While getting a checkup, a man tells his doctor that he thinks his wife
is losing her hearing. The doctor says, "You should do a simple test.
Stand about 15 feet behind your wife and say 'honey?’ Move 3 feet closer and do
it again. Keep moving 3 feet closer until she finally responds." Remember
how close you were when she gives you an answer. That will help me know how bad
her hearing loss is.
About a month later the same guy is at the doctor again and the doctor asks,
"Well, did you do that experiment with your wife's hearing?” The man says
"yes". "How close did you get before she answered?"
"Well, by the time I got about 3 feet away she just turned around and said
"For the FIFTH TIME... WHAT???"
I wear two hearing aids. Being deaf is no picnic, and having
lost most of my hearing at a tender age of 5, I have learned to try to
compensate for the loss, while living a normal as possible life.
I lost my hearing when I came down with a severe case of mumps. In those days,
doctors were not sophisticated enough to realize the ramification of a child
with mumps, and what it could really mean. I can vividly remember the pain and
anguish I had, recalling the suffering not only in my face and cheeks, but in
my ears, how powerful the pain was to lead me into almost a hallucinated state
of mind. I was so painful that I could not touch my face, or even lay my head
down on its side. I had no idea at that point about emotional suffering but
soon found out.
My parents thought for years that I was just plain stupid, that I couldn’t
learn or understand anything, and that I would end up with nothing in my life
and probably in some institution for learning disabled. I was sent to a
Catholic school along with my older sister, who was considered the smart one,
and I was headed for who knew where.
My Dad was perhaps the most disappointed in me, not only being unhappy, but
also the blow to his ego was too much for him to comprehend or handle. Although
it wasn’t my fault that I was deaf, I couldn’t blame him for the way he felt.
In those days, no one individual knew or was educated enough to understand the
crisis I was in. I think my Mom had inkling that something was wrong, but she
too was a severe critic and greatly disappointed. Then one day something
magical happened. We moved! We moved away from Brooklyn, and out of the school,
onto Long Island and a whole new world. A world filled with trees, and water
and sunshine and a school nurse named Miss Wager. Miss Wager had worked with
the deaf, and I was given a hearing test, the first of many. I was 10 years
old, and this was my first hearing test. She marveled that I had survived as
long as I did, had gotten anywhere with language and when my parents finally
understood, life became a little easier for me around the house.
Having some friends, but not many since I was afraid to make any being deaf, I
could hear, but only up close and not well. I was becoming a loner by choice
because I had to. I would spend time watching TV or reading, or playing ball.
TV was watched only when I could watch alone, not when the family watched,
because I needed it “Too loud”. When I was a sophomore in high school, I was
sent to lip reading classes in Mineola Hospital where they discovered I could
minimally read lips, and with circumstances, I could figure out what people
were saying to a degree.
I took a huge step and decided that I really wanted to go to college and get
away from the closeness that my parents lived in, and try to open up a new
world for myself. I really wanted to teach history, but knew that if I did it
would require not only teaching, but also listening, and I didn’t think that
students would want to accommodate a deaf teacher. So I took the next thing I
could think of, my love of art and drawing. I took a test at the Art Student’s
League where I was immediately accepted, my Dad helping me to put together a
portfolio of drawings and paintings. Yes Dad had finally crossed over to the
other side. But I wasn’t happy with the idea of just becoming an artist in the
commercial field. Not only that, I wanted to learn something besides how to
draw. I looked up schools in the area and found New York Tech, took an entrance
exam and passed. I was in a four-year college, with the promise of a Bachelor
of Arts degree.
The teachers at the school never caught on that I was deaf, and I was often
punished severely for not knowing something, not understanding someone, and not
responding immediately. It took me some time to learn how to lip read and realize
I had to pay more attention to what was being said in class, and really feared
missing something, which was quite often. One of the reasons I hated school so
much as a young child can readily be explained.
Since those days things have changed considerably for me.
Professionally I got a great job in Manhattan atop a skyscraper, a corner
office no less, overlooking the city of New York, designing and learning new
things, and fudged my way into making a lovely woman believe in me. Suddenly
Dad had more use for me, Mom never relented but at least stuck by me, giving me
encouragement. I wonder if she felt that having me believe that she accepted my
excuses, I would then stop trying.
So today after all these years, and my life for the most
part over, I look back on things and remember them as a movie, I sit and watch
the events that did unfold, knowing full well the ending, crying and laughing
at others and myself. My passion now is my granddaughter and her parents, my
daughter and other son, my wife, and what they will think of me when I’m gone.
I tried my best, gave it all I had, tried to help people
where I could and I know that probably people will resent me for it anyway, but
LOOKING FOR GREAT GIFT IDEAS FOR YOUR CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN?
Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal
Mountain, TN 37377
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