Silent Memoirs- Life Stories from the Deaf

Uploaded by oicmovies on 22.10.2010


My name is Kenya Lowe. This is my name sign.

I was born in Tacoma, Washington.

I'm from a small island near China.

I'm from another country far away in South America.

I grew up in Detroit. I was born hearing.

but became deaf when I was about 2 years old.

At about 3 years old, I was sick with a high fever.
Then I became deaf.

I got sick and became deaf. My mother cried.
I was small and didn't understand.

My parents had no idea what to do with me.

My father wanted me to be hearing,
so he tried to find a doctor who could operate on me
and make me hearing.

When I was 4, a hearing person from the church who could sign
came over and saw that I was deaf.
I remember the first sign I learned was "shoes".
The person pointed and mouthed, "shoes". Oh!

The school was very strict. It was terrible.
They didn't allow signing.
If they saw you signing, they hit your hands saying,
"Don't! You must talk and use your voice!" We had to bear with it.

The teacher wouldn't sign, they always used their mouths.
Signing wasn't allowed.

One would teach us the correct signs, starting with fingerspelling.
That was very strange to me, as I'd never seen fingerspelling.
We were really motivated. She kind of rescued us.
She would secretly teach us, then,
if somebody came along, we'd stop and hide it.

I missed a lot, I was frustrated in school.
The teacher moved around, and I missed what she was saying.
I watched the others to figure out what they were doing.
If they opened a book, then I would too, and follow along.

No, my sister and I did well at DTM,
with Total Communication, which was important.
If it was oral or with interpreters, I doubt we would have.
But there weren't interpreters back then.

We always communicated just fine,
the teachers and staff all signed.
Sometimes the housemothers were a problem.
They misunderstood things.

In 10th grade, I had to choose my classes.
I had the Mechanics class in mind, but they told me it was full.
The hearing students had gotten in.
I asked why, because I wanted that class.
They said the hearing students got first choice,
then the Deaf students got the leftovers.
We were at the bottom of the list.
We were lower class, and that upset me. I was mad.

I got an interpreter for the first time in my life
in my senior year in high school.
It was a big improvement, obviously, with the interpreter.

I was young, and was into psychology,
but after 4 years, I switched to Education.
I got my Master's in Deaf Education from
Western Maryland College, WMC.

Then I got my Bachelor's degree.
I majored in the Dietetic program.

This is me, Tom, and my graduating class.
Then I got a job as a draftsman.

They saw my drawing samples, and we emailed.
My being deaf bothered them.
I got a woman to speak for me, and I did the job.

I looked and found a job in a pottery factory.
They made cups and dishes out of clay.
I was on an assembly line wiping them off.
It was fairly decent money.

I thought I'd try teaching ASL and see how that went.
And I've been teaching it ever since!

I finally got a job working as a technican on a CNC machine.

I owned a business. I was responsible for taxes and finances.
The college accounting class helped me.

Now I've been promoted to Marketing.
I'm in the Marketing Department for AT&T Relay.

So that deaf man told me, "If I can do it, then you can too.
When you see me talking, I'm not doing it to brag,
but to tell you that when you see that
I can do all these things, it means you can too!"