Monday, June 11, 2007

North and South

Nineteen years ago, my best friend, Missy, a freshman at Gallaudet, wrote me a letter telling me what fun she was having there, meeting all kinds of guys, as well as making new friends. I was attending a community college in my state south that time and was living with my parents. (This was during pre e-mail/Internet era.)

Reading the description of each guy she was meeting, my eyes caught the name of the guy, Todd, who was a special student at Gallaudet for a year. Missy merely described him in few words: He became deaf at age 5. Very intelligent and can speak quite well. He is a country boy from a small town in New England. I immediately felt something was going to happen.

During Missy's visit home on Christmas time from Gallaudet, I visited her at her mother's home. I told her I wanted to meet Todd. Eagerly shoving a piece of paper under my nose, she told me to write a letter and then sealed, to my useless protest, the back of the envelope with a lipstick sticker.

Todd and I became pen-pals for a while then eventually, I went to Gallaudet to visit Missy, hence meeting him. We ended up dating, but long distance though. Every few weeks, he would come down to visit me, staying at my parents' home.

We mostly communicated via TTY, which this time I finally bought. We called each other almost daily, to my dad's chagrin. The phone bills often made my dad jump. He tried coaxing me to merely use a "20 cent" stamp instead but it fell on deaf ears, no pun intended.

One day, as usual, my Yankee boyfriend called me. Upon my answering the TTY call, he cheerfully said, "Hello, how is my Southern Belle doing?" "Hello, Northern Telecom.", I replied.

(Southern Bell and Northern Telecom were the names of telephone companies in the South at that time.)