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Signs of Minnesota

Signs of Minnesota was recorded by Doug Bowen-Bailey of Digiterp Communications and produced on DVD as a benefit for the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens (MADC) and the Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MRID). 

MNCDHH is thankful to Digiterp Communications, MADC, and MRID for allowing us to share the Signs of Minnesota video. Their generosity allows us access to indispensable short stories of 29 deaf Minnesotans; Doug Bahl, Leo Bond, Roger Brown, Mike Cashman, Toni Dalbec, Lynn Eccles, Denise Egbert, Connie Erickson, Toni Fairbanks, Jerry Geist, Betty Hastings, Daniel Hepokoski, Jonie Langdon, Marian Lucas, Krista McKenzie, David Moberg, Bud Norton, Andrew Oehrlein, Debbie Peterson, Sherri Rademacher, Kim Sackett, Susan Siemsen, Randy Shank, Trudy Suggs, Diane Suhr, Gary Suhr, Elee Vang, Kim Wassenaar, and Alex Zeibot.

Descriptive transcript

[Video opens with shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks. White text appears in the center: “A Brief History of Olof Hanson, Doug Bahl.” Video cuts away to a view of a red brick with white trimmings, two-story building with a cupola on the roof. Video transits to the front stoop, with a blue sign with white text standing off to the side: “Dawes House”. Video cuts to the doors with Doug Bahl standing in front of it, signing. Doug, a white male with balding hair, is dressed in a dark buttoned shirt and glasses. White subtitles appear at the bottom.]

>> Doug: I’m here at Gallaudet University standing in front of Dawes House. The building was designed by the famous architect, Olof Hanson, who used to live in Minnesota. He was born in Sweden in about 1860. His native language was Swedish, and he became Deaf at the age of 12. His family ended up settling in Minnesota, and they sent him to the School for the Deaf in Faribault. So, he ended up learning English and ASL at the same time. Of course, back then they didn’t call it ASL. It was referred to as ‘sign language’ or ‘manual communication’. Anyway, he graduated from Faribault and went on to attend Gallaudet where he graduated in 1886. After graduation, he decided he wanted to study architecture and so he went to study in Paris for a year, also taking time to visit a number of Deaf schools in Europe studying their architectural design. After coming back to the US, he worked for a while as a draftsman. In the 1890s, the economy wasn’t good, so he took a position teaching PE at the Deaf school in Faribault. After he saved some money, he decided to start his own architectural firm there in Faribault. As he got started, his first big work was designing Dawes House for Gallaudet College. Originally, it was used as the boys’ dorm for Kendall School. Now it is used for offices and classrooms.It used to house the Interpreter Training Program, but that has since moved. Olof Hanson went on to design many buildings. Dawes House happens to be the oldest one still standing. Many of the ones he designed around the US are no longer there. The last building he designed before he died was Thompson Hall, in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was for the Deaf club, and is still used for that purpose today. So, that was the last one he designed, and I stand in front of the oldest one of his buildings, still standing. So, I really feel it's a honor to be here talking about this history here and in Minnesota. 

>> Doug (continued): Anyway, Olof Hanson was married and had three hearing daughters. As business turned out to not be so good, he moved to Washington state to start business with a hearing partner. In the midst of tough competition, he decided to become an Episcopal clergyman. He became involved with NAD and state agencies, later became the NAD president from 1910 to 1913. One of the biggest successes of his tenure was addressing the concerns of Deaf people who wanted to work at the federal level in the civil service. But the policy at that time was one of total discrimination. Olof Hanson wrote a letter to President Roosevelt which persuaded him to change the policy. So, the many Deaf people who work for the Federal government today have Olof Hanson to thank for influencing the president to stop the discrimination. Olof continued his involvement in the Deaf community, but did not keep up with his architectural design. He did work at the University of Washington - Seattle as a landscape architect. He died in 1933. Deaf people in Minnesota remember his name because the school in Faribault is on Olof Hanson Drive. So whenever we write that address, we remember Olof Hanson and his contributions as an architect, a community leader, and a clergyman. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks. with new text: “An Olympic Challenge, Leo Bond”. Video cuts to a view of Leo Bond, a Black man wearing a white T-shirt and standing in a corner where white walls meet. A clock is visible on the wall behind him. Leo signs.]

>> Leo: My name is Leo Bond. I grew up in Minnesota. I went to the School for the Deaf in Faribault as a young boy. I was involved in track there, competing against other high school teams. I was a champion 3 times in the 440 yard dash. My coach, Ron Mitchell, asked me if I wanted to go to the Deaf Olympics. It was in Sweden. I was a little overwhelmed, but excited by the prospect. I trained for the next couple of months and then flew to Sweden. It took me some time to get used to the scene, seeing everyone sign differently but it was quite a spectacle to behold. I was there for two weeks. And I met my main competition from Germany who was also in the 440. I was new to this level of competition, but he had a lot of experience. I felt like a little kid compared to him. Anyway, we both made it through the preliminary rounds and came to face each other in the finals. When I saw him when we were ready to race, I was pretty nervous but worked on keeping my cool. We both took our positions at the start, and when the gun went off, he shot out of the blocks. I wasn’t expecting him to take off so fast . So, I trailed him by about 25 feet around the first corner. I knew that he tended to let up at the end, so I tried to gauge when it would be the best time to make my move. Coming down the straightaway, I finally caught up to him and we crossed the finish line in a virtual tie. Crossing the line, the German runner looked at me in shock. We didn’t know what to think. All of the fans were in shock from how close the finish was. Everyone was wondering who won. We all waited as the judges discussed the race. My heart was racing from excitement. All of my family and fans were also nervous. When the judges finally announced that I had won, I was overcome. The German runner accepted the decision with dignity, though it was the first time he had been beaten. We both had the same time of 47.5. So, it was virtually a tie. But I was awarded first place and he got second. 

>> Leo (continued): The next race was the 800 meters. In that race, I led the pack and actually broke the world record with a time of 1.53.7. After that, I toured around some on vacation. Four years later, it was time for the Olympics again. It was in 1977 and I went to Rome. I was more comfortable the second time around. I had done my training and felt really positive. It was really fun to get to meet Deaf people from all around the world. Then came the time for competition. In the 440, I won in a world record time of 47 flat. And again, I doubled with a win in the 800 with a world record time of 1:49.7. I was also in the mile relay which we won. So altogether, in 1973, I won four golds, and in 1977, I won three, for a grand total of seven. I was satisfied with my accomplishments and realized that I had enough of that competition. But I was so grateful for my fans, and everyone who supported me, as well as the Deaf people who I met from around the world. So, I decided to retire and leave the sport, though it is something I still miss. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Working Between Worlds, Roger Brown”. Video transitions to Roger, a Black man wearing a white shirt and standing in front of a white wall with posters painted by children on the wall behind him. He signs.]

>> Roger: I’ve been working at Honeywell for the past 31 years. It has meant years of the challenges of trying to communicate with hearing people. Watching conversations go on around me. Using writing to communicate as best as I could. Trying to teach sign to co-workers, but having them give up and not be patient with me. It’s the frustration of all the conversations going on around me that didn’t include me. Then, about three years ago, I started working here at MDS as a janitor. Working here with other deaf people is completely different than working in the hearing world. For so many years, I was out of the loop, that it took me some effort to catch up to being included at MDS. The education children receive here is really impressive. The kids are not afraid to engage adults in conversation which is inspiring to see. Working in the hearing world is so different. Nice to have the balance of working at MDS. The kids nowadays ae very fortunate. I remember being ashamed and slow at learning things. I support being involved with the deaf community from a very young age. I appreciate having the chance to work in both the hearing and Deaf worlds. Each have things which just have to be accepted. You need to pay respect where it is due. I am so grateful to work at MDS and be able to catch up on all that I have missed. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Few Good Men…, Mike Cashman”. Video transitions to Mike, a white man with dark curly hair. He wears glasses and a light collared shirt, and is standing in front of a white wall with a brown door behind him. He signs.]

>> Mike: Hi. My name is Mike Cashman and I am Deaf. I have one story that I would like to share with you. While I was a Gallaudet student – it was Gallaudet College at that time, Though now it is Gallaudet University, a couple of my friends and I went to downtown Washington, DC. We were out walking in search of a good restaurant. There were many good dining opportunities around Georgetown University, which is where we were. There were some places with Greek food and lots of other international cuisine. After all, Washington, DC is very much an international city hosting many embassies for nations around the world. And so the food in the city reflects the diverse people who come to Washington. Anyway, as the three of us were walking, we spied a Marines recruiting station. I asked my friends if they wanted to go in and see if we could enlist. My friends thought I was being absurd, because Deaf people couldn’t do that, but I convinced them to just go with me and see what kind of response we would get. As we entered, a Marine with a crew cut and decorations on his uniform stood and immediately began talking to us. None of us could understand anything he was saying, so we gestured to our ears that we were deaf. He was a bit thrown by this because he didn’t seem to understand what deaf people would be doing there. But he offered us some chairs and we sat down.

