We had to tell you about our Deaf friend David, because he has been a big part in our success of learning sign language and understanding the Deaf culture.
It all started early one morning at Dunkin Donuts when I went to get a coffee for myself and a bagel for my son. As we sat there enjoying the morning, I noticed a man looking at us every time I signed to my son. At this time, I knew very little sign language and was very self conscious when people watched me sign. I was afraid they were going to notice if I messed up. Eventually I realized that most people don’t know sign language anyway and they would never know if I signed something incorrectly. When you get to that point, you don’t focus, or rarely notice, people watching you sign.
As I spoke with the woman at the table next to us, she told me that she knew some sign language, because her hearing brother cannot speak clearly due to his condition. So they learned sign language to help him communicate. We then engaged in a conversation with David and learned that he was Deaf. David can voice and read lips and this led all of us into a great conversation. We all exchanged phone numbers and David said he would love to help us with our signing, if we were interested. My husband and I took David up on his offer to learn more sign language and we met at Crisper’s for three hours. We really enjoyed David’s help and his company, so we met him again and again and every time he taught us more and more signs and things about Deaf history and Deaf culture. We would meet David 2-3 times a month for three to four hours at a time and it never felt like learning, it felt like meeting with an old friend. Soon we were going to Silent Dinners at the Mall and late night dinners at IHOP with David and a group of Deaf people that we came to love.
David has been a huge part in our growth as a family communicating through sign language. I didn’t realize it that day but our family had made a life long friend. Looking back I am happy I took my son out on a very chilly morning to get coffee and a bagel, because we got even more than that when we met David.