A week or two ago I bought a paper back book for fifty cents at the flea market. It is "Helen Keller - The Story of My Life". Just finished reading it last night. When I was young, my Mother used to tell me about Miss Keller, the hardships she went through, and how she over came them to live a life of accomplishments and was an example to anyone with any kind of disability. Of course, it helped to be born into an affluent family. She was born on June 27, 1880 and raised on 640 acres near Tuscumbia, Alabama. A childhood sickness accompanied by a high fever when she was about 18 months old left her both deaf and blind. It would be hard enough to go through life blind or deaf, but it is unimaginable for someone to go through life both blind and deaf and make a difference in this world. Helen Keller did.
I am not going to go into all those details here. I am, however, going to tell you some of things that impressed me. As a little girl, she liked to roam through nature. She even used a canoe that was in a pond on the estate. She went to hunting camps and one time at camp she and her companion went on too long of a hike and to get back home before dark, had to cross a long railroad trestle. As luck would have it, they were halfway across when they heard an approaching train. They just had time to crawl over the side and hang on for dear life until the train passed. This blind and deaf girl didn't let her disabilities hold her back. She went sailing, hiking, traveled a lot, loved to ride on trains, walk on beaches, talk to people, and attend plays. She even attended college and wrote this book when she was in her second year at Radcliffe. How did she do all these things and experience all these things. Her constant companion, Ann Sullivan, would use a sort of sign language by pressing her fingers into the Helen's hand to tell her what was said or going on around her. She would also feel someones lips and be able to understand what that person was saying. Of course, her sense of taste, smell, and touch were so much more acute than normal people who had all their senses. She learned braile and read as much as possible. They had books punched in braile for her when in college. It was fascinating to read her early life and how and what she learned and could and couldn't do in her own words. If you ever come across this book, get it and read it. Helen Keller was not only my Mother's hero but a lot of people's. If you can see or hear or both, count your blessings and have a good start to this week, you hear?
640-acre tract in historic Tuscumbia, Ivy Green
Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968