This is my grandmother, Jimmie Marie Thomas-Jordan, as a youth
My grandmother was born in Birmingham, AL and she along with her parents moved to Detroit, MI in the early 1910s She was 2 almost 3 years old when she became ill, and lost her hearing. I don’t know the illness that did it. I know that my great-grandmother called to my grandmother and my grandmother never answered or indicated that she heard her mom calling her. That’s when great-grandmother took her to the doctor and discovered she was deaf.
In the picture above she is attending Michigan School of the Deaf in Flint, MI. She is about 9 or 10 years old (about 1920 or 21) in this picture.
This is a picture of the Michigan School of the Deaf about the turn of the 20th century.
Here is something quaint: When my mother was a little girl and attended school, the teachers thought that she was a deaf-mute because she never spoke. They finally realized that she could speak. It was the fact that her parents were deaf mutes and used sign language to communicate that she didn’t speak.
During that time, my mom said she was embarrassed that her parents couldn’t talk and she hid the fact that she knew sign language until my grandmother came up to her school and began talking on her hands to mom. After she left, the teacher, bless her heart, raved about the fact that my mom could communicate like that. From that time on my mother was never ashamed of sign language again. More tomorrow.
You know what, I think that in this technological age, this hustle and bustle environment in which we live; along with this instant gratification genre we’re all susceptible to, it’s easy to lose out on things that are important and lasting. That’s why I am enjoying talking about my family’s history. With that being said, please meet my grandparents on my mom’s side of the family:
Mr. James & Mrs. Jimmie Marie Shephard
My grandfather James Shephard was born in 1895. My grandmother was born in 1910. Granddaddy passed away in 1970, and Grandma passed away in 1997. They were married for 41 years. This is a really beautiful picture of them. My grandmother was so very lovely. Here is a fact I want to share about them:
My grandparents both were deaf mutes. In our family on my mom’s side, we have two traits: One is that we have twins that show up every other generation. I know because I gave birth to twins myself. And we have that deaf gene I guess you call it, that also shows up every other generation. My grandfather was born deaf, and his brother right behind him was also born deaf. My grandmother at the age of 3 years old had an illness that left her deaf. They had 10 children and all of them were born hearing and speaking.
Brenda the oldest 70 yrs old Zeeland the youngest about 27 yrs old Both deaf (Brenda in one year) Zeeland (completely deaf)
When my mom and aunts and uncles began having their own children, my oldest sister, Brenda, was born deaf in one ear. Now the interesting thing about that is she is the oldest of all of the grandchildren on my mom’s side of the family. The last grandchild to be born to my aunts and uncles, who would be the youngest of all the grandchildren was born totally deaf. Family history is a curiosity that begs to be gratified. More tomorrow.