>> Mike (continued):  I wrote a note to him, “ We want to enlist,” meaning that we wanted to join the military. He was obviously flustered at this request, at least in part due to the lack of effective communication between us. But he eventually articulated that Deaf people don’t go into the military. I, however, wasn’t satisfied with such a simple answer. I asked him to show me the regulations which said that deaf people cannot enlist in the military. He got on the phone and called his supervisor out to the front. He tried to just shoo us away, but I wrote to him that I wanted to see the regulations which prevented deaf people from enlisting. His response was that there were no such regulations but that deaf people simply couldn’t join up. He told us flat out that we wouldn't want to join the military. To me, that last statement about “not wanting to join the military” was so ironic because they spend all their time out trying to recruit people to join, and there, in black and white, he had written to us, “You don’t want to join the military.” So, the three of us got up and left the recruiting station. As we talked about it afterwards, we all just felt it was a really strange experience. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Introducing…, Toni Dalbec". Video transitions to Toni, a white woman with short dark hair, wearing a yellow Vikings T-shirt. She sits in front of a tan brick wall and signs.]

>> Toni: My name is Toni Dalbec. I’m deaf and I have cerebral palsy. I’ve had CP my whole life and I live here in Duluth. I grew up at the school in Faribault. I finished in 1979 and was glad about that. I’m deaf. I’m happy to see you, my friend. I don’t have any friends. I’m really lonely. I enjoy visiting. I support computers. Computers have really helped me by using video relay. Thank you very much! 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “School and Family Struggles, Lynn Eccles”. Video transitions to Lynn, a white woman with short blonde hair and wearing a dark long-sleeved sweater. She sits in front of a rock-covered wall, and signs.]

>> Lynn: Hi, I am Lynn Eccles. I would like to share a little about my life story. I was born deaf. When starting school, I was mainstreamed into a public school. They had an oral program that included lipreading, speech, and frustration. I just didn’t connect. In my family, any kind of conversation was hard. I would miss most of what was being talked about. One night, we were watching the TV show, “Little House on the Prairie”. I was enthralled with it. My brother and sister sat next to me, just as enthralled. Whenever they laughed, I asked them what was so funny. They just told me it wasn’t important. I felt very discounted by their not thinking I was worth the time of an explanation. So, I just went to my room and read a book. There just wasn’t communication with my family. When I had started middle school, I was still in a mainstream program. My parents required speech therapy for me, even though I didn’t want it. I was told I had to follow the rules. So I had to endure all the frustration that came with speech therapy. I knew only a bit of sign by the age of nine, but continued to pick it up. In middle school, my signing wasn’t yet fluent ASL, more singing influenced by English. Communication at home was the same as ever – all rebelled and quarreling. My self-esteem was very low. At school I worked hard to make connections and found that as my escape. Being at home was the last place I wanted to be. 

>> Lynn (continued): When I started high school, my mother and I were in an endless debate. My mother wanted me to go to St. Louis Park, where there is a Deaf/Hard of Hearing program. I didn’t want to go, but she insisted, which just led to more arguments. I decided to be assertive and go to Osseo High School, which was the school in my hometown. I met with the principal at the high school and asked if I could register for classes. He told me I could. I expressed that an interpreter was the only accommodation I needed. The principal could fingerspell which was great and helped communication. Then I registered for the classes I was interested in and got a copy of my registration. Then asked if I could have proof for my parents that I had the right to choose whatever school I wanted. The principal there was a law that would prove that. It was law 507 or something. He said I needed to check the library. I went to the library downtown. I asked the librarian there if she had a law book that related to 507 and she verified that she did. While she led me to it, I remembered a former interpreter talking about that law. I finally found the law book and read the section I was looking for. It said that a child old enough to make a decision can choose their school. Parents didn’t have control over that. This was just what I was looking for. I asked for a copy of that section of the law. So, I had that and my registration papers. I walked about 11 blocks home and waited for my parents to get home from work. When they came in, my mother said had registered me for St. Louis Park High School. She gave me the form and I looked it over. The courses she picked for me were nothing I was interested in. I looked my mother in the eye and tore the papers in front of her. My mother started fuming. I told her that I didn’t want to go there. She told me I ripped the copy and the original was on file. 

>> Lynn (continued): I proceeded to show her both papers that I had. She saw the Osseo HS registration first and couldn’t believe I did that without her agreeing to it. I told her to read the other paper about the law. She refused to accept what I said. I told her I had rights, but she thought I couldn’t make decisions because I was deaf. I told her I was determined to go to Osseo High School regardless of her decision.  The argument about it raged on for almost 3 weeks. The day before school started, (and both schools started the same day) mom wanted to strike a deal. She asked if I was determined to go to Osseo. I most definitely was. I still had an attitude because my mother and I never got along. Ever! She proposed making a deal and I wanted to know what she meant. Her proposal was that I could go to Osseo for the first quarter or semester, i cant remember, provided I passed all my courses with a “C” or better. If I did that, I could go another quarter. But if I got a D+ or worse in any of the courses, I’d have to go to St. Louis Park. I thought that this was doable so I agreed to her terms. I worked hard in all of the classes and the interpreter very nice. Home was a mess, but at school, I plugged away and was very involved. I could walk there and enjoyed school. One negative was the lack of a social life. My one regret. I did have some hearing friends who tried to learn sign and that was nice. Home life was a disaster as always. I passed every quarter and never had a D+ or below. My mother assumed I was the teachers’ pet which only led to more arguments. One day my mother asked me if I wanted to continue. I said yes until I graduated. My mother asked if I was sure I would succeed. I said I could. I believed in the power of positive thinking, but my mom was a naysayer. I was determined to show her, and four years later I graduated. I had succeeded. After that I left for Gallaudet College to start a new life. I cut all connections to my mother and I haven’t seen her since. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “The Family Bed, Denise Egbert”. Video transitions to Denise, a white woman with short brown hair and wearing a light colored shirt. She stands outside on a tree-covered grass field. She signs.]

>> Denise: My name is Denise Egbert. My husband’s name is Clyde. We have a 15 month old daughter named Isadora. When she was first born, she slept in a bassinet. I was breastfeeding her. As she grew bigger, we found that the bassinet was too small, so we transferred her to a crib. I found that the three of us didn’t sleep very well. I was waking up constantly to feed her. My husband and I discussed this issue. We did some research and found out about ‘family sleep’. What we did was have Isadora sleep next to me in our bed all night. When she awoke, I would feed her and she would fall back to sleep again. I noticed we were all were much happier. We all slept better and weren’t sleep deprived anymore. We slept peacefully. I think that should happen in every family, if possible. Isadora is 15 months old now and her vocabulary is extensive. She signs very well and is so cute. She picked up some signs on her own. For example, we have a rug on the floor at home. She would pick up debris from the floor and give it to me. I would sign ‘thank you’. I always sign ‘thank you’. She would see the sign over and over again. Sometimes she would put the debris in her mouth. I would say no-no… give it to me. When she gave me the scrap and I would again sign ‘thank you.’ One day I picked something up, and she signed ‘thank you’ to me. I was shocked. She learned that all on her own. 

>> Denise (continued): Another example was a night when I came home from work. My husband always signed, ‘Momma’s home!’ I would come in and sign, ‘Hi!’ We did this every time I came home from work. One day she signed, ‘Momma!’ She learned all by herself. She has done this numerous times with different signs. Last week, I saw her using four different signs. Though her signing might not be clear to others. She was trying to tell me ‘Want drink of water, please’. She signed a four-word sentence already at 15 months old. Which is impressive and shows that signing is good for any kid at any age. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Rock Climbing at UMD, Connie Erickson”. Video transitions to Connie, a white woman with light hair pulled back. She wears a tie-dye shirt and stands in front of a plant-covered wall. She signs.]

