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Episode 7 of 187

Helen Keller

station description Two women. Half the population. Several thousand years of history. About an hour.
The History Chicks
Duration: 01:19:06
Writer, public speaker, friend, daughter, world traveler, and a woman who may have had physical disabilities, but was not disabled.
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Writer, public speaker, friend, daughter, world traveler, and a woman who may have had physical disabilities, but was not disabled.
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she? Helen Keller is very quotable. Yeah, she's very quotable. She also said, For the first time that night, I longed for a new day to come. That's amazing. That's what that is right there. I think that is a nice hoping to scum be Alabama. So and he decided. And this is not according to the Perkins School, this is instinctual, so proud. She's already gone off track a little bit. Perkins had suggested that she dio Perkins wants her to do drills and rote learning. Yeah, rote learning. Now you know that was the time to tell us schools, that's what That's what. Yeah, you memorized? If you had comprehension, didn't matter as long as you could spot about S O. So Andy decided to teach telling to talk the way that the baby talks. There were a lot of family around the colors in and out visiting, and one of the little cousins was about the right age to just learn to talk. And and he observed that how they talk to that baby was they would talk in full sentences, and the baby would just take out mommy milk or whatever, whatever it came out of, it. And so and I decided to just spell full sentences. And you know, what if she didn't get the middle words? So what? Because little kids don't get the middle words, but they get what's going on and they pick up the rhythm of their natural language. You know, that was amazing to learn that I have often wondered how Helen understood kind of concepts or grammar or anything, but that was a lot of sense to me, you know, because you do, you talk to your child and you never have to sit down and explain. Waas is the past tense of the verb to be. Never. Do you have that conversation? No, you know this very moment. Can you imagine that? But if left to the Perkins School, that's how she would learn eso. Here's an example kind of how she expressed herself at the very beginning. It's not very fluent, but you can kind of see how she's developing in her thought process. Somebody gave her some candy that happens a lot does, and she's eating most of it immediately on the way back. But she saved one on purpose, she said. Give baby candy, baby meaning her little sister give baby candy she would spell. And then her mother, who was learning to spell, wrote no baby Eat no and Helen asked. She felt the baby's mouth inside, and then she asked for the word. She pointed to her own teeth and asked, What's that? What? This What? Bond? Then she wrote, Baby teeth. No baby. Eat candy? No. Is that a leap? That's huge. So she was basically saying, Oh, the baby candy candy Because it doesn't have any teeth. Yeah, And so this quote, though, makes me like on an Sullivan very much already. Like Dan Sullivan, too, she says. It's much better, I think, to assume the child is doing his part and that the seed you soon will bear fruit in due time. Yes, that is my parenting philosophy right there. I mean, I was the one that was using the big words on the kids when all the other parents or, you know, talking in the short sentence, the short baby talk, I'm talking and just like I'm talking to you right now, I talk to my Children and they I, well, brag on. My kids have very good vocabularies because of it. Yeah, Helen had an advantage from the beginning with this philosophy of teaching. I think it was just very natural that sugar, they went on all these science field trips and they made models out of things. So Hollande can feel them. They did a lot of knitting and sewing because it was good for her manual dexterity. And And he had this philosophy, Any question Helen would ask, she would try to answer no matter what. And no matter if it was late at night or or whatever. So I thought that was very amazing. And Hellman had written later that the first years of my education was so very beautiful. That's nice. There's something to be said for instincts when yeah, when dealing with you? I think so. They decided to make the great pilgrimage to Boston to Perkins, the Perkins Institute and Mr and Diagnosis, which I wish he had, um, or easily Pronounceable name. Let's call him. No, we're gonna call him Mr A. Because, really, the number of times I will stumble over that name make you roll your eyes. He is now officially e on of the Perkins School. Helen Waas excited to meet the other. Now there were no other than Laura Bridgman, deaf and blind Children. This was a school for the blind. E think there were less than 50 people total worldwide, as far as I know. But she thought that the Children, the little blind girls, you know, that's what she called them would have some kind of secret magic since they could hear had it in her mind that there was gonna be something they would know that she didn't know and she was kind of disappointed. They were just ordinary. But she did really bond with them. And she kind of felt like a foreigner coming back to her country because everyone there could do the finger alphabet. Right? Right. They welcomed for right away. And as soon as she got there, they started spelling