In addition to the mental

In addition to the mental track my mind followed this past week, there was also an emotional one. I was distressed that so few CODAs and Deaf folk came to the workshop, and only slightly mollified that there were such tangible, concrete reasons (conflicts with other events of obvious primacy).
Evelyn asked me at one point where I considered “home.” I love my house, land, and situated place here in Vermont, and want to build stronger ties with the community – the town, region, and state. But my success in belonging to a relational community is somewhat limited. My closest friends are those in the graduate program down at UMass, and of course they come from all over, and once we’re done with our degrees will scatter again. As I thought about her question, I realized that truly the only place I have felt HOME, as in part of an extended community, was with the BiBi committee in Indiana. What made that community so unique? Obviously it was an historic moment in Deaf Education, but it really had to do with the chemistry of the people there and their relations with each other. When I arrived, they had already worked through many of the hard trust issues among each other, and I was accepted as an ally at face value, without suspicion. This has never happened to me again. Surely, much of it is due to my own behavior, and to the different situational demands and dynamics of other groups, other factors, other times. But there is something about having had that foundational acceptance that has set a kind of standard with which I subjectively measure other relationships and groups. Occasionally, events arise that illustrate the potential for similar kinds of intercultural community…but they have tended, so far, to be short-lived bursts, rather than continuous unfoldings.

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