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A short post just memories and my early childhood. I have no complaints for I knew love very young. Just some things, trials and stuff i felt and remember. I had a very good early childhood and one which saw for me only love and happiness. Typical family events.

I was born deaf and the only child in my family to be born so. All my brothers and sisters had normal hearing function. From my earliest days I remember what a struggle it was to get my thoughts across. I remember the difficulties involved in everyone learning to sign for me. I always felt as though there was some animosity toward me that they were forced to learn a new language. I know this isn’t true but I always felt that way and never truly shook that off.

There were always some tensions between me and my older siblings a few of whom took great pleasure in scaring me by sneaking up on me. Being deaf I wouldn’t hear them approaching. I remember the first time I learned to feel the floor and my brother David jumped when I spun around into his face instead. I found it funny as he landed on the floor in full retreat. 

We grew up speaking our native language in the house and English anytime we were outside the house. A difficult transition when first learning to read lips. So I learned the ability to read lips in both languages. Though to this day my father can fall between English and Lakota so quickly. The transition then is far from seamless.

Not being able to hear mother call for dinner and me often just going out to play. Lead to trials of their own. The dog wouldn’t leave me no matter how much they called. They had to find a way…

So my parents outfitted me with a pager that would buzz on my arm. It fit in a little pouch dad pade tied on with aleather strap. When it went off it meant come home for dinner or for some other reason.

I liked to wander out a lot to the play ground or the beach. Sometimes with my brother Martin or sister Angie and sometimes just with my dog Jackie a Rhodesian ridgeback.

Wide eyed amazement for everything in the world. Jackie and I explored it together. I know she always knew where home was. I knew I was her child (her human) from before I could walk.

I remember the older ladies in the neighborhood watching out for me. Often they’d see me and Jackie out playing and one or two would come sit on the park bench. It seemed the neighborhood watched out for me then. Though honestly as long as that dog drew breath I was safe.

I was her human, she slept with me and was never far from me. No leash, no commands she even learned sign and listened to me. That was my best friend growing up until she passed away when I was 11. No dog ever since has replaced my Jackie. Sometimes I still miss her but all my memories of her are good ones.

I remember once we were at the ocean and mom and dad were calling me by calling the dog. But I wasn’t ready to go so I just kept playing. What does the backstabber do she barks and tells my parents hey we’re over here! Silly dog the mud was fun…

She would walk me to the school bus and when I was safe inside she would go home. Everyday when the bus came back there was Jackie waiting to walk me home. How she danced around me always wanting to play.

I remember I was about five and Jackie was trying to take my spanking once. I’d been bad and she wouldn’t let my father swat me. What a dog I had as a child.

I remember family events and trying to find the best vantage point to “hear” everyone. Obviously I mean to read their lips. I remember it was frustrating when they began talking and then turned away. I often only got half the conversations.

I remember the first fishing trip dad took me on when I was just 4. I remember how yucky the worms were, and also how tasty the fish were. Jackie stole half of mine but I didn’t mind much. That was a great night spent just me and dad watching the stars and talking until the wee hours until I feel asleep in his arms. He must have carried me home because I woke in my bed with Jackie at the foot on her pillow too.

I remember my dad teaching me chess and how many times I almost won. Until that day he let the game get to close. My first victory I was all of nine years old and you’d have thought I won the super bowl. Dad spinning me in his arms, mom running out to see what the commotion was, Jackie barking and jumping about.

That was and is my family. We cheer for each other, pick at each other, but most of all we love each other. When things go right for us we celebrate and when they go wrong we rotect each other.

These are some of the things flooding back to my memory as my darkened past shrinks it seems more and more memories return. Hidden from me for so long and coming back to me in bursts. Beautiful bursts and memories in a wave of rising tides.

Some memories as they came back. Pretty normal and unexceptional life but a good one, yes it was very good.

~Michelle Styles – January 15, 2014