in her in her hand. Yeah, and she's like, It's my pain people. Yeah. So she was. Yeah. She was so excited. And she was so eager to learn Braille like the little blind girls. And she wanted to write them letters, her friends. And if we all had students this motivated, I tell you what she learned all all her Braille letters in one day. That's amazing. She was so motivated. And then she got into counting. Should count everything Count, Count, Count and Annie Sullivan wrote to her friend. I really hope she does not take it into her head to count all the hair on her head because we are in some trouble. She's She's a numbers girl. Yeah, and some of Helen's Helen's. I'm sentences about now, right when she's she's exploding with vocabulary knowledge. She would say What color is think Does that sound so poetic? And she she didn't know the name of a lake, but she had remembered someone told her that squirrels came there to drink, so she always called it Squirrel Cup Lake couple. I think that's so cute. On a field trip, they went to a blast furnace, and it was so hot she stopped and she looked a little alarmed and said, Did the sun fall? And then she also wrote. She asked, What about colors a lot like she asked what color her little sister's eyes were. And when told they were blue, she said, Are they like little skies in her face? I wonder what was going in her head. I wonder what I mean. Blue is just That's a nabs tracked concept. It seems like you could almost get red because red, hot, hot read It almost seems like this go. But I don't know how you would get the rest of them. They go for us unless you have a vague memory of it. I just I don't choose 19 months old. She might. I probably not. Well, Anne Sullivan was a very, very reluctant to publish or even right to her old teacher. Mr A. A lot about Helen's amazing progress. She was, She did. She was very reluctant because she was kind of fearing this kind of circus act that had happened to Laura Bridgman. Laura Bridgman was exhibited and she didn't want that for She even said Helen should not be turned into a prodigy. If I can help, it s Oh, she only wrote stuff for publication with great prodding. She was just so afraid of the circus. Yeah, well, I was speaking of circus is kind of funny. When she was about seven years old, she was taken to a circus. Were okay. All kinds of craziness happened. The monkeys still her hair ribbon. That was so delightful. Like little old weird men. Hair styled hair ribbon that was so delightful. They let the leopards lick her hand. They let the leopards lick her hand. Yeah. Wow. And then she got to write on the elephants. And this is so cool that, like people, let her do stuff. That is just amazing. They totally set the tone for the rest of her life. This is like, This is a tiny little slice of what she was allowed to do the rest of her life. People made accommodations for her and her specialness that they just wouldn't make for anybody else. The giraffe, she fed the giraffes. I have to tell you, I fed a giraffe with my son. And when they lick you gross, it was a big, big time. It's like somebody's rubbing a whole package of raw chicken on your arm. I'm telling you what, So I do not know if Helen like that feeding the giraffes, I back it. Graham did not like it. Her report on this is not recorded. But I'll tell you, that's not good. Okay, Now, here's even a funny part. The wild man of Borneo. The wild man of Borneo was totally scared of her and freaked out. Ran away. She also her favorite story was Little Red Riding Hood. Really? Do we know anything about Little Red Riding Hood? Why, yes, we do. It's on you. But she wanted She wanted that over and over and over and over. Lost in the woods, lost in the woods. She found her way out, lost in the woods. Found a way out. Lost in the woods. It was like a parallel. Yeah, Yeah. Someone had to tell that over and over and over and over and over. You know, after she got out there to the blast furnace field trip into the circus and all these places where Anne was taking her, she started to become this famous object of curiosity, Honestly, that she was taken to a doctor's convention and every single person there eminent men all over the country wanted to come talk to Helen Keller. Bond, Have her finger speak to them. Up until that point, it wasn't recognized that people with handicaps could do all this. You know, it was limitations. Was all you thought of when you looked at a handicapped person. When you look at Helen Keller, you thought possibility
and we're back. Let's talk about this. So March 3rd, Annie arrives at the Keller home. She gets busy right away with her studies with her. She does. She decides that the best way to proceed is to do the finger alphabet. I'm gonna put a link to the finger alphabet. It's the one in modern sign language, even where you spell the letters instead of certain signs for everything. It's a spelling, right? And it's a little changed from from back in those days, but it's functionally the same thing. Each letter has a in English, has a sign, right? And so she would hold out Helen's hand and make the sign into her hand, which seems awkward. But I suppose once you're used to it, it goes pretty quickly. I think that, yeah, when you watch, you can watch YouTube videos and we'll link up because we love you, too. Um, yeah, they do it very rapidly. So the first lesson she decided waas that she would spell out doll d o l l. And it was she was meant to trade off, you know, spelling and holding out the doll spelling doll given