>> Connie: Hello,  my name is Connie Erickson. I would like to tell you a story about rock climbing at the University of Minnesota - Duluth. Maybe about 6 or 7 years ago, I first went into a building with a rink. On the far side of the rink is where the rock climbing wall is located. I walked in, looked around and was fascinated. The rock wall had two different columns. The route on the right was called a tower. The other was called a chimney. It was all very cool. I was there to learn the basics from a teaching assistant (TA) with an interpreter. She explained that I needed a belt, harness, and some special climbing shoes. When I was geared up, I learned about hooking up and a rope and about belaying. When I was ready to climb the wall, I had to inform my belayer that I was ready. Once I communicated with my belayer, I could start climbing. The challenge was to look for the easiest hand placements and make my way up the wall. I had to take a few breaks to catch my breath and sometimes looked to see how high I was. I got to a ledge and rested. Then continued on and finally made it to the top. That was a great relief. I looked down and it was about 70 feet. Then I had to go back down. So holding on the rope, I journeyed down. It was really quite an experience to have. I have been rock climbing now for about 3 or 4 years. I have fallen in love with it. Inf act, I was so interested I pursued getting my own equipment. After getting the information, I went to the store and bought my own gear. Now I have my own gear and bring it with me wherever I go. Rock climbing has become a favorite activity of mine. I absolutely love it. I haven’t been on an outdoor climbing adventure, but do think about it. Just have to find the time. I prefer the indoor wall because it’s much easier for me. And it’s really cool.  On that wall, there are many different routes. Some are easier.  One in the center is really tough, but trying it has been a good experience for me. If any deaf people are interested, they should come on over. It’s free to get in. There are people to help you get started and the gear is already there. So come on in. It’s a good idea and would be a good experience for you. That’s all I have to say. The end. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Challenging Pregnancy, Toni Fairbanks”. Video transitions to Toni, a white woman with curly blonde hair, wearing a gray shirt over a red long sleeved shirt. She stands outside in a tree-covered grass field and signs.]

>> Toni: Hello my name is Toni Fairbanks and I’d like to share a story with you about my pregnancy. I went to a doctor’s appointment on a Friday at 1:30pm. The doctor did a check-up and found that I had a miscarriage. I was devastated over the news, but I tried to accept it. I went home and during the weekend I was still not feeling well. I was throwing up and had severe cramping which was puzzling to me. Monday morning I decided to call the doctor and he told me to come in. I went in and took a pregnancy test. The doctor found that I was still pregnant. I could not believe it. I was sent to the hospital for an ultrasound thinking I might have had twins and lost one. Wondering if I was still carrying the other baby. So many questions. I tried to stay positive on the short drive to the hospital. The ultrasound showed that I was pregnant with twins! I was shocked. I had been pregnant with triplets but lost one. The remaining two were okay. I was told I was carrying them low and had to return to the doctor for instructions. The position of the babies put them at risk of another miscarriage. The doctor ordered me not to work and to be on bed rest for six weeks. I couldn’t even do any work around the house because the babies were  too low. I had to elevate  my legs on 4 pillows which was not comfortable. To keep myself occupied I read books and rented a  lot of videos. Back then, we didn’t have a satellite dish. I watched a lot of TV and videos. Those six weeks of bed rest seemed like an eternity, but I made it through. I went in for another ultrasound and found that the babies were higher and safer. It meant I was able to go back to work doing light duty tasks. I worked pushing coins around in carts which were very heavy. I told my employer and I was able to be transferred to light duty. 

>> Toni (continued): In the rest of my pregnancy, I was constantly sick. I had no appetite and lost 50 pounds. I was hospitalized twice to get some nourishment through an IV. The pregnancy was really an ordeal of suffering and disappointment. Finally, after eight months, labor started. Both babies were breech, so I had a C-section. I had a boy and a girl. The boy had underdeveloped lungs, and sleep apnea. He was sent to another hospital which was frustrating for me. At the same time my son was so far away, I couldn’t bond with my daughter. I didn’t feel a connection with her because I was so concerned for my son. I felt like I was dealing with the loss all over again. I didn’t feel like I was a mother to either of these two babies. I was constantly calling to check on my son. He was improving everyday. I finally looked at my daughter and started to feel guilty. I picked her up and felt that immediate connection. We really bonded! My daughter stayed in  the hospital a bit longer because of her jaundice. It was just one thing after another. The minute I was discharged I went to see my son. I didn’t even go home first. In fact, I just had my husband drop me off and go park so I could go straight in! When I finally got to hold him, I felt an immediate connection. He stayed in the hospital for six weeks before coming home. Now, they are both healthy and 8 years old. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Trip to Nepal, Gerald Geist”. Video transitions to Gerald, a white man with dark hair and beard, wearing glasses and a plaid buttoned shirt. He stands outside in front of trees and signs.]

>> Gerald: My name is Jerry Geist. I want to tell you a story about my travels to Nepal. In the year 2002, while I traveled around Nepal, I went to one National park called Chitwan National Park. I took the opportunity of seeing wild animals there, such as rhinos, elephants, Bengal tigers, and others. I first went to a travel agency to negotiate the cost of going on a tour. Of all the tours available, I picked one and agreed upon a time that worked best for me. The day came and I joined the tour guide in the van. We traveled about three houses south from town. We went south to the national park which is right on the border with India. After arriving, we drove to a river and got into a canoe. We canoed over to an island. The island had a jungle where wild animals live. We all hiked to cabins where we stayed the night. The next morning we got an outlined plan for the different parts of the tour. I decided to do the elephant ride. We went down a trail to tree with a connected platform. It seemed to be about 15 feet high. We went up onto the platform and waited. We then saw the elephants coming toward the platform. The trainer maneuvered one elephant under the platform. On the elephant’s back was another platform fit for four people to sit on. The trainer sat on the elephant’s neck. I ended up sitting on the back left side of the elephant. When we were all loaded and ready, we started on our journey through the jungle looking for rhinos. We enjoyed the ride on our search. Finally, we spotted one rhino lying next to a waterhole. He seemed to be resting because he was warm and it was hot there. All of us took many pictures. 

>> Gerald (continued): As we were leaving, our elephant decided to chase another rhino. The trees toppled over from the elephant charging the rhino. The branches were brushing the tops of our heads and I had to duck a few times. Even though all of this was happening, I managed to take some pictures. I did lose my hat and I thought it was gone until a woman sitting in front of me informed the trainer. The trainer then stopped the elephant and steered the elephant backwards. The elephant then pivoted and grabbed it with his trunk and handed it to the trainer, who then passed it back to me. I thought it was cool that the elephant picked up my hat. At the end of the hour and half tour, we stopped to have some lunch. At about 3pm they announced that it was elephant bathing time. The guide asked if anyone was interested in doing this and a group of us headed down to the river. We climbed on their backs and they lumbered into the river. The elephants played with the people by getting a trunk full of water and spraying it straight up into the air, thus soaking people. That was fun! Then the elephants lay on their sides and we washed their bellies. Their skin is unbelievably rough! This is how the elephants kept cool on hot days. We got back onto the elephants and returned to dry land. Overall, I had an amazing time in Nepal. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Stories of a Duluthian, Betty Hastings”. Video transitions to Betty, a white woman with light hair and wearing a red shirt. She stands in front of a leafy wall and signs.]

>> Betty: Hi, my name is Betty Hastings. A long time ago my mother and father thought I was mentally retarded. They did not know I was deaf. A friend of mine, Sally N, who lives in Duluth, had a daughter, Marg, who was deaf. They suspected I was deaf. They decided to visit my mom. I was hiding under the table. Sally and my mother discussed the possibility of me being deaf, though my mother thought I was retarded. Sally gave my mother the address to Faribault School. I was sent to school and I cried. I didn’t want to go. But after I arrived, I watched the deaf people signing. I had never seen this before. The first sign I learned was ‘food’. I would point to things and my hand was swatted away. I then was taught the signs and had to use them to communicate my needs and wants. I pointed to potatoes and milk. My hand was swatted away. I then learned the signs and use them from that time on. My next lesson was on how to play house. One person would be mom, dad, brother or sister. I learned by playing and I caught on fast to the signs. The play really exposed me to lots of vocabulary items that I picked up quickly. During school, I never signed. We learned through the oral method, speaking and lipreading. But once outside, we would use sign language. I learned how to roller skate, tumbling, and baseball. I loved school. I went to school from the time I was eight years old to sixteen years old. 

>> Betty (continued): At that time, I had to leave school for family reasons. Two years later I got my GED within the four years. I attended college for only 2 ½ years and had to drop out for financial reasons. Later I began to teach signal language classes. I taught for 28 years and I loved it. Some signs I use are older and not used by many people today. I tend to use old signs for car and for hospital. I like my old signs, but I can't criticize others for preferring to use the new signs. I think it’s ok for them to use their signs but I’m just in the habit of using the signs I like. I’ve been married almost 50 yers, but my husband died. He was happy because he didn’t want to become blind. That was his wish. But now I feel lost without him. He was a wonderful cook, I miss him. I was a good carpenter and painter. My husband didn’t like those things. I like it. He liked to cook and I didn’t care for it.  When my kids (two, both girls) were a bit older,

[A shift as there is a frame shift as the video transitions from one cut to another. Betty continues to sign.]

