Thursday, January 13, 2005


When I grew up, I heard the stories that Philadelphia has a large Deaf Community who also had a sharp comments for each other. In other words, they were excessively blunt with each other. They will insult anyone to ensure that their message is noted. Often with each other. But they seemed to be cordial towards hearing people, for some reasons unknown to me.

Until one woman.

My friend who was raised in Philadelphia told me a story about this woman. She was 5'0 and heavy. Let's call her ... Ms. C. She had a deaf son who went to a nearby deaf school at Mt. Airy. However, there was a special event at a local deaf club -- a play sponsored by hearing group who wanted to entertain the Deaf people of all ages. A play that was set up inside the club on a stage.

Ms. C had a seat up in the front, along with her husband and others. It was packed.

This happened in 1950s or 1960s, I'm not certain the exact decade. However, Deaf people also paid for the admission as well.

The play was, suffice to say, corny. It was silly. It was not for adults. It was as if the hearing persons thought the audience were dumb to figure out the complex of a simple story. At one point, my friend saw a hearing actor who sprayed the watergun onto the audience. It sprayed onto Ms. C.

Fatal mistake.

Ms. C was calm and calculating. She waited.

When the play ended, a polite applause ensued. The director who is hearing but able to sign very well, came on the stage to thank for the support and asked for any feedbacks in order to improve the play.

Ms. C was quick to raise her hand to a point where everyone else was startled by her hand in the air.

The director acknowledged Ms. C, she stood and said:


Ms. C then sat down. The director was stunned and said, "What?"

Ms. C stood quickly and blasted her to smithereens that her play is good for mentally retarded people! Lots of Deaf people were stunned at her approach with the woman. The director sobbed and fled the stage. Some scolded her for her abrasive comments, she shrugged and said, "Sometimes they needed it!"

Very true.

Today, her son is the Superintendent of a deaf school and has a doctorate degree.

Smart woman.


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