Loss of sight
Local writer overcomes adversity
HI-TECH HELP – Carl Linton said $3,000 was not too much to pay for a closed circuit television magnifier that allowed him to see photos of his great-grandson, Taylor. Linton used the device to help him write his memoir, "Fourscore Years and More Through Poverty, War, Peace and Prosperity." Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
Nov. 10, 2002
When Carl Linton began to write a family history for his grandchildren, the 83-year-old Long Creek community resident never thought it would be a life-changing experience.
Linton had considered writing about his life so that generations to come would know more about their past. The result: "Fourscore Years and More Through Poverty, War, Peace and Prosperity."
But it wasn't easy for Linton to write his memoirs. He suffers from macular degeneration, an eye disease that affects the central part of the retina and causes the loss of central vision.
An appointment at that time with his doctor revealed Linton had already lost most of the central vision in his right eye. A specialist in Jackson told him the condition was untreatable.
Linton said the old saying is true: If you lose your eyesight, your other senses will compensate. He said he still can do 90 percent of the things he did before losing his sight.
Linton still mows his own grass and he even sharpens his own mower blade.
But when it came to writing his memoir, Linton needed more help from family and friends including Nell, Linton's wife of 61 years.
Nell said she initially was shocked that her husband wanted to write a book. In fact, she said, her first thought was ""Write? Honey, you can't see to write."
Linton's daughter and a longtime family friend then helped him devise a system that allowed him to write his book all without having to type or physically use a pen and paper.
Linton recorded his thoughts on audio tape; a typist transcribed his comments to paper; and those pages were placed on a machine that displayed magnified images on a closed-circuit television.
Linton then read the magnified pages and could make changes or additions to his manuscript.
The book focuses on his involvement in developing the Long Creek community. Linton helped establish the Long Creek Water Association, the community development club and the volunteer fire department.
In 1960, Linton built the Zero Community Market on Zero Road in the Long Creek community, a small, country convenience store that still stands today.
Linton also served 44 years as choir director and Sunday school teacher at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church.
A large portion of the book is dedicated to Linton's military service.
Linton served 25 months overseas, most of which was in isolated areas of Burma as part of the U.S. Signal Corps, 558 Aircraft Warning Battalion, Company C.
Jessie Bonner, a longtime family friend and retired school librarian, assisted Linton with researching the book.
While Linton won't say if he plans to write again, Bonner thinks he should.
Author: Carl Linton of the Long Creek community
Book: "Fourscore Years and More Through Poverty, War, Peace and Prosperity"
When: Nov. 23, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 5025 Zero Road, Zero community across from Coleman's Community Store
For directions: Call 483-6173 or 693-4989