>> Betty (continued): We had two children. Do you remember when Washington was told not to chop down a cherry tree? So now on that thought, I bought a jar of cherries to make cherry bread. I told the kids not to touch the cherry jar, that I would make some cherry bread. The kids replied, ‘okay’. About two weeks later, I decided on a Monday, I would make bread. But, the jar of cherries was gone. All that was left was the juice. I made banana nut bread instead. Once that was made and put away I would then make pies. I always made 5 pies. I would make each of them their favorite. My husband’s favorite was apple, one daughter’s favorite was lemon, and the other was some kind of cream. Mine was coconut cream pie. I would make them every Monday. Well, not every Monday, maybe every two weeks. That day when the kids came home from school, I told them to be honest and tell me who ate all the cherries. Both had denied eating them. I couldn’t punish them, because I didn’t know which one did it. I was stuck so I decided to forget about it. I waited a month to make sure they both forgot about it. I came home from work and told the kids I brought home a box of candy which got them excited. I told them to eat supper first. The kids ate dinner and asked for candy. I told them they had to wash and dry dishes - then candy. They did the chore and asked for the candy.  They were very excited. I asked my husband to sit down next to me and I opened the box of candy.  My oldest daughter unwrapped hers right away. My youngest daughter, Julie, said she couldn’t eat it. I asked her why? She said cherries made her sick. I said, ‘So it was you who stole the cherries.’ I felt I couldn’t punish her because now I knew who did it. She started crying and said she didn’t mean to steal the cherries. I told her I wasn’t going to punish her because she couldn’t eat the candy - that was enough punishment. 

>> Betty (continued): Another time, on a Sunday, I told my husband we needed to get to church. So I bathed and dressed the girls. I told them to sit and stay there. Both were wearing yellow dresses. I explained to the kids that dad and I are going upstairs to change and dress for church. I went up and changed. I came downstairs and asked, ‘Where is Julie?’ My oldest answered ‘Outside’. I thought, not her again! I went out and yelled for her. But she was nowhere to be found. I asked my neighbors if they had seen her. I couldn’t find her, so I continued to yell. Then my neighbor across the street heard a funny noise in their basement and went to check it out. They found my daughter stuck in the coal chute. We use oil now, but back then it was coal. She slid down and was stuck pounding. She was totally covered in soot. I told her that she knew we were going to church. What a waste of my time. I gave her another bath, dressed her, and went to church. The next time I didn’t dress the kids first. My husband and I dressed first. Then we got the children ready. So I wouldn’t waste my time. 

>> Betty (continued): Another time my daughter Julie asked for a bike. I told her she was too young. She was still small. But she continued to tell me that she knew how to ride a bike. She then decided to borrow her friend’s bike. She went down a hill and couldn’t stop. She ran into a garage. She came home and told me she had a painful side. I asked her why she did that and wrecked her friend’s bike. She thought it would be fun. She shouldn’t have borrowed the bike. She complained of pain. I asked her if she learned her lesson. She really needed to learn to listen to me. Another time, my daughter hurt her arm. Again, it was my daughter Julie. She said she couldn’t move her arm. We wrapped it with an ace bandage. I told her we had to go see the doctor that she may have a broken arm. I brought her to the doctor and asked her arm was broken, explaining that she couldn’t move it. The doctor had her remove the bandage which she did by swinging her arm in a circle. The doctor then said her arm was just fine. It wasn’t broken. She had tricked me. It wasn’t broken. She had just had it wrapped. That’s all I have to say. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Introducing… Dan Hopokoski''. Subtitle comes on: “Translator’s Note: this is a general attempt at translation. The signer’s message is not always clear.” Video transitions to Dan, a man with shaggy brown hair and wearing a T-shirt with an American flag on the front. He stands in front of a gray marbled wall and signs.]

>> Dan: I want to talk about sports, like football, soccer, baseball, and basketball. And my girlfriend, who lives somewhere else. But we’re still together. And going to Faribault school a long time ago when I was a kid. I was there for 12 years. And 6 years  at Petco. And then I got a break. For 4 years, I got 8-10 dollars. My parents live in a different place. I was with them when I was a kid at school. I have a brother, Tim. That’s my family. I was at Faribault from 8th grade to my senior year. I graduated in 1993. Now I moved to a new house. It’s my home. It’s a group home. Three of us live there. We clean it. I have a bike in the garage. And I’m done with my story. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Coming to Minnesota, Jonie Langdon-Larson”. Video transitions to Jonie, a woman with short blonde wavy hair, wearing glasses and a dark red shirt. She stands in front of a striped background and signs.]

>> Jonie: Hello. Today I want to share with you a story about moving to the United  States. I was born in Germany, not the US. The story behind why I moved to the US is an interesting one. I didn’t grow up being around any deaf people. I think I actually only met three deaf people in my growing up. Here’s a story as an example of that. When I was 11 or 12, I was at the airport with my family. My parents were with me and we noticed an odd man sitting in a corner. He was dressed in  dirty clothes, with his cap out begging. I was pretty turned off by the look of him, but my dad encouraged me to go over to help him. I didn’t want to have anything to do with him, but I went over and introduced myself. He handed us a card, which I looked at and my dad read. My dad got all excited and told me that the man  was deaf, just like me. As a 12 years old,I looked at this man dressed in rags and begging. I wondered how my dad could think he was just like me. I remember thinking that my dad thought I was just like that man, but I knew I wasn’t going to grow up and be like that beggar. So I filed that experience in my memory for later reflection. 

>> Jonie (continued): Later, I met a deaf woman who was in her fifties or sixties. It was when I was 12 or 13, so I thought she was ancient, but she was probably fifty or sixty. I met her in a small  town in Germany called Horbach. The woman lived with family - her sister and the sister’s husband. My mom was with me on this visit. We greeted people upon arrival. These were friends of my mom. My mom was all excited for me to meet this lady. I read my mother’s lips and was just fine with meeting her. It turned out all the woman did was point. She was deaf, but she couldn’t sign, or speak, or communicate in any way except by pointing. My mom went on to explain that the woman was deaf, just like me. I looked at the woman, who was nice, but who couldn’t communicate at all. My mom tried writing with her, but she couldn’t read. She had to rely on her sister to try to explain what my mom had written. So I looked at this deaf lady who couldn’t read, sign, or communicate very well. And I thought about the beggar in the airport who handed out cards asking for pity and money. And I thought about people thinking they were just like me. I didn’t want to be just like them. My parents seem to think it was okay for me to be like them, but I wanted to have a different future than that. I decided I wanted to find a career, and I decided on being a youth pastor.  I started looking to see how I could do that. I contacted a university to register for classes to become a pastor. The counselor was just fine with me taking classes, but wanted me to know that I couldn't be licensed as a minister. I was confused, and he explained to me that I could take the classes, but deaf people were not eligible to be licensed. In Germany, Deaf people were forbidden from becoming a pastor, or working in any profession that required a license. So, I thought maybe I could be a teacher instead. 

>> Jonie (continued): So I started taking classes, making it through without an interpreter. I made it through my class and received an ‘A’, but only then did a woman explain that being a teacher also required a license. Which meant I couldn’t do that because deaf people couldn’t be licensed. So I decided at that time that if I couldn’t be a teacher or a pastor, school wasn’t worth it. So I withdrew from school. A little while later, I was reading a magazine and saw an article about a Deaf man who was both a pastor and a teacher. I was so excited to see someone Deaf who was in both of these professions. I was curious to know where he lived. As I read on, I discovered it was here in Minnesota. So, I wanted to move to Minnesota. Remember, I was in Germany and didn’t know English well. I was fluent in reading and speaking German, but my English was pretty limited. So I decided to move to Minnesota to be able to follow in this man’s footsteps. As I got ready, I looked at a map to decide where to fly in to. I had worked to save $5,000 which I thought was so much money. In looking at where to fly, the ticket to Minnesota was expensive, something around $800. I wanted to save more money, so I decided to fly into Dover, Delaware. It looked pretty close to Minnesota on the map. Because I thought it was the same scale as Germany and there would be easy train service between to Minnesota from Dover once I got off the plane. When my plane was landing, I was very excited to be in the US. When I got off the plane, I asked an airport employee where the train station was. The man was confused because there wasn’t a train station at the airport. I couldn’t believe it because in Germany train stations were everywhere. But there was no train station at this airport. The man asked me if I wanted to ship a box. I replied that I wanted to travel to Minnesota, not ship a package. The man  smiled a little at my enthusiasm and through our awkward communication. He finally was able to tell me that I needed to take a bus. Well no - actually, what he told me was that I needed to ride a ‘greyhound’. 

