I just did a search on this blog for “helen keller” and the only thing that came up was this post in which the term referred to a dive. I can’t believe we’ve never talked about Helen Keller here, and I bet if I texted Ellie right now she’d remind me of the time that we DID just like when I thought I was the first one to write about the newspaper clippings from the bottom of the stairs. So let’s just not text Ellie*, shall we? Because I’ve got Helen Keller on my mind.
Clara and I are going to see The Miracle Worker in a couple of hours (writing this 5pm Thursday) and I really have no idea what to expect. Earlier she asked me if it was a play or a musical and I said that I didn’t know, but thought it would be pretty funny if they sang the story, because I am a depraved individual who should never have been allowed to reproduce, especially when my spawn’s next comment was: “well I guess Helen Keller won’t be singing” and I died laughing.
Why is Helen Keller funny? It’s all because of the speak and tell. Or see and say. Or show and hear. No one can ever remember but it was this awesome toy we had growing up that involved a record player and a filmstrip. We probably had a bunch of stories but the only ones I remember are Thomas Edison (or was it Alexander Graham Bell? Who was it that blinded himself with an awl**?) and Helen Keller.
It was an inspiring story to watch, and also to hear. Let me find a way to phrase this without coming across as a complete and total asshole. You see, the sounds that young Helen made in her pre-miracle worked days were portrayed as….. shall we say…. theatrically guttural. All of my sisters and several nieces are making the sound right now as they read. The best part of the script went like this:
Anne: “Helen? HELEN?”
Helen: previously described theatrical guttural utterances
Narrator: But she did not understand! The words didn’t mean anything!***"
Ahhhh, those were good times. I hope that part is in the play tonight.
*I texted Ellie
***Ellie made fun of me for several parts of this post (see below), but I think she might be right about my sound of music mash up. Maybe Anne said "the words had no MEANing!" I don't know, I CRS. Also, the show was pretty great, and there was only one moment when I thought I might bust out laughing at the poor child's sounds. She was a powerful character, although as Clara pointed out, she didn't have to learn any lines.