Pamela R. Blaine

My Daddy was a very special person who loved people
and he never knew a stranger. When I was a little girl, he took me
with him when he would go to visit his brother.
I remember how he always cared so much for my Uncle John.
He and Daddy were very close and when they were together they
"talked with their hands". You see, my Uncle John was deaf.
I doubt that anyone else could keep up or knew
what they were saying because they had been doing this since
childhood and I'm sure they had some of
their own signs and shortcuts. I noticed their facial expressions
also as their hands flew as they talked.  I wanted so badly to be
able to talk to Uncle John too and so Daddy taught me how to
"talk with my hands". I remember the first time I made the attempt
to sign to Uncle John. I was about 8 years old and I signed,
"Uncle John, I love you." Big tears came in Uncle John's eyes
and he signed to my Dad, "You taught her!"

I remember another time that Daddy and I were traveling and we
stopped in a small town for lunch. Two men were sitting in a booth
where we could see them. They were pushing paper back and forth
and writing. My Dad got up and went over and signed to the man
to ask if he was deaf. I can't even describe to you how this
man's face just lit up! He was so excited that someone
could talk to him.  He had come to live in this small town
with a sister and she was the only other person in town
who knew how to sign. He and my Dad
talked for a long time and I don't know who was more blessed....
the man...or my Dad and I.

I think that being deaf caused Uncle John to be very sensitive
in other ways. His other senses seemed strengthened to make up for
the deafness. He could tell things by looking into your eyes.
Since he was deaf, if you had something to say that he didn't want
to hear, he simply turned his face away. This was his method when
you wanted him to do something he didn't want to do or when he
simply didn't want to hear what you had to say because the news was
not good. When Daddy was only 58, he was hospitalized with
terminal cancer. When he died, Uncle John happened to be in
another hospital at the same time. When my aunt went to tell him
the sad news, Uncle John looked away and refused to look at her....
he already knew when he saw her face, and this time, he just didn't
want her to see him cry.

Pamela R. Blaine
Copyright October 25, 1999

Click back key to return to index