>> Jonie (continued): So, I knew I needed to ride a greyhound. I had a dictionary with me and when I used it, it said that a greyhound was some kind of dog. I really didn’t understand what he meant. Was I supposed to ride on a dog all the way to Minnesota? I ended up taking a taxi to a hotel for the night so I could figure out what to do. When I got to the hotel, I told a man that I needed information about the greyhound. He replied that I should look in the ‘yellow pages’ which I didn’t know about, so I asked him where to find the yellow pages and he told me in my room. When I got in my room, I was looking all over for some yellow pages. I looked on the wall for yellow paper. In drawers everywhere I could think of. I finally went in the hall to see if I could find someone to explain about the yellow pages. A woman finally came up to me and explained that the ‘yellow pages’ was the phone book. I was curious about why it was called that, but I just went to find it. The woman showed me that the book was half white and half yellow. So I looked in the yellow half for ‘greyhound’ but I couldn’t find it. I remembered ‘greyhound’ meant dog, so I looked under dog, which didn’t help either. So I went down to the desk and explained I wanted to get to Minnesota, and he explained that I needed to take a bus. I finally understood that the Greyhound was a bus. The Yellow pages meant a phone book. I thought I knew English well from my studies in Germany, but apparently not. So I finally did get on the Greyhound bus and after a 3 or 4 day journey, I made it to Minnesota and was thrilled at last see this place. And that’s my story. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Going to Newfoundland, Marian Lucas”. Video transitions to Marian, a white woman with shoulder length brown hair. She wears a patterned sweater and stands in front of a wood wall with a window in the middle. She signs.]

>> Marian: My name is Marian Lucas. I want  to share with you a story about a  wonderful friend  of mine. She is a teacher at the North Dakota School for the Deaf. One night while teaching a sign language class for parents, she got her paycheck and thought of me. She wanted me to go to Newfoundland Deaf School which had a Drama Education  program. We heard it was the best from another friend, Pat Graybill. He’s a NTD actor and storyteller, and well-known for these skills. He told me about the program and then I told my friend in North Dakota. So when she got her paycheck, she thought of me right away and  wanted me to use her check to reserve a flight. I went to a travel agency and explained that I wanted a round trip flight to St Johns, Newfoundland. I got a ticket for $300. I had heard that the flight would cost around $600 roundtrip, because it was so far, maybe a 4-5 hour trip - I thought that $300 was fair. Off I went to my first destination, Boston, and transferred to a small plane which I thought was odd. On the map, St. John’s seemed to be a 3-4 hour flight from Boston, so I wondered about the small plane. We took off and when we neared our destination, I saw only forest out the window and a tiny airport. When the plane landed, I looked around and I saw a sign that said ‘New Brunswick’. I was sure would be boarding another plane, but it turns out my ticket was incorrect. I approached someone and told them I was trying to get to St. John’s, Newfoundland. That person replied that I was in the right place, but I had to take a bus to town. 

>> Marian (continued): Now, some of the details are blurry for me because this happened back in 1990. I felt like something was wrong, and it turned out I had the wrong itinerary. We sat down and the person checked and found that I would need to pay an additional $400. I did not think that it was my responsibility if the travel agency booked the wrong ticket. So, I explained this and the person called my travel agency in Minneapolis. During the discussion, my travel agency said they were not responsible and that I had made the mistake. Obviously, we had a miscommunication. I thought I had made my destination clear. The discussion of who was responsible went on. In the midst of this, I remembered something in my bag. It was a guide to events happening in St. John’s, with all sorts of sites listed out. So she knew my plans because she gave me the book with the agency’s address stamped in it. That was my proof! I handed the book over to the person who was helping me and they agreed I was right. My original travel agency was at fault and they had to pay the extra $400. After the agent admitted their mistake, the person helping me said I had to leave right away. The flight that I was taking, Air Canada, was waiting for me, and was already 15 minutes late. I raced to board the plane and found I was seated in first class. So I had all the perks of first class, like free wine, for the 4 hour flight. I finally made it that night. So that’s my story. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Medical Encouragement, Krista McKenzie”. Video transitions to Krista, a white woman with shoulder-length curly hair, wearing a green-blue shirt and standing in front of a gray marbled wall. She signs.] 

>> Krista: Hello, my name is Krista and I would like to encourage deaf people to choose work in the medical field. It’s important that deaf people go to college and get a degree for jobs such as a doctor, nurse, pediatrician, OBGYN, or midwife. Deaf people need those kinds of services. Also, it would be wonderful for parents with deaf children to have the opportunity to see deaf professionals working with parents and children to meet their medical needs. And to inform parents of appropriate places to go for their medical needs. An OB-GYN would be good, because they could help a deaf person have a wonderful experience with the birthing process. Many times deaf people have a difficult time finding a doctor that can understand their needs related to communication. That  would be nice. A midwife would be great to allow for home births. Deaf people would like to give birth at home. Yet they often don’t know what to do. But a Deaf midwife would understand the equipment like a TTY, to be able to get in touch and can communicate easily with a deaf person. And Deaf pediatricians would make deaf children  be comfortable signing one on one without hiring an interpreter. Needing an interpreter makes kids feel uncomfortable when mom and dad are talking with the doctor. They feel cheated and left out. Oftentimes children want to know what’s being discussed. And sometimes parents aren’t willing to share with their children. If there were a deaf doctor that would be perfect. The kids can know  what’s being discussed without feeling frustrated or left out, which would be really nice. So it’s important to go to college and get a degree in the medical field. What we really need is an ENT, or an ear nose and throat specialist. It’s important because it’s the first place doctors send deaf children to get testing services, referrals, and ideas. That would be perfect if it could be done. It’d be a wonderful experience and something we really need. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “School Experiences, David Moberg”. Video transitions to David, a white man with reddish hair and beard, wearing a striped gray shirt and standing in front of a gray marbled wall. He signs.]

>> David: Hello. I’m David. Growing up, I had a variety of experiences at different schools, some which were really frustrating. When I was young, I attended Lincoln School in Duluth for almost 8 years. All the teachers signed there and there was a grouping of deaf students. After my father passed away, my mom took me back to be closer to her family home and it worked out OK. I ended up in a public school where I had to go for two years without an interpreter. It was really frustrating to try to read the teacher’s lips and not understand what was going on. When a teacher would lecture, I’d end up having to ask the teacher to point out the information in the book later. That went on for two years which was frustrating for both me and the teacher. In some subjects, I could understand but in classes that relied on lectures, like history and social studies, I was lost. The school eventually called my mom in for a meeting because they decided it wasn’t a good fit. They then sent me to a school with a special education classroom so I attended there. It was okay there, but the teacher didn’t sign and they just hired one interpreter who wasn’t always in the room, so there were lots of times when I was simply lost. The interpreter called my mom and suggested I go to school in Faribault. So we went down to look at the Deaf school. My mom asked my opinion, and I decided to give Faribault a try. I ended up staying there until I graduated and I loved my experience there. So my life has had some ups and downs but I’m doing just fine now. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Gardener’s Tale, Walter ‘Bud’ Norton”. Video transitions to Bud, a white man wearing a baseball acp and wearing a white jacket and standing in front of a gray marbled wall. He signs.]

>> Bud: Hello,  my name is Bud Norton. I am very interested in vegetable gardening. This really started about 4 or 5 years ago. I  learned from a deaf friend who is very knowledgeable about organic gardening. First, you have to address the soil. It might have too much clay. You have to add sand, humus, black soil, and compost. Also, green sand with added minerals and phosphates to improve the soil. The best time to plant garlic and shallots is in the fall, not spring. Before you plant them, you should make a raised bed. Then, you plant the garlic cloves. Then, put insulation on top of that to keep the garlic from freezing. Then, use straw for mulch. This  process helps the roots grow through the winter time. This helps develop a healthy plant. In the spring, remove the mulch and the insulation until you see the green shoots showing. Cover them again with mulch. This process has been very successful for me for 5 years. I grow catnip for my cat. That plant was enormous. I have also grown potatoes. I planted two different kinds: Reds and Yukon golds. Planted in the spring, I harvest in the fall. Some were huge, especially the red ones! I have learned a lot from my deaf friend. All of my gardening is chemical free. There are other natural repellents like garlic spray or hot pepper spray, which the bugs detest. My dream some day is to own 1 or 2 acres of land to plant a large garden. I will sell some produce and give some away. I hope this might be possible. Being a gardener is what I love. I think it is in my blood. My parents were gardeners as were my grandparents. My father grew mostly potatoes and some carrots too. I forgot to tell you about carrots. There are many different kinds of carrots. A particular one that I look for is a sweet kind. I forgot the name but bought that seed. I planted them in the spring and harvested them in the fall. They shouldn’t be eaten right away. Store them and they become sweet. It’s really something. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A History of Courage North, Andrew Oehrlein”. Video transitions to Andrew, a white man with brown hair and wearing a green shirt. He stands in front of a rock wall and signs.]

