Davis made ends meet by stealing and begging and doing odd jobs.
About half of that time he spent in the streets, the other in and out
of jails and hospitals. In 1967, Davis got committed to the Los An-
geles Metropolitan State Hospital Mental ward, where he received
treatment for his alcoholism for the first time.
"A doctor there examined my eyes and recognized that I was blind,
" Davis said. "He recommeded the Braille Institute in Los Angeles.
" The Braille Institute is a private nonprofit group working to help
blind people live more normal lives. " It teaches you how to live
with vision loss, how to travel, how to cook, how to put on clothes,
" said Davis. "It gave me my life."
"I never had a problem with hard drugs, but I knew plenty about ad-
diction, " said Davis.
After his time working as a counselor, Davis took training to become
a snack bar vendor. " I did that from 1976 to 1982, and I stayed sober,
" he said. "But then I discovered Las Vegas and started going gamb-
ling, playing poker and blackjack every weekend. Pretty soon I was
broke. My food purveyors would,'nt give me any credit. They wanted
my payments in cash from week to week. Eventually, I went out of
Davis was now....46, out of work and fearing a relapse. His friend, Eve Gardena, was living in Lompoc, California; She suggested he relocate
there. He did, and he has lived and worked there ever since. He la-
bored for several years as a cook's helper at the Nutrition Center in
Lompoc. Then he worked for Baker's Square for two years. After that,
he started volunteering to work for a rape crisis center, an organiza-
tion he is still involved in. " And then I got back involved with the
Braille Institute's offices in Maria Del Sol, both as a student and a vo-
lunteer," said Davis. "The people who help out there are very special people."
At Santa Maria's Braille Institute at Maria Del Sol, Davis met Shirley Tho-
mas. Thomas, a devoted Braille Institute volunteer, was teaching a
course on basket weaving. " I never really enjoyed basket weaving,
" Davis said. "The whole thing was too slow. So Shirley recommed that
I try rag rug crocheting, and I really enjoyed it from the beginning."
Added Thomas: " And he's very good at it."
.........To be continued......