Watch video on Youtube

Video Transcript

For a fully keyboard-accessible alternative to this video, view it in Chrome or on any Android or iOS device, view it in Firefox with the YouTube ALL HTML5 add-on installed, or disable Flash in Internet Explorer.

Marcia: Well, hello everyone and welcome to the talk of the town. We're going to get right with it because there are so many things that I enjoyed while we were on our trip and one of them was a letter that I received, an email I received from Ruth Reppert, and Ruth when you wrote me and said you would love to just get the word out about what it is to be a child of deaf parents and you have written a book and I want to welcome you and thank you so much for spending some time with us.

Ruth: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Marcia: Let's go back a little bit though because you have written your memoirs and what I loved most of all is when you said I'm now a permanent resident of Vero Beach. And so you've been living here now for how long?

Ruth: Eighteen years.

Marcia: Eighteen years. And you came from?

Marcia: Fort Lauderdale. Oh, so you're a Floridian?

Ruth: Yes.

Marcia: Alright! Well, we're delighted that you're here. And when did you start writing this book and when did you start keeping notes about your life?

Ruth: I never started keeping notes other than what was in my mind, memory, but when I turned 80.

Marcia: You didn't. You haven't gotten there yet?

Ruth: Oh yes.

Marcia: Look at her. I don't know what it is. We're going to have to, everybody has to read this book. There may be some little tips in there. Oh my goodness.

Ruth: Yeah, so when I turned 80 I, I had this desire to write a book for my kids, for my children, because in the busyness of life, even though they knew their grandparents, they didn't know their background, what they were like when they were younger. I wanted them to know that my experiences were different than theirs, a different world

Marcia: and that's what you're really spreading the word to all of us.

Ruth: Well, it ended up. I started out just for the family and then as I went, went on and progressed. I had this urge to tell everyone

Marcia: Sure

Ruth: to reveal it to everyone because I thought it would be a very good step forward.

Marcia: Well, I enjoyed so much reading when you said that you. You wrote on a mission to promote awareness and the general public about the silent minority in their midst,

Ruth: Exactly

Marcia: And those who are deaf and communicate with sign language.

Ruth: Exactly.

Marcia: I love this. Now you are a retired public school teacher.

Ruth: I am.

Marcia: You've worked with children. You've worked with students and you've taught and this, what you want to do is let all of us know and I think I mentioned to you Ruth, and if you are tuning in, I'm speaking with Ruth Reppert, she is the author of this wonderful book called C O D A and that is Adventures of a Child of Deaf Parents and we're going to talk all about that, but what I really enjoyed so much was mentioning to you that having been on this trip in Portugal, we had met this wonderful couple that every once in a while, well, the speakers were speaking or the leaders were talking. They were doing these silly things with their fingers to each each and then just sort of and a little bit of their head and then finally when we really got to know them, they have taught sign language for years and years and years and they were so thrilled when I said I was going to be interviewing you. So let's really go into what it is that you experienced most as a child that you want everybody to know about living with deaf parents.

Ruth: Well, I start out my book from my birth and I could, It's amazing people asked me, how did you remember this? They are seared in my memory because they were so shocking. They were so different. Uh, and I had to endure some very painful experiences before I realized that my parents could not hear me

Marcia: Such as?

Ruth: Such as being locked in a room inadvertently and calling out and screaming, help. Come, come get me. I'm locked here. And My mother was calling me and walking around the house looking for me. She could not hear me. And I was only three years old. So it was a very traumatic. That's just one traumatic experience that I had. That's when I learned and when when I came out of the room I was hysterical and if my mother calmed me down and gave me a drink of water and she said, look at me, look in my eyes. I did not know you were in that room. You must've come in behind me. I did not see you. I want you to remember something. I must see you to know that you are in the room. And when she said that to me, I suddenly realized it was my fault that I got locked in the room, I didn't let her see me.

Marcia: But she was teaching you to. And so she spoke. But I mean all of us now, and I know all of my listeners are, are envisioning this as I know have, is to. I have tears in my eyes because you think of a three year old child that has no idea and this is just one example of what you went through and as you say, even as a three year old, this is in your brain specifically.

Ruth: Yes. They all are there.

Marcia: Well, when we go onto this, because I know that everybody's going to want to see this book and I know that I, you gave me a link and I went in and I just watched a little bit of the trailer and a little bit of, of what you were doing and so when you walked in I knew exactly who you were as well, but how would someone find out more information about the book and of course we're going to go in and talk a little bit more about it as well.

