Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Family Stories (Part 4) Hun and Nick

Mom's stories about her sister Alice, or Hun, and brother Nick. Nick was deaf and I remember Mom always talking about learning sign language to communicate better with him. She even continued that after his passing in the 1980s.

The larger photo is of my aunt Peggy and Hun in Montana. The second photo is of Nick in 1953. Both photos are from the 1950s.
(Sis and Vern | Loren and Bernice | Bud and Elmer | Terry and Dard | Greg, Karon and Mickey)

Next we have Alice, who we call Hun. To put this in perspective, Hun is 10 years older than me.

Hun was around the most. She helped with housework and cooking. She used to tease us. I remember I am very afraid of spiders, and many of them came in the house. They would perch themselves on the wall. Every time I went to sleep, the first thing I would check the wall for spiders. ... One time, Hun had one by the leg and was holding it over the old cook stove as though to cook it. She said she was going to eat it and pretended to do it. Of course, we screamed as she dropped it in the fire.

Hun went to a two-year teacher's college and began teaching in Sioux Falls at the School for the Deaf and lived with Sis. That is how she met Joe, Sis's boyfriend Henry's brother. ... He was in the Army, so she hardly saw him. Love is funny.

Next came Nick. He was born deaf. He could neither hear, nor speak. Since Nick is 8 years older than I, I don't remember the discussions about when Mom and Dad found out when he was deaf.

I do remember one story about him when he was little, 5 maybe. He was lost. The corn in the field was about three-feet high and Mom was frantic. She knew that was where he was. Calling him did nothing. After several hours, someone finally found him sleeping in a corn row.

Mom was very protective of him. She worried for him to drive on the highway. The boys always took him along riding their bikes on the highway. They included him in on their games.

Nick attended school in Sioux Falls where Sis taught. She was there for eight years and made sure the Catholic kids got their instruction and to church.

From my own observance, it was an experience being with Nick. When you are a passenger in his car, you do not talk to him. One time an ambulance or police car sounded like it was coming at us. I couldn't tell Nick as it would upset his concentration. Anyway, it didn't hit us. Sometimes it would be better if we didn't hear it, then we wouldn't be so nervous.

He had a job at a manufacturing plant in Rapid City. He was foreman of his group. He got along well with the group. About this time, I started a year and a half school in Rapid City. That put him a block and half from me. So I had to remind him every week about picking me up and what time. I had to climb up stairs then get his attention.

Nick smoked cigarettes all the time, right down to the filter. I am not a smoker and this smelled bad.

There were only a certain number of the family that he would listen to. He listened to Peggy and Elmer and Dard. The smoking got to him eventually and he developed lung cancer. In the mid 80s at Christmas time, we lost him. The service was beautiful.

He was in with the deaf club in Rapid City. Someone signed the whole Mass. They all came to the lunch. It was too bad that our mother wasn't there. She would have loved to see us all grown up.

His boss from work and many of the people on his line at work came. His boss had only praise for him. He always stayed on task, as there wasn't any of the visiting.

Connie, July 2011

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