October 28, 2012

My Daisy Connection

I used to spend hours poring over my Brownie book, especially Juliette Gordon Low’s story. Her story connected with me, not just because she loved animals and art (just like me), but because of her hearing loss. What I remember the most is reading about how, at her wedding, a piece of rice lodged in her ear resulting in hearing loss. I must’ve re-read that story a hundred times, and in a way, it helped me feel connected to my grandma’s parents, who were both born completely deaf.

My great-grandparents, Helen and Emmanuel, with my mom and my uncle in 1960.

Grandma used to teach me the bits of sign language that she could remember, and I loved listening to stories about how her parents managed to raise two children during the Great Depression. They lived in the small town of Warsaw in Coshocton County, so Helen would do the washing and ironing for other families, and Emmanuel found odd jobs in Warsaw and other small towns throughout Coshocton County.
My great-grandparents didn’t let their hearing loss stop them. Juliette didn’t let her hearing loss stop her, either. In fact, she used to use it to her advantage. Legend has it she would often pretend to not hear people when they said they couldn’t volunteer or donate to Girl Scouts! The determination of Juliette, Helen, and Emmanuel inspires me to stick with something even when the going gets rough. Who inspires you?

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