>> Andrew: Hello, my name is Andrew Oehrlein and today I would like to share some of the history of this camp. It all started in 1971. Walter and Lydia Duebner were well known for their shopping bags. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, during the great depression, they invented the shopping bags. Back then, filled shopping bags were not very easy to carry. Walter and Lydia came up with the idea of handles on the bags to make them easier to carry with fuller loads. People were able to buy more food and to make less trips to the store. People could buy enough food to last for up to two or three weeks. After that, their business soared in St. Paul, and then expanded to Indianapolis. As he got older, Walter joined Courage Center where enjoyed meeting with friends and playing tennis. At that time, he decided to purchase the land here, a parcel of about 90 acres. Now you have to understand that Walter loved to build log cabins with his own two hands and his own axe. Four cabins were built at camp, two are gone now, but two are still here to this day. Many years passed and Walter’s wife, Lydia became very sick. They both agreed it was time to give up the property. They called a lawyer and began discussing the process of donating the land. Walter then called Courage Center. Courage Center was amazed at the offer but had no idea where the land was. Walter explained it was on Lake George, near Itasca State Park. Two people from Courage Center came to look at the prosperity and were overcome by its beauty. The lawyer soon arrived and handed them a huge key ring full of keys. The lawyer made it very clear that the donation of the land was contingent upon one thing. The motto of the camp must remain ‘Deep in the Pines.’ 

>> Andrew (continued): The board decided that the camp would be called Courage North with the motto, ‘Deep in the Pines’. In 1971 and 1972, the first Deaf/Hard of Hearing and physically disabled/wheelchair sessions took place. After many years, the sessions began to grow. At that time, there were only four cabins. Each cabin was able to hold eight campers and two staff, totaling about 50 per session. After getting by with limited resources that summer, many companies were asked for donations to improve the camp. As a result, the positive response,  the camp was able to build a dining hall and six new cabins. Now each cabin was able to hold eight campers and four staff. So the capacity grew by almost a hundred. Some sessions added include Deaf/Hard of Hearing Teens, Deaf /Hard of Hearing youth, two sessions for the physically disabled/wheelchair, a new program for persons with hemophilia, and a program for people with autism called Camp Discovery. Camp has continued to grow every year. The history had been passed down over the last 32 years. I hope you  have enjoyed getting a glimpse  into the history of the treasure that is Courage North. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Ely’s Wildlife, Debbie Peterson”. Video transitions to Debbie, a white woman with short  brown hair and wearing a green buttoned shirt. She stands in front of a white brick wall with a row of red bricks in the middle, and signs.]

>> Debbie: I’m Debbie Peterson and I am from Seattle, Washington. I used to live in Minnesota. There are some stories I’d like to share. This is back when I was living in Minneapolis. My roommate had a sister who lived in Ely.I had heard so much about the Boundary Waters that I was curious to find out more. When my roommate invited me to head north for the weekend, I jumped at the chance. We left after work and drove north to Ely. The hills and forest were simply beautiful. We had to drive on a pretty bumpy road out to the sister’s cabin. She works as something like a forest ranger or for a national park. I remember her wearing something like a park ranger’s uniform. When we made it to the cabin, I met her sister, who signs very well. The cabin itself was very simple. A living room, with a bed, a woodstove, and sink. It was exciting for me to take it all in. Then, we went outside to talk. The mosquitoes were absolutely eating me alive. Though they didn’t seem to be bothering the other two. I don’t know if it was because of my white skin or if I ate too much candy. Whatever it was, they were coming after me. The sister gave me a head net to help me fend them off. Finally, though, we went inside for the night. The next morning, we planned to go canoeing and I was excited for that. I had long pants, long sleeves, and a head net to protect myself from the mosquitoes. Only my hands were vulnerable. As I was sleeping that night, I felt something on my chest. I looked and saw a tick crawling up towards my face. I flicked it off of me, but didn’t shake the feeling of it. Creepy crawly things like that really get to me. I also had to go to the bathroom. This cabin had an outhouse, so I made my way outside. When I pulled down my pants to sit down, I was attacked by mosquitoes. In my mind’s eye, I envisioned a squadron of mosquitoes, called into formation by the blaring of a horn. With helmets and goggles firmly in place they zoomed off on a mission. 

>> Debbie (continued): And as I pulled down my pants, it revealed a bull’s eye on my butt which they attacked with deadly accuracy. I hastily went to the bathroom, and pulled my pants up - swatting mosquitoes all the while I rushed into the cabin with my backside smarting from the attack. The sister couldn’t believe how affected I was by the mosquitoes. Finally, it was time to go canoeing. I helped portage the canoe down to the lake. Mosquitoes were trying to get through my head net but couldn’t. I got many bites on my hands, and tried to swat them away. But we finally got out on the water and away from all of them. It was a beautiful day of canoeing. When we came back, the mosquitoes were after me again. On the way home to Minneapolis, I thought of the beauty of Ely and the BWCA but it’s the mosquitoes that I will never forget. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Challenge at the Doctor’s, Sherri Rademacher”. Video transitions to Sherri, a white woman w ith dark brown hair, wearing a yellow sweater and standing in front of a wood log cabin with windows. She signs.]

>> Sherri: Hi, I am Sherri Rademacher. I want to share a story about my experiences with discrimination. I hadn't seen a doctor in about three years. I had a cold for about 2 months. I wanted to be healthy before I flew on vacation to Mexico. I made a call to my insurance company to ask if I had the same doctor which I did not. I proceeded to tell them that I wanted a doctor whose office is close to the college I worked at. That worked out so I called to make an appointment that same day. The receptionist said that since I was deaf, I had to wait three days. I asked them why and they said they needed to contact an interpreter three days in advance. I explained that I could go without an interpreter to see the doctor right away. I made it clear that I was fine with having no interpreter and went in for my appointment. I can speak for myself, so I told the receptionist my name and who I was there to see. The woman looked at me dumbfounded and asked me if I was deaf and I came alone. I affirmed what was obvious. She then asked if I came without an interpreter. I told her that was the case. She proceeded to ask the same questions all over again. I gave all the same answers which just made her bewildered. The woman then told me to follow her and I sat in the lobby, waiting to be called. Where I sat, the woman stood directly behind me. She just stood there and watched me. When my name was called, I went into a small room for filling out forms required of new patients. The woman who processed my information was able to communicate with me just fine. The receptionist felt compelled to interject that I was DEAF. The woman taking my information just ignored her and we got along fine. 

>> Sherri (continued): We didn’t even need to resort to using paper and pen. The receptionist couldn’t believe her eyes but went back to the front desk. When the paperwork was finished, I went back out to wait to be called by the nurse. When I was called, we went to the exam room and the nurse asked me about my symptoms. We were able to talk without the use of an interpreter or even writing - except for when I had to write the name of a prescription for a problem with my skin. The doctor turned out to be very good looking, so it was too bad we were both married. The exam went well without any problems with communication. When I left the room, I reflected on how well the appointment went - even though the receptionist was stunned that I, being deaf, didn’t need an interpreter. Three days later, I got a call from the nurse saying that they gave me the wrong prescription. I said I was fine and had no side effects, but would change medications. I then discussed with her my feelings about the receptionist and asked her advice. She suggested contacting the hospital administration who is responsible for any complaints. They apologized for the receptionist’s behavior. They explained that because I was a new patient, she might have felt that an interpreter would have provided the best access. I haven’t gone to that doctor because I don’t want to see that woman again. It was odd because she had a prosthetic hand, and yet she looked down on me because I am deaf. I’ve never forgotten that experience of discrimination. 

[Video transitions  to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Night Out at the Deaf Club, Kim Sackett”. Video transitions to Kim, a white woman with brown hair, wearing a brown shirt and standing on a grass field with trees behind her. She signs.]

