Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So long, my old friend, Terry Ann (Thompson) Brignole!

A copy of newspaper of Terry demonstrating the use of teletype. ( I believe it was Model 15 ) - in 1972. Thank you, Blake Newman for sharing the copy.

Finding out that my old friend, Terry Ann (Thompson) Brignole had departed this life. I shed some tears because it brought me back to the old days.

We were small children and we were in car pool attending oral school program. We used to ride mornings and afternoons back and forth for sometime. We were normal children having fun. We did not know we were deaf. Just being in an environment where it was safe. Her mother and my mother would sit down and share news and drink some coffee.

Then years later she left to go to state school for deaf and I continued on to public schools. We drifted apart for while.

Right out of high school in 1971 she contacted me and wanted some assistance with English with some deaf friends. She asked me to help them. I obliged to do and I realized there was deaf world. I was raised in oral philosophy. I learned sign language late at 17 then added more through the years with numerous friends gatherings. She wanted to see better services.

This picture above was a beginning of deaf advocacy through her mother and the actions of Terry and friends. I remember it like yesterday. We were so young and we were excited about getting a tty. I used to come over Terry's many times cuz we lived in Webster Groves. It was fun bicycling over to see her and chat. Her home was a party place where many deafies through the years came.

She was even prouder when her mother ran St. Louis Hearing and Speech Center. Her mother and father tried their best to see that deaf adults and children have better lives. Her father was a State Representative. Her mother was on state school board for sometime. They led very active lives and still had time for deaf people. They often showed up at deaf functions.

Of course, we had ups and downs when it came to leadership issues and getting advocacy. We worked together in raising funds and set up programs and activities for about a decade at the Center. It was fun and challenging.

I saw her the last time at GSLAD about several weeks ago. After all these years, I realized it would be the last time I see her. I gave her a hug and hold a few moments embrace. I thank her for giving me insight into deaf advocacy.

The bottom line is that she did her time on Earth. She is to be remembered for her good deeds. She has always had a "Thompson" smile!

Paul's Note: She ought to be inducted into Deaf Hall of Fame. In my eyes, she is one of unsung heroes.