Ruth: Well, they can go on Amazon.com and type in the title Adventures of a Cota and up will come some reviews and also the first 29 pages.

Marcia: That's what's great. Yes.

Ruth: And uh, become familiar with it.

Marcia: Well, I love it. And remember when the name of the book is, adventures of a capital C, capital O, Capital D, capital A, Child of Deaf Adults.

Ruth: Yes. And there are many C.O.D.As. A C.O.D.A, Of course, is a child born of deaf adults. Some of us are deaf, born to deaf adults and some of us are hearing.

Marcia: So, so your mother and father were deaf?

Ruth: Yes. My mother lost her hearing when she had spinal meningitis. She was 10 years old. My father was deaf when he was a very young child, a baby. So there was a difference between them. She spoke and heard until she was 10. So she had perfect speech.

Marcia: Oh yes, she could.

Ruth: And she was a wonderful lip reader.

Marcia: Well now this is what is interesting too because we're looking at it now from two different viewpoints from you as a child of deaf parents, and I'm thinking of that parent who was raising a child and knew that she couldn't hear. And then that example that you just gave us, but when before you wrote all of this down, did you. What was your purpose? Because you talk about sign language to.

Ruth: Well, as I said, my purpose initially was just to pass this on to family. But as I wrote, I had this desire to being a teacher. I started educating. I, I thought I want people to know this. I want people to understand this because you could walk past a person who is deaf in your lifetime or in your daily chores and never know that a person is deaf unless you notice someone signing or if they that kind of thing and you don't realize the public doesn't realize the barriers that society puts up to people who can't hear and I wanted them to experience some of those barriers and be more sensitive and aware.

Marcia: I thought it was interesting the way you use the term silent majority or the silent minority and the individuals that, those of us who have no idea but because it is kind of weird when you're sitting there at a dinner table and all of a sudden these two people start using their fingers in weird ways and you think, what in the world are they saying? And talking to one another. We only have a couple of minutes and in the hair, but I think really the most wonderful thing is you have moved here. You've been here since 1996 and your book also incorporates some, uh, so many of the wonderful little places around our community here in Vero Beach.

Ruth: It does

Marcia: such as.

Ruth: Oh, such as

Marcia: modern age furniture store.

Ruth: Modern Age Furniture. There is an episode there isn't there.

Marcia: I love it. Yes. And McKee gardens and the Lobster Shanti.

Marcia: So it brings us all home. Everyone must get it. You can go online and get it. It is our, one of our books centers have it here locally

Ruth: It's in the library.

Marcia: Oh good. It's in the library as well. But if you were to say to somebody, because I think if I'm not mistaken, you can also learn a great deal about learning sign language. Yes. You have a site here to go to?

Ruth: Yes. I have a website. It's www.signlanguagemadesimple.com and that is a DVD that I made demonstrating sign language.

Marcia: Oh, terrific. Because I still, I watched these and where our friends that we met on the trip, I could not figure out how in the world at all. It looked to me as though they were pointing to each other and how they can get exact. I mean get the words out and everybody should learn. That kind of is a good secret, but if you have a really, as you say, I think when you read regarding your book that you dare say that your story is unlike most any book that most people have read.

Ruth: Exactly,

Marcia: and so what is your greatest desire for people to learn when they read your book?

Ruth: My greatest desire is that become more sensitive and more willing to learn how to communicate basic signs so that when they encounter someone who is deaf, they can at least say hello. How are you? Was something very simple.

Marcia: Is it something? Is it something that children could learn as well?

Ruth: Oh, absolutely. This is my, but it's not. My material is not for. No, but just knowing that no, this is a family book. I mean a really informative book and as you say, just reaching out to that silent minority and letting the world know what they can do to participate as well and make it a little bit better for them and maybe a little more understanding to all of us. Well Ruth, Robert, this has been absolutely wonderful.

Marcia: I love it and as you say, the purpose of all of these conversations is not to sell your book. Just to spread the word that it. And when we envisioned that incident that you talked about that three year old child who was calling and calling for help and didn't know that his mother was deaf and she was calling and calling for him, looking for him. Oh, what a story. Ruth. Thanks so very, very much for being us, can't wait to read the entire book.

Ruth: My pleasure

Marcia: and I wish I could say stayed with us and sign language. We will be back.

Search