Lloyd and Kathleen Moe Transcript
Minnesota Deaf Heritage Oral-Visual Interview with Lloyd and Kathleen Moe
This interview with Lloyd Moe (LM) and Kathleen Moe (KM) was incorporated into the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans’ (MNCDHH) Oral-Visual History Project. This interview was originally produced by the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Metro Division (DHHSD) of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. This interview took place in 1997. The interviewer was Robert “Bob” Cook (BC).
A note about translation of this interview: The interview was recorded in American Sign Language (ASL). The interviewer and interviewees used ASL as a first language, and the signed information was translated into vernacular or spoken English by interpreters.
This transcript and the open captions in the video are based on the spoken English information.
Actions are in brackets. Translation notes are in parentheses and italics (using the emphasis font), and they represent additional information and corrections about what was said.
Transcript of Interview with Lloyd and Kathleen Moe
Key to names:
KM = Kathleen Moe (signs in American Sign Language, voiced in English by interpreters)
LM = Lloyd Moe (signs in American Sign Language, voiced in English by interpreters)
BC = Robert “Bob” Cook (signs in American Sign Language, voiced in English by interpreters)
[Visual of title graphic “Minnesota Deaf Heritage: An Interview with Lloyd and Kathleen Moe”]
[Robert “Bob” Cook is sitting with Lloyd and Kathleen Moe for the interview.]
BC: Hello. I’d like to introduce a special couple – Lloyd and Kathleen Moe. Both very good friends of mine. I’d like to ask you both some questions, but I’ll start with Kathleen. Could you tell me about yourself - where you grew up, what your education was like?
KM: Well, I became Deaf at the age of three due to spinal meningitis. I started school when I was four years old, which made me the youngest student in the school. At that time, my family had many difficulties. My mother had been quite ill and my father had left us. So, I went off to Faribault (the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf – MSAD) when I was four. I feel very lucky to have attended the Faribault school for fourteen years and to have graduated from there. I really loved that school.
BC: And Lloyd, tell us about yourself.
LM: I was born in Duluth, Minnesota. As a boy, I had normal hearing until the age of eight, at which time I also became Deaf due to spinal meningitis. I started off attending a regular public school, but after I became Deaf I went to an oral school in Duluth. For five years I didn’t learn a thing. We received a brochure from the school for the Deaf (MSAD) in Faribault. My parents asked me what I thought. I looked through the brochure and I really liked what I saw. What really convinced me was that they even had sports! So, I decided I wanted to go to Faribault. I was at Faribault for the next six years, right up until my graduation. So, that’s it, really.
BC: Kathleen, can you tell us, where were you born?
KM: Who me?! Well, I was born in Duluth.
BC: Ah, I’m interested in finding out how the two of you met. Kathleen or Lloyd?
KM: Well, as I remember it, I met Lloyd when I was twelve years old. I knew him when we were at Faribault, but not very well. Then, I went to some kind of church program during the summer one year. My mother, sister, and my niece went also, and we all had to fit into one car. Well, Lloyd went along, too, and since we didn’t have much room, I had to sit on his lap. My niece, who was sitting next to me, kept giggling and nudging me, telling me I was going to marry Lloyd. I would turn and say “No, I HATE him! I HATE him!” And then, years later, he became my husband.
BC: How long have you two been married? Has it been fifty years? Lloyd?
LM: Yes, as of last April.
LM: Fifty years this past April. She’s had to have a lot of patience with me and I’ve had to have a lot of patience with her too. That’s how we’ve gotten through fifty years okay.
BC: Well, congratulations on your 50th year anniversary.
KM: Thank you.
BC: I know that you are both very active in the Deaf community in your hometown of Duluth. For years, you’ve managed to stay active. What are you perspectives on the Deaf community in Duluth and the surrounding area? How have things changed through the years? Kathleen?
KM: Well, I taught sign language (American Sign Language – ASL) at the University of Minnesota Duluth for three years and then I taught a few years at Duluth Technical College. I’ve also done a lot of volunteer teaching of sign language in my home. I’d say things in Duluth are much better now than before. The Regional Service Center (RSC) has really helped a lot. It kept us informed and up-to-date. I feel like we have a lot of support now.
LM: It’s sad to say, but I feel that the Deaf community in Duluth is really shrinking. Some Deaf people have quit their jobs and relocated to the Twin Cities or other areas. What can I say? I agree that the Regional Service Center has aided us quite a bit, especially in educating the hearing community about deafness, Deaf people and other issues. I have also helped Kathleen teach sign language through community education and the technical school. But I usually sit back most of the time and let Kathleen do her thing.
KM: He also established a club for the Deaf for people who live in the northern part of the state. He started that club many years ago. Thirty-five years ago now, I think.
BC: Tell me more about that, Lloyd.
LM: Well, the club was started with about forty members from northern Minnesota. It was established with the hope of serving northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and parts of Michigan. Unfortunately, people from Michigan never really attended. The club grew with many members from all over northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota, including the Iron Range. But lately, the size of our membership has really diminished. Now, I think we only have ten or fifteen members left?
KM: Sixteen. Sixteen, I think.
