feel tired. It all depends on what condition you were in when you came in," said Christine Aubain, massage practitioner at Merritt Athletic Club in Salisbury.

Ms. Aubain practices Swedish massage, used mainly for relaxation.

Tips for keeping check on your money

If a financial nest egg seems far out of reach, don't despair. There's hope for those whose checking accounts are sloppy and unbalanced, says Linda Martin, financial adviser for Bank of Delmar in Delmar, Del.

She recommends organizing by making a list of how much money is coming in and what bills have to be paid. And she advises against using credit cards too freely. It's the same as borrowing money. "Never charge something that is used up or worn out before the bill is paid," she says.

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