>The same day I was writing about walking in memory of Lisa Hillard, her mother June passed away. This made me go a-Google-ing where I found this site which lists my uncle Darold and my surrogate dad George as two deaf men lost to AIDS. The list is thankfully short but two too long in my opinion.
Best of all, it made me find this site which is a list of 1971 graduates from the Oklahoma School for the Deaf (yes, that’s all of them on one small little page!) and not only is Darold listed, but my mom’s sister Carlina (Carly), her husband & Darold’s twin brother Douglass, and my dad’s sister Reba. That’s four out of fifteen directly related to me. Strange.
So then I found this page which is my Jailed Deaf Dad’s 1966 graduation class (ONLY SEVEN!) and this page with my mom (mispelled as Christie Worh) and her graduation class of 1965 with a whopping eight students.
This page has George’s wife Rosemary’s graduating class of 1964.
This one is my Aunt Norma’s & George’s class of ’63.
Family friend Dwight’s class of ’67.
This one has Rosemary’s dad Fred’s class of 1941 (Rosemary looks JUST like him!)
Here’s Clyde Clarke’s class…he’s the subject of this story my dad told me & Christian when we visited him in the Huntsville, Texas prison.
This class of 1944 has a lady named Ruby who I met as a teller in Akron, OH when I was working my way through college. Here’s a funny story about her & her husband:
They used to come in to my bank and go to the same teller all the time because they were deaf and she was able to figure out what they needed without sign language. So, one day, I made sure they came to my window instead. They were thrilled to know they could come to a bank and get service in sign language. What a concept! They asked my name and who my family was so I told them Crews from Oklahoma but my mother’s maiden name was Worth. They pondered for a while and realized Mr. Westlake had worked with my mom’s dad in a plant in Tulsa!
From that day forward, they waited for my window to open up. One Friday afternoon there was a particularly long line being payday and first day of the month. Mr. & Mrs. Westlake arrived and waited for me as usual. We signed our hello’s and they let me know they had a deaf friend at the bank that they had sent my way. I made sure they knew I would take care of them.
So, when my next customer approached and greeted me in sign language I said, “Hi, are you friends with Mr. & Mrs. Westlake?”
“No, I don’t know them,” they replied matter of factly.
“Hmm…really? That’s weird.” We made chit chat, I did their banking and on their way they went.
The next customer approached and they were deaf, too. They were friends with the Westlakes and they were so happy to know I could help them with all their needs and on their way they went.
The next customer approached and they TOO were deaf. They knew neither the Westlakes, the Westlakes’ friends or the other random customer, they had just “heard through the grapevine” about me. Cool, right? I finished their transaction and on their way they went.
The next customer approached and hesitantly whispered, “Can you hear?”
Half of those people listed are hopefully going to be in NYC to see me & Christian get hitched. Weird.