Monday, October 29, 2007

Add another tree branch, please!

My former deaf co-worker, Bob, retired for good about six months ago. After getting to know him about six years ago when he first came to work at my agency, working as a contract employee upon retiring from his former employer, I found him to be quite an intelligent man with such witty grasp of English grammar. Upon discovering our love of English words and vocabulary, we eventually did crossword puzzles together during lunch time almost daily for about a year.

I love hearing stories on how older and elder deaf people coped in the real world in those days. Bob would regale me some stories about his times at Gallaudet in the '60s which made me chuckle.

Bob has two sons whom one was adopted and the other, a foster who is deaf. He is now a grandfather of ten children.

Surprised, I asked him how in the world a deaf couple was able to adopt and foster in those days when hearing people then "looked down" at deaf people. He told me briefly of his life.

He became deaf at age 12, just out of the blue, when waking up one morning. He still speaks quite well although the lipreading skills was another matter, to be practiced over the years. Due to his speech and English skills, the court was able to grant him & his wife permission to adopt & foster.

One afternoon, as usual, we sat to chat for a while. While on the subject of family, curiously, I asked Bob how he proposed to his wife whom he married on the same day they both graduated from Gallaudet in 1964.

He replied that after browsing through photo albums with his wife at his hometown during a holiday, he asked her:

"Will you join my family tree?"