Sight Unseen


Think you have chores? In this family, the kids do all of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. (They keep the family checkbook, too.)

Sight Unseen

Susan and Harold Edmundson have never seen their two daughters, Treasure, 15, and Mindy, 13. Yet the couple knows their offspring are beautiful from the inside out, and they share one of the closest family relationships you could imagine.

If the situation sounds unusual, it is. Mindy and Treasure’s parents are blind. Always have been, always will be (in this life). The family lives together in a two-story frame house in Homer City, Pennsylvania, and gets by remarkably well. The parents say their daughters play a big role in that.

“We’ve never known what it’s like not to have blind parents,” say the girls. “Probably the biggest difference would be the things we do around the house.”

If you think you’ve got a lot of household chores, you should try trading places with Mindy and Treasure for a week. And since their mother was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, their workload has increased. “Of course we do all the housework,” they say casually. “We scrub the walls, clean the furniture, make the meals, scrub the kitchen, do the dishes, do the laundry, stuff like that.”

“It’s actually a good thing,” says their mother. “Most girls their age don’t know how to run a house. When they go to college or on missions, they’ll be way ahead of the game. Mindy can whip up a whole meal and make it seem effortless, when I know it’s not. And Treasure keeps the checkbook. I never need to worry about her cashing an extra check or writing one out for something she doesn’t need. They’re pretty special kids.”

Mindy and Treasure are happy to do it. They consider it their natural contribution to the family. And it doesn’t often keep them from doing the things they like. Treasure is a member of a championship cheerleading squad. Mindy loves to rollerskate and take care of her pets—she has several dogs and cats. Both girls attend Young Women midweek activities and Sunday meetings. Treasure also fits seminary into her schedule.

At an age when many kids are trying to establish their personal independence and want to avoid their parents as much as possible, it’s a little unusual to see that Treasure and Mindy’s parents are their best friends.

“They say we can tell them anything, and no matter what we do, they’ll still love us, even if they don’t love what we did,” says Treasure.

“And I believe that,” says Mindy. “They’ve proven it.” One time Mindy was out with a group of friends who were doing a little mischief in people’s yards. Mindy wasn’t actually involved, but a few hours later a state trooper pulled into their driveway and collected Mindy to go help them clean up.

“My parents told me I shouldn’t have been with those kids, and they were right,” says Mindy. “I got punished, but they hugged me first and told me they loved me. It’s always been like that.”

Of course, no one’s life or relationships are perfect. “The hardest thing about our parents being blind is having to ask our friends or their parents to take us places,” says Treasure, without making it sound like a complaint. “The people in the ward are great!” Their Young Women advisers and the other girls in the ward make sure the girls have rides to every meeting and activity.

When the girls’ mother was a teenager, her brother used to take her out on a boat in the river and read to her the names painted on all the other vessels. There was one racing yacht that she particularly liked. It was called the Treasure Lee. “That’s what I’m going to name my first daughter,” Susan told her brother.

The treasure she was to receive, in the form of two loving, giving daughters, was more than she could have hoped for.

[photo] Photography by Leslie Phaneuf