Adventures of a CODA
Hello! That's my photo on the cover of my memoir titled, "Adventures of a CODA, Child of Deaf Adults." I am Just two years old and totally unaware of the exciting life I am destined to live as a Hearing Child of Deaf Adults.
From the moment I was born, I faced a challenging communication barrier. While I could hear and speak, my parents were Deaf and communicated silently using sign language. CODA literature testifies that most, if not all, CODAs face that same predicament. Over the years, a number of CODA memoirs have been published, and each is unique and one-of-a-kind. However, the story of my life as a CODA is strikingly different from all the other CODA literature online and in bookstores. Let me tell you why my memoir is unique.
My recorded adventures begin at my birth in 1933 and span eighty-three years to 2016. To my knowledge, there is no other CODA book existing that can give you that perspective. I take you way back in time to my birth, to identify with me and to relive my life from its beginning. It was a period when there were no trained sign language interpreters, and family members used mouth movements and gestures to help doctors, employers, business owners, and others to communicate with their Deaf relatives. If there happened to be a Hearing child in an all-Deaf family, that child automatically assumed the role of "interpreter." The recent Academy Award-winning CODA movie starring Emelia Jones and Marlee Matlin, seems to have been set in the same time frame as my book, but that's where the similarity stops cold! Ruby, the character that Emelia Jones plays, is obviously unhappy with her interpreting tasks and longs to escape to the world of music. Her dour facial expressions reveal her sadness. I definitely didn't feel that way at all! My Deaf parents included me in their Deaf Culture. When I turned four, they began to take me to the weekly meetings of the local club of the Deaf where I was quickly adopted by the members. They seemed just as fascinated with me as I was with them, and their favorite activity was teaching me new ways to sign. So, by the time I was six or seven, the members and I understood each other so well that they persuaded me to interpret whenever a member had an appointment with a doctor, a lawyer, or other service provider. Those were exciting times for me. As I observed my parents and their Deaf friends, their positive ways of adjusting to their disability impressed me deeply, and my love and admiration for them grew by leaps and bounds. Ultimately, it set the direction of my life.
I wrote my account in a way that would enable readers to experience almost firsthand the unusual, and sometimes traumatic, events that taught me what deafness is like and what it means. As you read my descriptions, you sit with me in my dilemma as my mother teaches me to sign in English sentences while my father uses what is now called American Sign Language (ASL) which has no trace of English in it. You accompany me when, at age eleven, I am given interpreting tasks that are mind-blowing! Fast-forward to the times when, as an adult, I take you with me on several interpreting assignments, each one an exciting and unique adventure. You are with me all the way!
To explore this exceptional account of one CODA's life, I invite you to read its Amazon reviews. Adventures of a CODA” Just click here. Then, while you are there, you can read the first thirty pages of the book and grow up with me as I learn to live in two worlds, the Hearing and the Deaf. I'm thinking that you will want to read my memoir, and I guarantee that, as you journey with me, you will expand your worldview and better understand such terms as deafness, Deaf people, CODAs, sign language, ASL, Deaf Culture, and sign language interpreting. For a closer look inside my book right now, click here “MY MEMOIR.” Don't miss the info on the other tabs, as well. And, if you want to ask any question, just click on the CHAT tab and send your message directly to me. I look forward to chatting with you digitally.
Ruth A. Reppert