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Manuscript 3 October 10, 2007

Filed under: ASL,college,deaf,eating,family,food,life,writing — bookwritegirl @ 9:35 pm

Okay, I apologize in advance for any formatting errors (again). This is manuscript 3, haven’t submitted it yet. I will email it tomorrow to my teacher, hopefully. We’ll see what she has to say about it. Here were the instructions: “Imagine a seemingly peaceful family of four–mother, father, daughter, son–sitting at the dinner table. One of them has a confession to make to the family, but is afraid to reveal it. Through the subleties of body language and dropped hints, the confession is divulged, though it is never explicitly expressed. Who has the confession to make? What is it? How is it divulged? What is the family’s reaction? What is the confessor’s reaction to the family? (by Tom DeMarchi, Florida Int’l Univ., Miami). My teacher allows for a little rule bending too. Anyway, this is obviously a fictional scenario (the acceptance letter), but most of the elements are true. This would be exactly how I see my family reacting, if I did ever want to transfer to Gallaudet. Does this sound more authentic?             

 Knock, knock.


            Mona was sitting on her bed, leaning up against the wall, re-reading a letter she had gotten in the mail and relishing the absolute silence, when she felt the vibration of someone knocking on her door. She quickly flipped on her hearing aid as she said, “Come in.”


            Her mom came in. “Time for dinner,” she said, leaving the door open.


            “Just a minute!” Mona called after her, taking the letter and locking it carefully into her jewelry box, the mahogany one with the pearl inlay that her aunt got for her in Okinawa. She heard a loud clatter and jumped, turning around to see if anybody was watching her, before realizing that the sound came from outside her open window—it was an unseasonably warm fall day—her friend was bringing in her trash cans. Mona waved and caught her friend’s eye.


            Letter, good? her friend, Sara, signed. Mona had taught her some signs so they could communicate anywhere.


            Accepted! Mona replied. Sara smiled and gave her the thumbs up. See you tomorrow, Mona signed, then putting on her cochlear implant processor, hurried to the dining room table, where her family was waiting. “Sorry,” she murmured, scooting in her chair. It scraped painfully loud on the tile floor, but it seemed to bother only her.


            “Ready?” her dad asked, one eyebrow raised.


            They did the sign of the cross and recited a prayer, “Bless us, O Lord, for thee Thy giveth, from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord, Amen,” and out of habit her dad closed the prayer with “the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen,” just like he did when she and her brother were little and needed a cue to remember what to do.


            It was spaghetti night, with salad (and Dorothy Lynch, of course), garlic bread, and milk. Everything was already served for them since they were just a family of four, as opposed to Sara’s large family, where all the kids were responsible for serving themselves.

            Mom spoke, “so, Mona, did you get my message? That Sara has your mail?”


            Mona was mid-bite, her eyes widened for a split-second before she recovered herself and held up a finger to indicate “just a minute” while she finished chewing. “Yep, got it when I got home.” Her brother then looked at her suspiciously. Mona shot him a look.


            “What’s the matter?” Dad asked Mom, his voice rising slightly.


            “Oh, nothing,” Mom dismissed with a wave of her hand. “The mailman accidentally delivered her mail to the wrong house.”


            “Why didn’t you pick it up?”


            Mom shrugged her shoulders.


            “Okay…” Dad said, raising one eyebrow again, and ripped off a chunk of garlic bread and popped it into his mouth, chewing powerfully, his gaze wandering over to Mona, who suddenly remembered to eat, taking a large bite of spaghetti.


            “It’s just an excuse for them to talk is all,” Mom spoke up quickly.


            “Yeah,” Mona agreed out of the side of her mouth, then swallowed. “We don’t get to see each other much anymore.”


            “So, when is she graduating?” he asked Mona.


            “Spring. One more year.” Mona signed small while she talked.


            “And she’s going to go to your college, right?”


            Mona opened her mouth and paused, skipping a beat, then replied, nodding, “Um, yep.”


            “She getting any scholarships?”


            “She doesn’t know yet.”


            “But she has the Chancellor’s Scholarship, right?”


            “I don’t know.”


            A short silence fell, filled with sounds of chewing. It was so loud now, Mona noticed, since she’s gotten the cochlear implant. A car drove my, the sound of its deep engine filling her cochlear ear uncomfortably to capacity, and she cringed slightly.


            “I’m glad you have your Chancellor’s Scholarship.” Dad said after a while, in a loud voice. Mona cringed again, disguising it as a smile. Would he never understand that she can’t hear him very well when he talked like that? She thought to herself, then marveled at her own thinking, because she could both see the signs and hear the sound in her mind at the same time.


            “You know, we’re real proud of you,” he said, continuing in his loud voice.


