A little background before we start the story on this chapter of farm life. My Mom started to lose her hearing at the age of 19 years old. The Doctors could not find why she had hearing loss, but it happened suddenly. As time went on, she lost most of her hearing in both of her ears. She first began explaining it to people by saying that she had an ear infection.
As my sister Arletta grew older, she became my Mom’s ears. If someone would come to the door trying to sell something such as the Fuller Brush Man, Arletta would turn to Mom and say, “I didn’t know we need brushes Mom?” Our Mom would take that info and run with it. When Arletta was around 10 years old, she and our Mom went to the John Tracy Clinic to learn how to read lips. John Tracy was the son of actor Spencer Tracy’s. His Mom realized that he was deaf at the age of 10 months. It was discovered that he had severe nerve damage that prevented him from hearing. So, his family started the clinic which is still in business today and helps many children to learn how to work with their loss efficiently.
Later as you know Mom, Dad, Alanna, Janice and Henry all left California after the war to live in Olympia, Washington. Arletta stayed behind with her Father and later came to Washington to live with Mom and my Dad for a few years, but left at around the age of 16 or 17 years old. So now we will go forward with the story.
After I was born and Arletta had left my Mom would have trouble hearing me as an infant in the other room. So here comes Dad to the rescue. My Dad was a very intelligent man and was very good at creating objects to help out with her problem. In this case he created the first baby monitor. He wired speakers from old parts he found placing them from my room to the front room so she could hear if I was crying or needed her. The speaker could also be put in the front room windows so that if she was outside she would still be able to hear me. Pretty amazing if you asked me. To bad he didn’t patent it.
Later after I was a few months older, her friends from her former job at the State Capitol, got together and bought my Mom her very first hearing aid. Mom would have been 37 years old, living with being hearing impaired for 18 years without the help of a hearing aid. Her hearing aid was about the size of a cell phone but probably about a half inch to three quarters of and inch thick. She would carry it in her bra with a wire leading from the unit to a hearing piece placed in her ear. It ran on batteries. Mom would continue to wearing a hearing aid until I was 19 years old when she went to Dr. House who told her that her hearing was do to calcium deposits on the bone in her middle ear. He would perform surgery on both of her ears and replace the bone with a wire. Mom as she would joke, became wired for sound. The operation remained sound up to the time of her passing. She was always very thankful to Dr House and Jesus for the healing.