The Commerce Journal

Opinion

August 29, 2013

Three Blind Brothers

COMMERCE — Don Sitton of Lamesa is a triplet.

“I have two brothers. We were born at the same time, back in 1954. We all weighed less than four pounds so they put us in an incubator. Instead of placing us long ways, like babies are usually placed, we were so small that they placed us across, all three of us in one incubator. The amount of pure oxygen in relation to the other air that was being fed into the incubator damaged the optic nerve that goes from the eye to the brain. As a result, all of us are blind.”

The family was living in Hart at the time and the parents noticed something was wrong when the boys were 6 months old. “I have two older sisters, so my mother and dad had experience with other children. They noticed we didn’t look at things like normal 6-month-old babies do. They got concerned and took us to an eye doctor and he confirmed what my mom expected, that we were blind.”

The triplets’ parents were quite devastated with that news. The father was a farmer and hoped he would have three strong boys who could help him on the farm once they were grown. “That didn’t happen,” says Don. “We were able to do a few things, but not a great deal on the farm. My parents were troopers. They were strong Christians and believed that God would help them through this tragedy they had to deal with, raising three blind boys.”

The family moved to Idalou so the triplets could attend elementary school in Lubbock. “It was a regular public school,” says Don. “A teacher there knew Braille and she taught it to us when we were in the first grade. When I was in the third grade, we actually learned how to type on a regular typewriter so we could type our lessons. Then when I started middle school in the seventh grade we went to school in Idalou and lived there until I graduated from Idalou High School.”

The three were never on any kind of state subsistence. “My parents raised us to believe that we were not handicapped and blindness was simply an inconvenience, that God would help us and we could do anything that we set our minds to and lead productive lives. That’s the way we were brought up.”

All three went to Texas Tech at the same time. “Jon was a business major and now works for the Social Security Administration in Houston. Lon majored in music and is currently music minister at the East 4th Baptist Church in Big Spring.”

Don is part owner and manager of an AM and FM Radio Station in Lamesa. “I’ve been doing radio ever since I was in college. When I was a kid I listened to the radio a lot and said to myself that I was going to be on the radio one day. I love music and I love radio. When I got to Texas Tech I went to the head of the communication department and said, ‘I want to major in radio.’ He told me he had never had a blind radio major. I said, ‘you’ve got one now, so let’s get with it.’ I started working at the campus radio station at Texas Tech and I’ve been doing radio ever since. Technology has helped a lot. It makes my work so much easier.”

Tumbleweed Smith lives in Big Spring and is a folklorist, after dinner speaker and producer of “The Sound of Texas” syndicated radio show. Contact him at tumbleweedsmith.com

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