Group home buddies
When I visited my older brother, Michael, in his group home, I always enjoyed talking with some of his housemates. Of course, there were some who, like Mike, seemed to be beyond communication. One resident, J___, always seemed interested in what I was doing. He must have been profoundly deaf, as his hearing aid would frequently be hanging halfway out of his ear. I could usually tell if he was approaching by listening to the high-pitched whistle of his hearing aid feedback; he was oblivious to this. J___ would talk to me. He would point to something I had, usually my camera, and talk to me. Most of the time I didn’t understand him, but we would talk in the manner of 20 questions. He would point to my camera and I would say, “That’s my camera.” He would say something else in response to this, and I would say, “I’m taking pictures of Michael.” I could tell that he understood, because he said something like, “Michael,” in a questioning way. I would say, “Yes.”
Even though I wasn’t supposed to take pictures of the other residents, I asked J___, “Would you like me to take your picture?” I may have made a taking-a-picture gesture with my hands. I think he understood. When I brought him his picture, he pointed at it and pointed at himself, and looked at me with a great smile.
Each resident had his/her special quality. One of them was a tough-looking guy, but he loved to shake hands. Every time I visited and saw C___, I would say “Shake hands, C___?” which he would do most of the time. C___ also had this habit of cursing. I don’t think it was because he was angry. It could have been Tourettic, or maybe he was just frustrated.
Now and then I would have animated discussions with E___. He told me about some of his television wrestling heroes.
G___ was quiet. I would always ask her how things were. From the picture below, you can tell that she was a very gentle soul.