            “Pardon?” she said, sighing inwardly at the same time. He’s my dad for Pete’s sake! You’d think he’d know better.


            “We’re real proud of you,” he repeated, smiling.


            “Thanks.” Mona drank her milk. She knew what was coming next. She shifted in her seat, and so did her brother.


            “When we found out you were deaf, the doctor s aid you would never learn to read, write, speak, or hear, or amount to much of anything at all.”


            Mona just knew it. She sat there. Anxiety flitted across her face.


            “And now look at you! You’ve accomplished a lot. You have what, a 4.0?”At least he was sounding more normal now, Mona noticed.


            “3.975. That one stupid A minus.”


            “You know, I was just telling my students about you. They were impressed. Remember Lisa?”


            “Yeah, she dropped off her paper the other night,” Mona remembered, poking at her lettuce casually.


            “She said she didn’t know you were deaf. She said you sounded normal.” Dad ate another forkful of spaghetti.


            Mona half-smiled. “Cool.” She wasn’t sure what to say. “Yeah, a lot of people at school think I’m hearing, too,” She took a small bite of her salad, “but then they see my hearing aid or cochlear implant—”


            “Processor,” Mom corrected.


            “—processor, whatever, anyway they start talking really loudly, or sometimes they’ll sign. Like. This,” she mimicked their awkward slowness,” and I’m like, um, hello, I heard you before, so what changed?”


            Her brother laughed; he was taking ASL 1 now and thought he was completely enlightened as to Deaf issues.


            “People are stupid,” her dad said, scraping his entire plate with his fork, then helped himself to more spaghetti.


            “When hearing people see my hearing aids and read my stories, they think I’m deaf and not hearing.” Mona continued impulsively. “Then when Deaf people see the same things, they think I’m hearing and not deaf.” She sighed, and her shoulders sagged, but she quickly turned that into a shrug.


            Mom looked at her, coming to a slow realization, but said nothing.


            Dad didn’t notice; he was shaking Parmesan onto his plate. “So, how is sign language going?”


            “Great! It really seems to make sense, like I just understand it, you know?” Excitement crept into her voice. “It’s really cool. I can’t believe I have only two more levels to go after this; I want to take more classes; I don’t want to forget anything! Oh, I almost forgot, I got an A on my ASL midterm.”


            “Good for you!” her dad said, pleased.


            “My midterm is tomorrow,” her brother said, getting up from the table. he put the silverware on his plate—how loud it was!—and took it out to the kitchen.


            “It’s not too hard,” Mona told him when he came back to finish his milk. “He repeats the questions if people didn’t get it the first time around.” She put her napkin on her plate. “And did I tell you our teacher is Deaf?” she asked Dad. “He just graduated from Gallaudet.” She said all of this quickly, still signing simultaneously, because she was glad she knew sign.


            At the mention of Gallaudet, the corners of her brother’s mouth turned up, sensing her excitement. “Was that letter from Gallaudet?”


            “Ye—” Mona said, cutting herself off, and looked at her parents bewilderedly, searching for some sort of reaction.


            “Gallaudet? Why?” Dad asked, dragging his hand across the top of his head, as he tends to do when stressed, his voice getting loud again. Mom looked almost sad.


            “Oh, um,” Mona bit the inside of her lips. “Did you know that vocational rehabilitation will pay for your school costs?”


            “Really? I didn’t know that,” Mom said, smiling tremulously. “That’s nice.”


            “Mona,” Dad said, his voice deeper. His face was turning blotchy white and red, and she could see the redness through his thinning hair. He always groused that his receding hairline was due to the stress of trying to raise Mona and get her to sit still long enough to listen. Mona’s brother slowly sidled out of the room. “Did you know about this, son?” he asked him before he had the chance to disappear. He shrugged his shoulders.


            Mona’s face was a deep red, and a tear of frustration streamed down her cheek. “You guys never will understand,” she said, struggling to keep her voice and hands steady, “will you?”


12 Responses to “Manuscript 3”

  1. me Says:

    Now you’re getting somewhere. THIS is believable. This has real emotion. This is authentic. THIS one should make you proud. Very good!

  2. bookwritegirl Says:

    thanks 🙂

    btw, I’m still making up a list of the questions…:)

  3. me Says:

    One question at a time works, too. 😉

  4. me Says:

    Are you feeling a little better today? My intent was not to be hard on you, but rather to provide you with a reality check that you don’t seem to have in your life at the moment.

