Blindness in the 1950s was a social stigma. Stephen's mother wanted a normal life for him, so he fought desperately to uphold the illusion of sight. For a child frantic to fit in, each day was an exhausting pretence. He managed to ride a bike, when even reading involved pressing his nose to the page and painfully forcing his eyes to concentrate. Head up, he strode through a carefully memorized labyrinth of streets, hoping to fool passers-by that he could actually see.