to the doll spelling doll holding out the doll. But Helen Keller freaked out that someone was taking the doll away and had one of her like so that was a failed experiment. So the next day it was C a k eight. And then we need some cake. She got the cake and ate it up really fast because she was afraid that she was going to take it away again. You know, like you took the doll, right? This case and she, like, shoved it in her head as fast as you know. Luckily, it was one piece of that. The whole cake. That would have been a much more spectacular lesson. So So a few days later, after Cem, other things had been done. She starts. She meant to spell out sowing card. She had taught Helen too. So on a little card already. This is four days after she got there. She was so delighted to have a new thing to learn. So she sewed the card, and then she spelled C A for card. See, A and Helen was like, there's gonna be cake, eh? So she was very excited. They wanted some cake and right down to where it. Waas. Oh, okay, So she has been connecting in a vague kind of way that when it starts with C A, there might be cake. Okay, that's kind of an interesting little interim breakthrough Days after she get with three months before Helen is seven. So she is a six year old child. She's making these connections and an iwas instructed by the people of Perkins not to coddle Helen, not to spoil her and just toe work her. And so that's what she's doing. And obviously, you know she's connecting on Day three. She's getting that. There's connection between the spelling and an item is pretty good. However, if you've ever seen any of the movies, this is one of the scenes. Do you remember about a week later from when he gets there? This famous breakfast battle royal we've all seen? There's the dinner table and Helen's walking around, helping herself from everybody's plates. Nobody's really regarding it. It's just have a rolls around that house. It's part of her being able to explore her world, and I don't know if it's free to be you and me land referent. When everyone's just a peaceful life, it's quieter this way. Let's not quiet. Didn't Yeah, breakfast. Annie Sullivan is She is putting her hand on my eggs. Really? Not at all comfortable with this. And she wants to stop this in the bud. And so she returns hell into her chair. And Helen has never had this happen to her before. This is not how breakfast goes. This is not how it goes. And so she starts to lose her mind, and Annie starts to lose her patients. And finally, after the mom and the dad was like, Oh, now, see, we always just do you all need to leave. I cannot handle this with all of you in here making excuses for her. And my goodness, did it take three hours off Helen throwing the spoon and he picking up the spoon and he putting her home in the chair. You will eat the eggs. We will spit the exit. And his face it is. I'm not entirely sure, but at one point, and I almost think this was the day she broke out. Annie Sullivan's to Franti. Yes, I believe you're right. This'll was the big the big day when all the wills got broken or whatever. And my goodness, everyone was exhausted and sweating. And, of course, the mom is pressed to the other side of the door with her tears weeping down the side of the door. And you know, the father has taken himself off to smoke or something outside. He's probably knocking back some whiskey outside everyone's. This is like the ultimate Cry it out right here. Yeah, and they can't. They can't stand it. But Andy Sullivan said, I cannot. If you don't bug out of this, I want to go home. They brought her there to do a job, what they were doing. He wasn't working, so let's change it around. So the family did agree that that was a good strategy. But they also agree that they couldn't witness six. It was hurting their hearts. So they came up with a plan. So eight days later, this is the only March 11th. You know already she's so much of the family. She's like dinner a little over a week. Yeah, that they decided. Okay, the honeymoon cottage where we lived when we were first married, when Helen was first born. We will take you there, and that's where you'll be and it's right next door. I mean, it's not like a track. It is right. It's like a garage sites building right next door to the house. Yeah, So they were off to the Garden house with a little boy named Percy to be their servants and stoke up the fire and, you know, fetch the meals and everything so Andy could concentrate on Helen. So Helen ignored the heck out of her teacher at first. Just sat there staring into space, doing nothing, reacting to nothing, refusing to touch her nothing. She was not very happy. But during this two week period that they were in this garden house, her behavior became almost unrecognizable. She's sitting there happily. She's been taught to knit. She's sitting there by the fireplace, and he's teaching her something. She's signing back a little bit. She's taken to patting herself on the arm as a new sign, and that means good job. She described it later. That was when I was doing a good job. She patted herself on the arm like good job. So just in two weeks she had so much to do. They went outside. They scored the garden they built things, they made things out of one. It was a good philosophy of just inserting education, secretly in isolation. It's like those emerging classes where they only speak to you in the foreign language. You have to pick it up. Palin was bright and she wanted to learn.
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