  5. bookwritegirl Says:

    Yes, I am actually 🙂 And yes, I really am grateful to you for the reality check–it made me stop and think. I mean, really think, esp. since you’re Deaf–hearing people can’t truly give the right sort of advice, (though they try). The fact that my moods have been all over the place doesn’t help either 😉

    It is a growing moment in life. I can mark a few major turning points in my life. The cochlear implant was one. And ASL is another. And my blog (and esp. comments) is a third 🙂

  6. bookwritegirl Says:

    Hmm…one question that’s been bugging me for a while…weather alerts. I got a visual weather alert radio, but no light to hook it up to. And fire alarms. I’m not going to live at home forever, so every five years (as is allowed by my state) I can buy up to $500 worth of assistive devices, but I never can seem to figure out the most efficient way to set it up. Especially since the rules limit you to 2 transmitters and 1 reciever (as in the case of fire alarms). What’s the best way to set it up? Or better yet, since I never seem to have the entire kit and caboodle, do you know of any “packages” that come complete with everything that you need to get started? It’s kind of a complicated question. But I live in Tornado Alley, (and I watch the weather before bed, but storms tend to whip up around midnight). So, tips? Thanks!

  7. me Says:

    Good. College is supposed to be about finding yourself, and you will have many ups and downs before you get there. I hope you will not “settle” for the easy path. Doing something contrary to what your parents want for you will be hard. I think moving away and living on your own will be good for you. Boys your age are off fighting in a war, and your parents are telling you who you can ride with to a supervised event. They are still viewing you as a child – maybe even more so because you’re deaf, and they worry about you. It’s natural of course, because they have probably never met a Deaf person who is self-confident and self- reliant. You can be that person if that’s what you want.

  8. me Says:

    About weather alerts… do you have weatherbug on your computer? You can download it for free, and it gives you alerts that are very specific to where you live. Also, just because the state only gives you $500 doesn’t mean that’s all you can spend. I mean, yes, I’m pushing you to look into VR and SSI, but they are a means to an end. You can BUY a jillion dollars worth of equipment if you want to! You can wire up every room in your house so it lights up like a Christmas tree if there’s a fire. Do you have a smoke detector with a vibrator that goes under your pillow? You should. NOW. NOBODY should ever have to depend on someone else to get them out of the house in a fire unless you are a child or physically incapacitated.
    That’s also another reason to get to know local Deaf people. Ask what kind of arrangements they have in their home and who installed it. You might also ask your local fire department what they recommend for a deaf person. You are old enough to TELL your parents what you need, because they just don’t have a clue.
    There are also weather radios you can get that plug into a light so that when the alert sounds, the light goes on.
    Do you have a Sidekick or other kind of pager? You can sign up for weather alerts that are sent right to your pager.
    I will send you some URLs tomorrow.

  9. bookwritegirl Says:

    You’re right, my parents have never met many deaf people. My mom used to work at a bank where there was a Deaf lady doing data entry…and I think they probably want me to do more than data entry. Which I will 🙂 I think moving out would be good for me too. I’m going to wait and see for VR to respond to me (if I don’t hear from them, I’m going to TTY them). They may be able to help me find and afford an apt or a dorm.

    Okay 😀 lol I wasn’t sure if there was a point where enough is enough 🙂 I personally like the Christmas tree approach…I will check the prices on the vibrating detector. They think they have a clue. After all, my dad did get the loudest detector on the market, which was 90 dB. Thanks, Dad.

    Nope, just a cell phone with free unlimited texting. Thanks 🙂

  10. bookwritegirl Says:

    Ooh, that brings me to another question. When my plan runs out on my phone (I think a year and a half more), which one do you recommend? The Sidekick or the Blackberry? Or something else? Because I think one of these things would be very conducive to my independence (like, can you check email on these things too? TTY?)

  11. me Says:

    Most students at Gallaudet have a Sidekick. I have one. It has a full keyboard that’s nicer to type on (with your thumbs) than a blackberry and the SK is cheaper than the Blackberry. SK only works with T-mobile, though, so check what the coverage is like where you live. And yes, it has email, a web browser, IM, a calendar, address book. It’s really everything I need. Also it has a very strong vibrate mode to alert you when messages come in. You can also do relay on it, which is really nice.
    The other thing you should look into is CapTel. It’s for deaf/hoh who can’t hear well on the phone, but have clear speech. It’s like a captioned telephone, but there’s no relay operator. It can give you more indepemdence in using the phone. Check the website to se if it’s available in your state. If yes, you should qualify to get one for free. Google it to find the website.

  12. bookwritegirl Says:

    I’ve got the CapTel already 🙂 yay! It’s nice 🙂 Eventually I plan to get a second phone line,that way when people call they don’t have to call this number first before mine, to get it to be captioned. 🙂

    Only downside is that it seems like it “drops” calls for a few seconds sometimes, either the sound or the captioning, so some people thought i was being rude while I was waiting for the captions to come through. So…

    cool, I’ll def. look into the SK for when my phone plan runs out 🙂 thanks!

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