>> Kim: Hello! My name is Kim Sackett. I’d like to tell you a story. One night my best friend and I went to the Deaf Club. We drove a classic 1971 Volkswagen convertible that was owned by my parents. It was summertime, so on our way to the dance, we drove with the top down. The Deaf Club was having a “1950s” dance, so we dressed for the theme. We made it to the Deaf Club and enjoyed the evening’s festivities. When the dance ended, we headed home. It was about 11:30 that evening. As we were driving home, the car started acting funny. We smelled a strange odor. I talked it over with my friend about what was wrong and what we should do. I finally pulled over and found something was wrong with the electrical system. But we decided that it wasn’t a major problem and we should continue driving home. We had to pull over a second time and this time it was worse! I was forced to call my parents and wake them up to come get us. It was bad timing. They  had to drive from south Dallas to north Dallas to get us. It was maybe a half hour to 45 minutes drive. After they arrived, my dad saw the problem and he blew a gasket. I rode back with my mom  because I  didn’t want my dad yelling at me. My friend had to endure a quiet ride with my father who was fuming at the events of the evening. I felt for my friend, but in trying to talk to my mom,  she didn’t want to discuss anything. When we got home, I asked my friend how it went and she said my dad was quiet. I then tried to talk about it with him, but he didn’t want to discuss anything either. We went to my room and talked about what had happened and how my dad lost his temper. Despite all that, it was an enjoyable evening. Eventually we went to bed. The next morning we got up and my friend went home. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Brief Autobiography, Susan Siemsen”. The video transitions to Susan, a white woman with curly brown hair and wearing a black shirt. She stands in front of a gray marbled wall and signs.]

>> Susan: Hello. I’m Susan Siemsen. I’m from Ohio. I grew up there. I was born Deaf. I was mainstreamed, then went to college at NTID in Rochester, NY for four years for computer graphics. When I finished school, I moved back to Ohio. Then my best friend moved to Minnesota. I was curious what Minnesota was like, so I moved there too. I met my husband there and we were married. We met at a Deaf church in the Twin Cities. Then we moved here to Duluth. I’m happy my husband found a job. Now, I have lived in Duluth for two years. I have a daughter who is two. Now, I attend a church with a Deaf ministry that has been underway for almost two years. I learned a lot from Deaf ministries in New York and the Twin Cities, meeting Deaf people and seeing what they do. I attend Hermantown Community Church  which is really supportive of Deaf people. It impressed me a lot. The pastor is also very supportive which I appreciate. I have learned a lot through my church teaching classes with my team. We teach sign language classes as well as classes about what Deaf culture means. The students really do a lot which is moving for me to see this Deaf ministry in action. It’s impressive to see the growth from hearing people who are so motivated to learn. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “My Minnesotan Pet Peeve, Randy Shank”. Video transitions to Randy, a white man with light brown hair and wearing a dark red collared shirt. He stands in front of a marbled gray wall and signs.]

>> Randy: Since I moved to Minnesota 6 years ago, there ‘s one thing that really gets me about living here. Anytime I go to a store or a fast-food restaurant like Burger King, one aggravating thing always happens. The lines at the counter move slower than any other state like in Wisconsin or Washington DC where the lines move at a faster pace. But it’s much slower here because of the use of checkbooks. I see them in shirt pockets or sticking out of back pockets and it is just maddening. I've had the experience of waiting in line at Wal-Mart when people write a check for a $2.00 purchase. And then, as I anxiously wait for my turn, the next person writes a check for just 5 or 6  dollars. When it finally comes to my turn, I pay with cash and then I am on my way. Once, at a Burger King, I noticed someone’s meal cost like $4.00 and that  person still wrote a check. Another time, I happened to glance at the number of someone’s check which was astronomical, somewhere 15000! My checkbook number is in the 500s and I only use it to pay bills through the mail. However, Minnesotans use it to pay for everything from $1.00 to thousands of dollars. It's got to be a waste of money. It’s better to use a cash card that’s free. Wells Fargo bank gives out free debit cards which replace the need for checks. But people here are stuck in the habit of writing checks. Back when I was in school, I had a houseparent from Minnesota, who always had a checkbook in his front pocket. We always  made fun of that. Then I made the connection between him and Minnesotans in general who still live by their checkbooks. The thought of it drives me mad. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Minnesota Heart, Trudy Suggs”. Video transitions to Trudy, a white woman with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing a dark maroon buttoned shirt. She stands in front of a gray marbled wall and signs.]

>> Trudy: I have lived in many different states, including Illinois, Washington DC, Colorado and Wisconsin, for a brief time. But despite these travels, my heart belongs in Minnesota. People say Minnesota is too cold, but I just tell them Minnesotans know how to dress appropriately. I love Minnesota for many reasons. First is the outdoors. For me, camping and hiking are essential. Everything is so close by. The northern forests and hills. The lakes. The fishing. There’s so much beauty. The second reason is the deaf community which I refer to as the ‘Dark Horse of America’. Many people wonder if there is a Deaf community here, but many well known Deaf people graduated here, are from here, and live here now. I also only live 10 miles from the Deaf school, so am able to go to events there. And the diversity that exists is great, from the grassroots to professionals. Everyone is included on an equal footing. There is a plethora of cultural events in the Tin Cities as well as here in Faribault. The Twin Cities is mere 45 minutes away so the opportunities are wonderful. The third reason is that my family is from the Midwest in Illinois, which is a short distance from Minnesota. I have the best of everything right here. Camping, the outdoors, the city, culture, community, and privacy –  I have it all here in Minnesota. So that is why my heart belongs to Minnesota. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Travels in Thailand, Diane Suhr”. Video transitions to Diane, a white woman with wavy light hair, wearing a white sweater with an American flag on front. She stands in front of a rock-covered wall and signs.]

>> Diane: I want to talk about an experience I had traveling. The richest experience of my life was going to Thailand in 1989. I was there for three weeks. I went with my husband, my husband’s brother, who is Deaf, and his wife, who is from Thailand and is hearing. The two of them had been trying to convince us to go with them on a vacation, and after much deliberation, my husband and I finally decided to go for it. When we told my husband’s brother and his wife, it put a smile on both of their faces. We then started doing all the necessary planning. We got our passports, filled out paperwork with the documentation that we needed, like our birth certificates. When it got to be the night before our trip, my husband was too nervous to sleep. But that wasn’t the case for me. I slept like I was knocked out cold. We did all our packing and our friends took us to the airport where we aired and n flew to Chicago. Then we waited some more until we met my husband's brother, his wife, and their two daughters. We finally got on the plane, which was a 747, a jumbo jet. And that was my first time flying, so it was quite an experience for me. So, we finally took off out of Chicago, and it was a long flight. I’m trying to remember how long… It was like 12, no 16 hours. We spent most of our time in our seats, and ate on the flight. We arrived in Japan and had a 5 hour layover without much to do. We spent our time looking in the duty-free shops and ended up buying some fragrant perfume. It was also interesting to just do some people watching of Japanese conversations. They would talk rapidly, punctuating their conversations with small bows. Interesting to see that body movement all over the airport. 

>> Diane (continued): I also saw a Japanese woman who was a monk with a shaved head and in unique clothing. So, all in all, it was a very interesting people-watching experience. Finally, it was time for us to get back on the plane and we headed to Bangkok, Thailand. When we got there, the first thing I noticed was that the air smelled different. Then we got in line to go through customs and get our passports stamped. Then we got our luggage. Once we did that, we met up with my brother-in-law’s wife’s family from Thailand. This is how our encounter went. We looked at them and said hello. They put their hands together like they were praying and bowed to us. When they got through all the bowing, at the end, we copied them and returned a bow. They laughed to see us copy their bowing. But the bowing like that can mean saying three things: “Hello”, “Goodbye” and “Thank you”. It all depends on how it is used in conversation. So that was interesting. Then we went to our hotel. One thing I noticed was that Bangkok had an incredible number of motorcycles on the street zooming this way and that making all sorts of noise. When we got to the hotel room, we found that it was pretty small and very simple.  Just two beds, with a shower and a toilet in the bathroom. That was all there was to the room. But we only had to pay $17 for the night. So that wasn’t bad. It was cheap, but a nice room. We spent some time shopping and relaxing in Bangkok and then we took a bus to the sister’s home town up in the north, near Laos. That was like being in a new world for me. 

