Close to Home

So, this came home from school in a TIME Kids 1st grade flyer the other day. And it stuck out as familiar of course, but I didn’t think much of it past that.20171003_115018

Then I got an email that brought it into focus. 20171003_121245

Obviously I was more than a little intrigued so I started reading up on the guy. Apparently the teacher he’s honoring was a music instructor from our area. A little snippet of his background goes like this, “William Martinez is the creator and performer of the one-man show “SIGNing The Song.” It shares the true life story of a boy wanting to belong. William was raised in a silent home with a single-mother who could not speak or hear. He had little exposure to TV, radio, or movies. He failed every class in school and was bullied as a Special Ed student. Because of his incredible 8th grade music teacher, Norma Freeman and the love and support of his parents he came out of his silent world and discovered his voice through music. ASL and song lyrics meld together into a beautiful unique art form. William is now a professional singer. He tours nationally with numerous musical shows as well as showcasing his one-man show “SIGNing The Song”. Paying tribute to the teaching profession William tells of his life and transformation in story, song, and sign language.  This show celebrates the incredible impact educators and parents have on each child’s life…regardless of their struggles.” And the little video they attached melted my heart….just a bit. Needless to say, I can’t wait. But I’m a sucker for things like this.

I haven’t taken tons of time here to get into my experience between the worlds of hearing and not. It just is. Maybe it’s been hard for me to accept the scope of difficulty in making anyone truly understand. So…small doses for the forseeable future. But frankly, after this long, my biggest worry is someone thinking I’m a jackass for not acknowledging them. Everything else is honestly routine to me.

I had the “luxury” of full hearing until I was about 7, and the loss was so gradual over the next few years that I was hardly aware I was missing anything.  It was simply a slow shift in my perspective of my world. My experience. And people. All people. And upping the value of my communication with them as things changed. My parents are hearing and so are my girls. So, I’ve always been in the middle of these worlds, and my job has been to connect the two sides. And keep them connected.

There’s a movie extremely dear to my heart called Sound and Fury that gives a very real view of the dynamics and belief systems within families of hearing parents/deaf children, deaf parents/deaf children and of course deaf parents/ hearing children. Would you alter either side…if you could. Is it right…Is it beneficial, or is it damaging. Would you be ready for what would change. And everyones answer is different. Across the board.

Reading the little blurb about this particular man’s family history, made me consider how different the life my daughters may have been had they not had the benefit (a word I’m sure they would debate at times) of me being more than ready, willing and able to yak at them…their entire lives. If they’d had to adapt to silence, instead of anything but. Instead of being raised in a house full of music and sound, speech and more pop culture than you can shake a stick at. Much like I was. How would they be different. How would I be. And I think I just know we’re all pretty lucky.

So…I’ve been thinking about this man. Stuck in between those two worlds for so long. On the opposite side as me. Trying to find his way. In a silent home.  Wondering if he could ever make a connection between those worlds. Maybe not even knowing there was one. And thinking about this teacher who helped him with music to do what he may have never been able to do on his own.

If you’re wondering what I’ll be doing Thursday night. Answer is, bawling my eyes out…most probably.

Sam

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18 thoughts on “Close to Home

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  1. Stop bawling your eyes out. 🙂 He sounds intriguing, will read up on him, too.

    I actually just recently became more intrigued with sign language too, partly because the aid I wear I’ve not been wearing as much. I’m overstimulated as it is and I’m tired of getting a headache. But those kids are constantly yapping at me about something….so I printed out the ASL alphabet and we sometimes try to use signs to communicate better. I mean, signs are like body language, and I taught those kids baby signs when they were infants…no reason we can’t continue using those signs.

    In terms of music…I use headsets. Only way I can truly hear the melody. 🙂

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    1. Oh I’ll be bawlin!!

      Well like Ive said the one time my doctor tried that it just made me a big freaking raw nerve. And Im fine without. That way I at least have a shot at controlling what’s coming at me…a little more so anyhow. Me and the girls look at it as secret code more than anything, lol. Sort of something that holds us together. I started teaching my oldest when she was tiny. We don’t need it but like Ive said, we know its there, and…Gods honest, it’s been a great diffuser at times…when we all just need to shut the hell up, and slow down.

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  2. Interesting that you posted this. I was handed a little card with the ASL single hand manual alphabet at an event just recently and attached was a little note asking for donations of 3 – 5 dollars. Normally I would have handed it back but something made me keep it.
    I want to learn this language, I wanted to learn this language for my husband when he was alive. I know there is something holding me back. I just wish I knew what it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hah I remember those little cards when I was a kid. I didnt know they still did it. I remember I was never sure what the money was for lol.

      Well…it’s daunting for one. My daughters know what I’ve taught them through the years but we are a family of loud yakkers, so we only use it…well, sort of for bonding? Hard to explain. And it’s really lifelong learning unless you’re immersed in it. So it could be as simple as you just knowing it’s a huge undertaking as far as being held back. I’m sorry to know your husband passed 😔 Was this something he wanted you to learn?

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      1. My husband was deaf for most of his youth, he had corrective surgery when he was around 10 or 11 and for the next 20 or so years his hearing was just enough to get by but then as he aged his hearing deteriorated to a point where he had profound hearing loss. He taught me a little sign language but not enough to hold a conversation. Fortunately he was proficient at lip reading so we were able to communicate.
        I still hope to learn ASL one day.

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        1. Oh wow! I didn’t know that but thank you for sharing with me! I rely solely on my own attention span and reading people from top to bottom, lol. I know a lot of community colleges/adult ed programs offer it sort of as a non-credited class deal.

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  3. I love this. So are you completely deaf? Or are you juat able to read lips. My grandpa has been nearly deaf his whole life . And I don’t really know why nobody ever taught him sign language as an child. Well I sort of know . His parents didn’t want to mess with it . I wish they would have because I think his life would be so much better . He has Alzheimer’s now. It is sad watching him get worse . I sometimes wish I was deaf and then I would have an excuse to speak. I stutter at times if I get excited or nervous. I also don’t know when to keep my mouth shut . Lol that would probably get me out of a lotnod trouble at times. Lol just kidding btw. I do think that the language is beautiful and even though there is no sound, you can hear the emotion.

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    1. I have just a touch for some frequencies in one ear. It doesn’t bother me at all anymore because selfishly I like being able to tune in and out as I feel I can handle. Im grateful to my parents for getting me the help when I was young but honestly I prefer a different sort of presence in communication with others and its never really come up cause Ive only known 2 other people in my life who couldnt hear!

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      1. That would be nice to tune some things out for sure. I feel communication in any form is not the same as it use to be. Sometimes it nice to have a conversation with someone and to have that person actually listen. Kind of a thing of the past these days .

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