One of the great joys we as parents have is to read stories to our children. But for blind people, that wasn't an option if the child and parent wanted to read a book together.
That is until 1958 when Jean, who was sighted, was donating old clothing to a rummage sale for an organization for the blind. She heard Audrey Hebner, a blind mother say something that broke her heart.
While stacking donated books, Audrey told Jean, "The thing I miss the most is not being able to read children's books and bedtime stories to my kids."
The following morning, Jean began teaching herself Braille, determined to solve this problem.
Jean took a book her three sons had outgrown, "Fuzzy Blanket" and attempted to attach Braille text next to the printed writing, finally succeeding on her fifth try.
Jean brought the book to Audrey and the other blind mothers at their next meeting. Placing their fingers on the Braille pages the mothers took turns reading the book aloud as tears and words of gratitude flowed.*
Jean immediately began contacting publishers and parents to donate books. She invited volunteers to her Sherman Oaks, CA home to help create the Braille attachments.
Soon a group of volunteers met in Jean's kitchen and began making books. "Twin Vision" is what Jean called her concept, and starting in the early 1960's it became famous.
What is now the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults sponsored Twin Vision and provided more advanced equipment and production space near Jean's home, where she expanded her operation.
The results were tremendous. Tens of thousands of Twin Vision books were donated to blindness organizations and to libraries and schools.
Jean had found her life's work. She headed Twin Vision, now located in Tarzana, until 2010 when she was 92 years of age. And on April 20th, her 96th birthday, she gently passed away in her sleep.
But even without its founder, Twin Vision still offers a lending library that contains about 34,000 of these very special books.