Josephine Cordaro was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, one of nine children born to Mary and Angelo Cordaro. Josephine lost her vision at the age of three when she contracted spinal meningitis. She attended Overbrook School for the Blind in Philadelphia, earning an academic diploma in 1943. Ms Cordaro was active in campus life, sang soprano in the chorus, was a member of the drama society, and a regular participant in the yearly declamation contests. Her main interests were in speech, drama, and English.
After graduation, to earn money to support her and her family, she held several jobs, including: assembly work in a defense plant during World War ll, managing a snack bar at Sears, and doing phone sales for the Blind Association of Scranton.
In 1959, she participated in a new experimental program in Philadelphia, sponsored by Bell Telephone. This program offered individuals who were blind, training to be a PBX switchboard operator. It was there that she decided that she really enjoyed the work, and after completing the program she went back to Scranton to look for a job.
When Allied Services for the Handicapped began its operation in Scranton, Ms. Cordaro convinced the agency to hire her. She says now, that they were probably so tired of her pestering them about the job, that they gave her a chance. Over forty years later she retired as their receptionist and switchboard operator.
Ms. Cordaro often spoke to school groups, clubs, and organizations. She talked to the groups about her life and living independently as a blind person.
Josephine Cordaro has always enjoyed writing, and in the early 1990's published a collection of her poems. Often in her talks to groups she read some of her poetry or one of her short stories. Josie enjoyed giving dramatic, interpretive reading throughout the community and cities beyond. She is unmarried and has many, many nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and nephews to keep her young. She has many interests, and keeps happy in the loving hope of doing for others.
About her years at Overbrook,she said, "Overbrook taught me to be self sufficient. I am grateful for what I learned there." Overbrook awarded Josephine their Distinguished Alumni Award on June 9, 2007.
Ever There He touched my shoulder and whispered low, Thereís a friend beside you where ever you go. So take heart, dear one and be of good cheer, Iíll never forsake you, for I am always near. He touched my hand with gentle grace, And told me my sorrow was His to embrace, So that I might find the way, truth and light, For to obey His will conquers might. Hetouched my soul with the kindest word, Dear one, He said, trust in the Lord. For your sins are forgiven when you truly repent, If you bear the cross, which for you was meant. Then he touched my heart and whispered low, Let your love for me continue to grow, And a peace seemed to grow from Heaven above, As I received the grace of Godís tender love.
Godís Voice The voice of God is everywhere, He speaks to us through work and prayer; His Almighty hand the blesses the world, So that faith and hope might be unfurled. When it seems our troubles are ignored, Peace will come of we trust in the Lord. God in His mercy is everywhere, And He speaks to us through work and prayer. . Copyright: Josephine Cordaro. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint these poems please send an email to the pastor who will contact Josephine.
There where the festive lights twinkle and shine, Where the season's greetings subtle design, While the bells in the steeple chime out loud and clear, Proclaiming new hope and love to hold dear, There in the heart of the candlelight glow, Where caring and sharing is a gift to bestow, That's where the joy of living remains, An everlasting promise which endures and sustains, So let us cherish this holiday and keep it sincere, Not just for now, but for each corming year.
CHRISTMAS IN JULY
Now, it's Christmas in July, And a special reason why, A celebration is at hand
For there's a true and deeper meaning planned
In the hearts of mankind forever and a day Then let us give thanks for God's little things,
Let's sing the carols loud and clear, Let's wake the sleeping people; Let's watch the crimson dawn appear, As the bells chime in the steeple.
Let's shower love and Christmas cheer, To all the sad and lonely;
And say the things they need to hear, Of peace and comfort, only.
Let's keep the Christmas ardor throughout the coming year, Let's work a little harder at holding things more dear.
Let's cherish one another, And keep in mind our brother,
As the Infant's love His peace portrays,
Let's share His lasting love in the joy of Christmas praise.
Hang up the tinsel and the greens, Renew the old time Christmas scenes; When peace on earth, good will to men, Might echo through each town, again.
String the lights and twine the holly, Let Christmas stay true, and not a folly Then sing the carols sweet and clear, The old refrain we hold most dear.
Then let the tide of love and peace remain, The treasured gift which will sustain, Each heart and soul a perfect reason,
To cherish Christmas, God's blessed season.
Let's sing the age old story,
Of peace and good will with its glory; Let hope and love and a joyous heart,
Join family and friends with this message to impart.
That tradition might mend the hearts of men,
As we sing the age o1d songs again;
So let sharing and giving remain the reason,
We celebrate this festive season.
HOLD FAST TO CHRISTMAS
Hold fast to the miracle of Christmas, planned, And its wondrous promise never to fade, When the Christ Child in glory blessed the land,
As the worth of God's message to the world was conveyed.
the light of His smile, the world humbly prayed,
For peace and goodwill and the touch of His hand; Hold fast to the miracle of Christmas planned,
And its wondrous promise, never to fade.
For the hope in His love through the years will expand, While the riches of faith in a blessed cascade Shower peace and the power to accept and understand;
That the meaning of Christmas, is Jesus portrayed.
Hold fast to the miracle of Christmas, planned,
And its wondrous promise, never to fade.
Hang up the holly and the mistletoe,
Light up the candles, let goodwill flow,
As hearts beat high with the joy of giving, This wondrous season brings worth to our living.
So let us rejoice in a special way, This beautiful blessed holiday.
It's Christmas and the steeple bells are gaily ringing,
In the dist
ance sweet and clear, heard are the children singing.
"Peach on Earth
, Good Will to Men'; inspiring hope anew, And the age old promise once again remains every firm and true.
he twinkling lights in mystic wonder sparkle and shine, As all the world in joyous love await the Child Divine.
The sweet Lord Jesu
s sweetly smiles As His love surrounds the earth,
And that is why at Christm
as time, the earth renews its worth.
ack to Christmas as in days of old,
When the shepherds and angels the glad tidings told, How the Christ Child born in glory for mankind,
Bearing gifts of faith and love with hope entwined.
Come back to Christmas as in days of old,
When the wise men th rough the glowing stars foretold The wonders of the infant King
And the countless blessings He would bring
So from age to age through His fulfilling grace, His promise of harmony is ours to embrace.
Now Christmas comes b
ack as in days of old,
With peace and goodwill and love to uphold, These precious gifts lend worth to the reason We thank the Lord for His glorious season