LM: Sixteen members. That’s all. Many people have moved out of the area and then there are many others who just aren’t really interested in socializing in the Deaf community anymore. Many just tend to stay at home instead. I’ve also noticed the same sort of thing happening here in the Twin Cities. People just don’t go to Deaf meetings or to Deaf social events. So, I think the two regions are really in the same boat.
BC: Why do you think that is? Have the number of job opportunities in Duluth decreased?
LM: Yes, the number of jobs has dropped. You know, many of the mines in northern Minnesota have been shut down. This impacted many of the other businesses that relied on the mines one way or another. So, with the closing of the mines, many of these other businesses also left. The lack of work is really one reason why the number of Deaf people in our area has decreased.
BC: So, what types of jobs do Deaf people from northern Minnesota typically hold? Printing? Working in bakeries? Could you tell me more?
LM: Many Deaf people work for newspapers doing typesetting. Another large employer in our area was a tool plant called Diamond Tool. That was one business which employed about eighteen or twenty Deaf people. Over the years, many of those people moved away, retired, and some died. The work force there dwindled down to one Deaf man who did end up retiring. Then, a few years ago the plant finally closed. Diamond Tool moved all its operations to North Dakota leaving nothing in Duluth. I was sorry to see that happen. Some call it progress, but I don’t know.
BC: I know you have quite a family. Tell me more about that. Kathleen?
KM: Well, we have two boys and two girls. Of course, all are grown up and married now. None of them are Deaf. Many people ask me if any of our children are Deaf and I always explain, “No, none of our children are Deaf. Lloyd and I did not have congenital deafness; we both became Deaf as children. So that’s why we have all hearing children.” My daughters have both become interpreters, but our sons really can’t sign very well. They sign well enough for me to understand them, but I don’t think everyone else could. We also have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. What else? Hmm, well, I hope that’s enough!
BC: So, all of your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all are hearing? None of them are Deaf?
KM: That’s right. All of them are hearing. Yes.
BC: You said that your two hearing boys don’t sign very well? Was their father too lazy to teach them?! How about that, Lloyd?
LM: Yea, sure, right. Blame me. That’s nothing new. You see, Kathleen and I can both speak fairly well, so we usually spoke with our children. Our two daughters picked up enough sign over the years to become certified interpreters, but they didn’t learn sign from us. They took courses to learn sign and to interpret. Our sons know enough sign to understand Kathleen and I, but not enough to become interpreters themselves.
BC: Now, I have another question for you. Do either of you have any hobbies? Kathleen?
KM: Well, I don’t really have a hobby anymore. My hobby used to be picking on Lloyd. He’s always complaining about how much I pick on him, so, I finally gave it up.
BC: How about you, Lloyd?
LM: Picking on me? Hmm. That’s an interesting hobby. I like it. I can handle it. Really, let me think. My hobby is working with Deaf people in the community. I also enjoy working with various Deaf organizations. I served on the board of many Deaf organizations and have held several different offices: president, vice-president, secretary, but I’ve never been treasurer. I’m not too good at handling money myself. Just too much temptation! But, yes, that would be my hobby, I guess.
BC: I remember when I was a young boy, I really looked up to you, Lloyd, due to your involvement and your leadership in the community. So, I thank you for that. Kathleen, you also influenced me by setting an example of long-term involvement in the community. So, I thank you as well. And now, my final question. Share with me your perspectives about deafness. That could be on things in Duluth, in Greater Minnesota, or in the United States in general. What are some of the pros and cons? What have been the triumphs and defeats? What do you think, Kathleen?
KM: I feel that things have really gotten better for the Deaf. However, I still think that hearing people tend to dictate to and control Deaf people. Deaf people want to have control over themselves. Hearing people still have a tendency to try and tell Deaf people what to do. For example, when we were at the Faribault school, we were taught to follow along with and agree with what we were being told and to believe that the hearing people knew what was best for us and would take care of us. That’s really a bad habit. I hope that it’s a habit that will be broken at the Faribault school. They really need to allow the kids more power and let them make more of their own decisions. So, I believe that things are better, yes. Things have improved, but not quite enough.
BC: What about you, Lloyd?
LM: I remember before I became widely active in Deaf affairs, back when I was serving at the local level in the Northern Deaf Club, I would often encounter hearing people who would tend to get really infuriated with me. They would say things like: “You Deaf people should sit down and let US tell you what to do. We know what is best for you!” I’d think to myself, “Oh, DO you?!” Then I’d get busy just to prove Deaf people can do anything they want. This type of attitude persisted throughout the entire forty-four years that I worked for an optical company. It still went on even after my retirement and my move here. Another thing that happened to me occurred at an MADC (Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens) board meeting. I had gone in just to see what was going on. I went in and by the time I went to leave, I found I’d somehow gotten back on the board. There was a shortage of members and there were several vacancies on the board due to people moving away. They asked me to serve and I said, “Yes,” and ended up staying on the board for one more year. I dare say, then, it was my vote that counted and not my actions.
BC: OK. Thank you for your time.
KM: You’re most welcome.
LM: You’re welcome.
BC: I’ll see you next time!