To JSU After 56 Years
Euclid Rains & wife Nell.
"I can still hear the laughter of people from the past," Rains said. "I can just feel the spirit of them all around."
Rains, 79, was the first blind student to attend and graduate from JSU.
He still remembers the day he decided to enroll at JSU, when his mother read from a newspaper, "Winter classes will soon start at Jacksonville State Teacher's College." And Rains replied, "What's that? Read it again, Mum!"
An English and history major, Rains trained to be a teacher. He did his practice teaching in Bibb Graves Hall with Jacksonville High School students. He taught 10th, 11th and 12th grade world history and physics classes.
"Jacksonville High School was almost a part of the college then," Rains said. "Students helped teachers and substituted."
Raines lived in Forney Hall with the military students and their families. He was active in student government and maintained perfect grades.
One of his favorite memories of JSU is sitting out front of Bibb Graves, under the mimosa trees, discussing politics. After graduating in 1944, Rains went on to serve three terms as the first and only blind person in the Alabama House of Representatives.
Rains was also the first blind person in the US to receive a FHA loan to purchase a farm. He ran a 204 acre pig, cattle and cotton farm on the land in Geraldine for many years.
He also operated Sand Mountain Brooms, the state's fifth largest broom factory. In 1977, Rains appeared on the Gary Moore show, "To Tell the Truth," as the only totally blind Little League baseball coach in history.
He's published three books, Count Me In, I'm Not Afraid of the Dark, and Journey to Infinity. He's currently adding the finishing touches to a fourth book.
Rains' wife, Nell, attended JSU during the summer of 1972. A high school home economics teacher, she wanted to be able to teach elementary school as well. She earned her elementary teaching certificate from the University that summer.
The couple celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on Thursday. Their daughter, Mary Waterhouse, brought them back to visit the setting of many of their stories.