>> Diane (continued): So many Thai people and we were the only white people. Everyone was looking at us. I  wasn’t used to being in the minority like that. The food there was absolutely delicious. Different types of rice. It was all just so good. One interesting thing was our sister-in-law’s parents’ house. It was like it was two stories. The first story was just on stilts, there were no walls but there was a stone floor. As I was walking up  to it, my sister-in-law told me to take my shoes off before going in - which I did. There was a bowl of water at the entrance for washing feet. In the house, our bedroom was upstairs. There  was mosquito netting over the beds but there was no glass in the windows. And the beds were really firm. The next morning, when w e woke up, there was a lizard crawling across one of the beams. It was a really interesting experience. One  story I should share is about the bathroom. It had cement  walls and was in-between the first and second floor. It had a counter with cold water, and a basin. The toilet was a hole in the floor you had to squat over. The water was for use instead of toilet paper, but we brought tissues with us to use. After going to the bathroom, you poured water down the toilet to flush it out. Bathing went like this. You would take off your clothes and bring your bathing supplies. Then, you had to fill the basin with water from the tap and dump it over your head then soap yourself. It was just like a shower. Just that you had to dump the water over yourself to rinse yourself clean. We were there for five days and it was quite an experience to live like that. People kept looking at me, because of my white skin, so that was different. But the food was wonderful, and there was just so much, so many things to say about that trip. When we were in town, we did run into two white women who were American. I felt a connection to them right away, since they spoke English. I had felt like I was a little homesick. We were there for three weeks. When we went back to Bangkok, we went to see the Royal Palace. It was absolutely gorgeous there with all the gold and elaborate decorations. There was a temple that we went in that had many Buddhas, one of them was a beautiful jade one. Then we said our goodbyes and flew back home, and all I can say is that I was happy to be back home in America. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Communication over Time, Gary Suhr”. Video transitions to Gary, a white man with graying hair and wearing a dark sweater over a plaid collared shirt. Gary stands in front of a rock-covered wall and signs.]

>> Gary: Hi, my name is Gary Shur. I was born in Rockford, Illinois. My parents are both Deaf. I have an older brother who is Deaf. Including myself, there are five children and all of us are deaf. Because all of us are Deaf, we use sign language. It was an easy life. Never boring. I attended a Deaf school in Wisconsin across the Illinois border about 40 miles away. At Christmas time I was able to go home because we lived so close. My grandparents are also Deaf as are my aunts and uncles. I have six cousins who are hearing, but they are fluent in sign language. It was an easy life and I always knew what was going on because we could all sign. When my family moved to a farm, my grandparents lived a couple of miles away. This was in Hilton. We lived there for 3 or 4 years. When my father couldn’t make a living, he sold the farm. We moved back to my hometown where I was born. When I got a little older, like ten or eleven, I started coming home less. I liked staying at school because of things like sports and just talking with my friends. Going home meant being alone because my dad would be gone to work. I would have nothing to do. Staying at school was fun and more enjoyable. The communication was there. I also learned about leadership skills, Boy Scouts and athletics. It was an easy life. 

>> Gary (continued): Now, at Christmas time, for family gatherings, I noticed it wasn’t the same since my  mother passed away. It was like the mast was gone from our ship. We continued to have family gatherings for 7 more years, until my father passed away. At that point, we all started to head in separate directions. When I got married, I started to attend my wife’s family gatherings. My aunt and uncle still lived near the school so I got  to sign with them. Once I graduated from school, things were much different for me. Once mom and dad passed away, I was around hearing people much more, like my wife’s family. My English just wasn’t that good. I was so used to communicating freely in sign. Having to communicate in written English was quite a frustration. School was a pleasure, but  after that, my English  skills really limited me which was  a huge  disappointment. My wife became my secretary and  saved my life. She was my ‘pick me up’. She helped me so much. I’ve also realized my life went through these changes. We raised three children who learned to sign, and  they have been good to me. If I ever needed help, I would depend on them to help out with  phone calls. The day I got my first TDD, that was great but I still had to communicate in English. This still caused problems because I wasn’t sure I would be understood. Now, video relay has arrived. It’s so liberating to communicate in sign again - to pass this tradition of communication onto the next generation and beyond. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Being a Responsible Citizen, Elee Vang”. Video transitions to Elee, a Hmong woman with dark hair pulled back, and wearing a white top. She stands in front of a dark wall and signs.]

>> Elee: Hi. I’m Miss Deaf Minnesota. My name is Elee Vang and this is my presentation. I am Hmong, and the Hmong community has very strong ties. I believe community is where we preserve our values. In becoming responsible citizens in our communities, we need to focus on three things: first, know your neighbor; second, pick your representatives; and third, support diversity. A neighbor can be defined as someone who lives near you. Knowing your neighbor means being involved with them in events and activities. Deaf people seem to have no problem being involved in the  Deaf community. But  they also need to recognize that hearing people live in communities, too. That will encourage diversity. Diversity is recognizing and supporting people with a variety of skin colors, nationalities, religions, and much more. Our neighbors may be different from us, but supporting diversity will lead to stronger ties among neighbors. People want  their families and children to feel comfortable and live in good communities. That requires being involved in choosing representatives, whether the governor, senators, or president. Those representatives can help your community. So, be a responsible citizen and vote to elect the president this fall. Remember these three important items: first, knowing your neighbor; second, picking your representatives; and third, supporting diversity. Combining these three things can make a positive impact on your community. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Project to Combat Sexual Violence, Kim Wassenaar”. Video transitions to Kim, a Black woman wearing a white shirt and glasses, standing in front of a white wall with a framed picture to the side. She signs.]

>> Kim: Hi. I’m Kim Wassenaar and I’m here again. I’m a project coordinator for the Council on Crime and The project I’m working on is seeking to recruit 50 individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or DeafBlind to talk about sexual violence that happens within the  Deaf community. We’ll be asking questions trying to elicit people’s opinions and perspectives about how to more effectively serve the Deaf community in this area. One example is talking about how to improve communication with the police department. We will pay $50 for people’s time, which is about 1-2 hours of time for our survey process. First, people will watch a videotape, and then we’ll ask them a series of questions. So, that's what I am working on today. It will be finished by the end of August or the middle of September. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “Video Relay, Alex Zeibot”. Video transitions to Alex, a man wearing a dark shirt and standing in front of a dark background with a spotlight from above. He signs.]

>> Alex: My name is Alex Zeibot. I’m going to explain about the Video Relay Service, which is called VRS for short. For many years, if Deaf people wanted to make a phone call to hearing people, they had to use the telephone relay service where a TTY user is connected to a hearing phone user via an operator who reads what a Deaf person types and types what the hearing person says. This has been around for many years. Now, VRS offers a new technology. With a videophone on their TV, Deaf people can place a call by contacting a Video Relay Service. Video interpreters are standing by to interpret a phone conversation between a deaf person using ASL and a hearing person using spoken English. So, Deaf people can see the conversation in ASL .It’s very nice. It’s almost like real-time communication. Using a TTY with the old relay service led to significant delays in the conversation which was frustrating for both parties. So, VRS represents a revolution in what is possible in the Deaf world. Both in the speed of communication and that Deaf people can communicate in ASL.Plus, all video interpreters hold certification such as RID’s CI and CT. So, the quality of interpreting allows for better English messages being delivered compared to when telephone relay operators had to voice the typed message word for word, which led to confusion on the part of hearing people on the phone. Qualified video interpreters are better able to truly connect deaf and hearing users of the service. It truly is fantastic. Another thing is that with telephone relay, Deaf people placed 90% of the calls. The reason being tht the process was too slow for hearing people. Now with the speed of VRS, hearing people are starting to make more of the calls, bringing the percentages more into balance. I really think VRS is great, and offers the potential for Deaf people to have equal access to what hearing people have. With VRS, we can do it. 

[Video transitions to a view of shallow water moving over Lake Superior rocks with new text: “A Performance from CAmp ASL, Marian Lucas & Andrew Oehrlein”. Video transitions to Marian, a white woman with brown hair and wearing a dark sweater. She sits on the floor holding a book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle and signs.]

>> Subtitle: This is an ASL rendition of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. 

[Marian walks across the floor holding the book.]

>> Subtitle: It is not presented with an English subtitled translation.

[Marian puts the book down and prepares to act out the story.]

>> Subtitle: Check out Eric Carle’s book to see the original text. 

[Marian walks across the floor and meets up with Andrew, a white man with brown hair and eyeglasses, wearing a dark green shirt. They stand side by side facing the audience. They do a joint performance through their bodies, creating the caterpillar and the various foods it encounters. Marian acts as the caterpillar, and Andrew as the various food objects. They trade roles with Andrew being the caterpillar and Marian a different piece of food. They continue to switch off roles of being caterpillar and different types of food including different fruit. Their bodies “grow” with each food consumed, indicated by their facial expressions and widening of the body through hands. They join bodies to create the chrysalis the caterpillar crawls into. The body chrysalis becomes a two-person butterfly with Marian in front and Andrew behind her, both with arms spread out to resemble butterfly wings. They flap their arms in unison. The audience applauds, and they take their bows. 

[Video ends.]

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