Reader Alert: this is an opinion piece about Donald Trump. Please feel free to gently move on if you are not interested…
I was very pleased to be nominated – quite a long time ago, I’m afraid (!!) – for the three-day quotes challenge by mililplace. I love her thoughtful, thought-provoking blog and hope you will check out her work. And an apology: right off the starting block, I am cheating and combining the three quotes into one.
When I was a little girl, I recall being very, very conscious of how blessed I was to have my sight. Perhaps there is nothing special about this and all children have this awareness; I have no idea. But I know that for me, my sight has been a gift for which I have always felt a great deal of gratitude.
When I was around 8 years old, I read a book about Louis Braille who, after a childhood accident when he lost his sight, eventually developed the tactile Braille alphabet which is still used by the visually impaired to this day. I was also fascinated by the story of Helen Keller – and her beloved ‘Teacher’, Annie Sullivan. Born with perfect hearing and sight, Helen lost both to illness at just 19 months of age. ‘Teacher’, also struggling with vision issues, met Helen when she was 6 years old and taught her to communicate using a tactile alphabet that was signed into the palm of the hand. It took the pair many long and frustrating months before Helen learned that the letters Teacher was signing into her hand actually stood for words. I still get excited when I read how Teacher poured water into Helen’s hand as she signed the letters for water into the other and Helen finally had her eureka moment.
From that point on, Helen’s thirst for language was unquenchable (pun intended): Teacher would be by Helen’s side until the day she – Teacher – died. Helen went on to graduate from the prestigious Radcliffe College; to write a number of books and to befriend such notables as Alexander Graham Bell and Mark Twain. She was a tireless suffragette who fought a patriarchal system to ensure that a century later, women like me would have the right to vote. And she used her voice to speak up for the poor and the underprivileged.
I didn’t know all this when I was 8 years old but nonetheless, Helen became one of my lifetime heroes: if a little girl who couldn’t hear, see or speak could learn to communicate and read, I felt I should gratefully count my own blessings. I wanted to understand how difficult life must have been for her before Annie Sullivan came into her life: I would attempt to walk around the house with my eyes closed, trying to navigate the rooms (with the benefit of touch and hearing) only to discover just how difficult it was. I would move my fingers across the incomprehensible Braille alphabet on my Louis Braille book and wonder how anyone could make all those dots become words (Helen mastered four alphabets – palm signing; hand signing, Braille and regular raised letters – as well as studying four languages: English, German, French and Greek).
As I have grown older, I have discovered the joyful, beautiful, warm and loving personality of Helen Keller. Her quotes are all so extraordinary that I was hard-pressed to come up with just three.
As a Canadian who lives almost on the border of the the country Helen called home, I have been watching the antics of the president of Canada’s closest neighbour with growing disbelief and dismay. I cannot help but wonder what my childhood hero would think of what the current administration has allowed her country’s president to get away with. I cannot help but wonder what she would be saying if she were still alive to voice her opinions on the hate-filled, misogynistic, racist, narcissistic, opinionated, self-centred ‘president’ currently sitting in the White House. This person who praises those who march in the name of hatred; who reviles peaceful demonstrations; who coldly badmouths his closest allies and warmly makes allies out of cruel dictators; who brags about grabbing women in inappropriate parts of their anatomy; who rips children away from their parents at the lowest and most terrifying point in their lives: I expect my brave hero would be much more vocal than I have been, at speaking her mind. Here are a few of her quotes that certainly work in the current context:
Oh, but I do wish that beautiful, inspiration words were enough…
Patti Moore Wilson/© wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com