How’s that for a title? They say the key to getting found by the search engines is to make sure you write good titles that are relevant to what you are writing about. I do right the opposite. I figure if you find me and the title is interesting enough, you might want to read it. I don’t consider myself a blogger anyway; I just like to tell stories. Speaking of which, I’ve got a pretty good one if you will hang in there with me just a little while.
I’ve been getting excited about my Arkansas City, Kansas “honorary citizenship”. I haven’t received it in the mail yet, but I’m sure it’s on the way. If you missed that story you can find it here. Anyway, my friend Duane came in my office the other day telling me all kinds of interesting facts and trivia about Helen Keller. Being originally from Alabama, and having a Mama that was an Alabama History teacher for more than 40 years I’m always interested in finding out more about this amazing woman.
I remembered seeing something about Helen Keller when I was researching Arkansas City, Kansas. I found the page I was looking for; it was the “Early Bird Lions Club” in Arkansas City. The Lions Club as a whole does a lot of wonderful things for people with sight and hearing problems. On the Early Bird Lions Club homepage they have this video of an actress who was doing a reenactment of a 1925 Helen Keller speech. It is absolutely incredible in terms of emphasizing what an amazing person she was and also on the part of the actress who portrays her.
In watching the video, one of the ladies introducing “Helen” talked about how she learned to speak. She did so by putting her hands in her first speech teacher’s mouth feeling the shape of her mouth as she spoke and feeling the inside of her mouth to feel the position of the tongue. I find this absolutely incredible. We take so many things for granted.
This brings me to a little more humorous story. I have recently been reacquainted with a girl who I knew almost 30 years ago. She is from the same county in Alabama I am from and is married and has a beautiful family. She has a good sense a humor, so I decided to remind her of our previous “intimate” experience.
I recently asked her, “Nancie, do you remember me putting my hands in your mouth?” Admittedly some women would slap you for saying such things, but not her. She immediately apologized and asked if it was some sort of high school sorority stunt. I said, “No, you just let me do it.” Of course, she was now a little concerned as to why I would put my hands in her mouth (because she didn’t know me well at all and would have no reason whatsoever to let me put my hands in her mouth). I also swore it was the truth, which it was.
You see my high school always had a couple of weeks in the spring where you could either take classes like cooking, sewing, photography, etc. They called it “intersession.” They also planned trips you could take or they arranged with local businesses in the community for you to work in a field that you were interested in pursuing.
In my senior year of high school, I thought I might like to be a dentist. Thus, I requested the opportunity to work with a local orthodontist. I got to do it. I also got to put a couple of rubber bands in Nancie’s mouth. She was cute then. She is still cute. I probably pretty much changed her life with those rubber bands.
The story is not over; I went on to college with every intention of becoming a dentist. I even joined the “Pre-Dentistry Club”, or whatever it was called. I lasted one field trip. They took us to the state dental school and showed us around; it was a lot of fun. That is, a lot of fun until they took us into this laboratory where they were working on people that had left their bodies to science or whatever you call it. After they pulled that first sheet back, I decided that I might better be a rocket scientist or something. My short career as a “pretend dentist” did have its perks. I got to tell the story of putting my hands in Nancie’s mouth, installing some rubber bands, and maybe even using a tongue depressor. She’s been having a lot of dreams lately; this should really get to her.
Again, I will note that I am proud to be from Alabama; the birthplace of Helen Keller (I’m also very proud to be from Williamsburg, VA and Arkansas City, KS). The amazing story of Helen Keller cranks my tractor (putting rubber bands in cute girls mouths wasn’t too bad either for a high school fellow).