When you have a great story, you need to tell it.
Myron Uhlberg was born the hearing son of two deaf parents at a time when deaf people were at best ignored and at worst considered undesirables. In his memoir Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love, he recounts how as a child he often heard people make crude remarks about "the dummies." People on the subway would turn away with disgust from his parents as they signed. Store clerks, teachers, and doctors treated them as if they were stupid. Even his grandparents, aunts, and uncles did little to help; none of the family would bother to learn sign language. In 1930s Brooklyn, deafness was a social disease.
As early as age four, Uhlberg became his parents "voice," negotiating with the butcher for a better piece of meat, getting the proper change, demanding that they be served. He even had to translate at his own parent-teacher conferences; he admits that he tried to edit the teacher's criticisms, but his father could tell from facial expressions that the teacher was not praising Myron's school work. He also had to listen in the night for his brother's epileptic seizures and wake his parents when he could not handle them by himself.
Uhlberg is now an author of children's books. Near the end of Hands of My Father, he tells the story that inspired his book Dad, Jackie, and Me, a picture book about Jackie Robinson and the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers.
Childhood was hard for Uhlberg, but he looks back with warmth and humor in Hands of My Father. He portrays his parents as intelligent, loving people who demanded much from him but gave him much in return. While some of his stories are sad, others are funny. Readers will run through most of their emotions reading this inspiring memoir.
Uhlberg, Myron. Hands of My Father: A Hearing Boy, His Deaf Parents, and the Language of Love. Bantam Books, 2009. ISBN 9780553806885