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SCV Voices: Traversing through Newhall in a manual wheelchair

Posted: July 29, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 29, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Recently, I had foot surgery and found myself in a wheelchair. I am an active, 53-year-old woman and could not make myself stay at home, so I set out in my chair for a new adventure in my favorite city, Newhall.

The first thing I found out was how many nice people there are in Newhall.

People stopped to offer me rides and push me up hills.

I got blisters on my fingers from rolling the wheels, and a man at Starbucks gave me a pair of gloves.

I was having difficulty crossing Lyons Avenue at one point, and a man on a motorcycle waiting at the light leapt off his bike and pushed me safely to the other side.

Wherever I went, people would open doors for me and ask if I needed any help.

There are still good people in the world.

I also had the opportunity to view Newhall from a different perspective. Some areas are very difficult for someone in a manual wheelchair.

I found 2-inch strips at the base of doorways that I couldn’t cross without help.

Some stores have steps in both the front and the back.

One restaurant had the entire sidewalk blocked with their host stand and a large umbrella, and I could not pass.

In some areas, the sidewalk runs out, and is replaced with only grass, which is very difficult to cross in a wheelchair.

While most curbs have an incline, there is one near my house which does not, and I was almost struck by a car as I made my way in the road to the next incline to get back on the sidewalk.

Even the crossing light switches are difficult to reach on some corners.

At one point I had an appointment, and upon arriving at the office, I was faced with two flights of stairs and no elevator.

I found myself being thankful that my condition was temporary.

It has been a learning experience for me these past two weeks. I have more empathy for those in wheelchairs.

I also learned about city transit. I found traveling by bus was easy to learn and kept me out of the extreme heat.

My arms are firming up, and when the weather is cooler I plan to venture out again into Newhall in my wheelchair. I have six more weeks of adventures to go!

Lynn Amate is a Newhall resident.


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