I live within 25 miles of the State's School for the Deaf and Blind, and you'd think that the place would be crawling with Deaf people. Not so. Since I moved here 2 years ago, I have seen only a small handful of Deaf people. I remember once, we were driving back home from our monthly shopping excursion to the next biggest town and I happened to see a couple outside signing. I told Hubby to stop the car and turn around!! After introductions, they were a younger couple, still in their early 20s and you could tell they didn't really want to make new friends. They explained to me that most people around here tend to keep to themselves and proceeded to point in different directions saying, "so-and-so lives a few miles that way and so-and-so live down this road..." We said our good-byes and I haven't seen them again since.
Once, when I was thinking of enrolling my oldest child into daycare, I called via relay to make an appointment. When I got there, they had asked one of the volunteers to interpret for me, which was thoughtful on their part. Only trouble was, their "interpreter" was just someone that had a deaf child and only knew home signs. I couldn't understand her signs! I ended up telling them that I didn't need an interpreter and that I could talk and read lips. I should have said something about her home signs, but I already felt awkward and didn't want to make the situation any more uncomfortable than it was.
This morning, I went to the town's small food store and my hearing aid battery died. Just my luck, I didn't have any extras on me. Of course, the moment my hearing aid battery doesn't work, is the moment the cashier wants to make conversation with me. I had to tell her that I couldn't hear her because my hearing aid battery died and where did they keep the batteries. She was kind enough to give me the pack after she rang them up. After changing out batteries, and she saw that I could hear again, she started to talk with me. So, even though I don't see any Deaf people walking around, the locals seem comfortable with being around Deaf people.
We didn't move here because of the Deaf school, we just happened to see an ad for our house and liked the area. Only later, did I find out that the Deaf school was just down the road from us. The Deaf school is a beautiful place, with old buildings and a pretty campus and right there on Main Street. Some weekends, I will take my children to the playground and let them run and play. One of these days I will have to go and find info on Deaf clubs or events and start meeting the local Deaf people. Some people might have done that within a month or two of moving here, but as I said in one of my earlier posts, I wasn't interested in the Deaf world at the time. I just focused on my growing family and making our new house a home. As any mom will tell you, that is a full time job, with overtime, just taking care of the kids and home.
It's true that people around here keep to themselves. That's why we moved here, too. To get away from the city and live a slower-paced life in the country. Neighbors are few and far, and the local town just has the bare necessities. No malls here, no big walmart... just Mom and Pop stores and basic services. People are so friendly here and wave as you drive past, and we have made some nice friends with some of the people here. Locals like going to the firehouse for weekly bingo and bi-weekly breakfasts. Hunting is big around here and come deer hunting season, you see many trucks and ATVs with deer in the back. What do the local Deaf do around here? Where do they go for fun? I'm going to find out!! Stay tuned!