This post is part of my series 31 Days of Simply Writing. Every day for the month of October, I will be taking a one word prompt and writing for 5 minutes, similar to what I do for Five Minute Fridays. Today’s word is Sign.
This is one of my very favorite words, because when I think of sign, I think of ASL and sign language. The picture in my header is the sign for interpreter.
I have been learning sign language for almost all of my life. We had a deaf couple in our church growing up. I never understood them, but I was always amazed. And I would sit and watch their fingers fly.
When I was in elementary, my mom and I took a class on SEE, which is Signing Exact English. That is using ASL signs in English Word Order. It’s not the best thing to use, but it is passable and you can communicate when you use it.
Then there was the girl in my cabin at camp who was deaf. I started learning most of the songs we sing at church in sign at that point. I did my best, but now, I wonder if she was just annoyed by us trying to pretend that we knew what we were doing.
I went on to be in the Dactylology Club at school, and I took two semesters of ASL, since by it’s very definition it is a completely different language than English.
But what I want to tell you now is the story of Columbus Day at the Renaissance Festival.
Columbus Day is the day that lots of schools bring their students out on field trips. When we got to the opening gate, I realized that there was a very large group of kids and their adult chaperones that were signing. It turns out that there were around 50 students from either 3 classes or 3 schools (I never did figure out which) from the Kansas State School for the Deaf, that were there visiting.
KCRF employs several interpreters, but we didn’t have all of them that day. So the other cast members and I were trying to figure out who all on cast could sign. There was around 7 of us who knew what we were doing, and so we started teaching others the basics like, “Nice to meet you.”
I ran into a group of the upper elementary students. They were impressed that I could talk to them, sort of. (I’ve forgotten so much of what I’ve learned.) I ran into them again about an hour later and was able to introduce them to one of our more important characters who wanted to speak with them but was a bit nervous about doing so. In doing so, I learned the signs for Captain, Dragon, and Pirate.
After the day was over and done with, the other cast members and I started a Facebook conversation about maybe having some very basic sign classes for next year.
It was so much fun to actually be able to use this very beautiful language. It made what is normally a really hard day, one of the best I’ve had out at fair.