September 10th, 1994 was my first day of 6th grade. This was also the first day that I came in contact with the Deaf world. During recess, my friend Elizabeth brought out a new girl by the name of Megan Leschly. She was deaf, and her interpreter, Ms. Rosener, did not go out to recess to help her communicate. This was the day I started to learn sign language. From 6th grade to 8th grade Megan went to public school with me and all of our group of friends. We celebrated everything together, even Ms. Rosener went to her going away party we threw at my parents house. In those 3 years I saw a lot of deaf culture, and I can now see the negative side of things. Her mother (who adopted her) didn’t know sign very well, and her brothers and sisters knew the alphabet at most. Going to her house I got to see first hand the flashing lights when the phone rang, or the door bell rang, always having closed captioned on the television, getting to use the TTY operators when I called (I think they got annoyed with me a lot, because I always forgot to say, “Go ahead” at the end of my statements) and unfortunately the cold side of a family that didn’t make many other attempts to reach out to her. So looking back now, I understand why she went away to high school. The first time I’d seen Megan since 8th grade was last summer. Our mutual friend, Maria had kept in better contact with her over the years than I have, so it was natural for Maria to invite Megan to her baby shower. Megan and I talked a little bit, but not much. Just enough to realize she was moving from San Diego to Colorado to live with her sister. I was bummed, seeing I didn’t even know she was in town, much less in the same neighborhood as I was! With the magic of face book, I saw that she had moved back to town in March and we met up for coffee just to catch up on a million years.
The first time we met for coffee was at Starbucks in La Jolla. (Middle ground, since she’s living in Carmel Mountain...
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