StoryCorps: Mitchel's Sister Is Deaf

This text is a conversation between Debbie Watterson and her son‚ Mitchel Watterson‚ recorded for StoryCorps‚ a nonprofit oral history organization seeking to collect and preserve the diverse stories of people throughout the United States.
Debbie Watterson and Mitchel Watterson
Grade Level

DW: When Bridgett was a little less than a year old we knew that she had a hearing problem. So what did that do to your life?

MW: Well on one hand, you get to meet so many other hearing-impaired people that you would have never known if your sister wasn’t deaf. But people will make fun of her in school and she’ll come home and she’s all upset about it.  And when kids are making fun of her I usually just tell her that some of them think that it’s actually kinda cool that she gets to learn sign language and they’re actually kind of jealous because she gets to do all this fun stuff.

DW: So basically just try to make it into a positive.

MW: Yeah, like she’s special.

DW: Yeah. So I know you probably don’t remember this but when you were four you went and sat on Santa’s lap and Santa asked you want you wanted for Christmas.

MW: I told him that I wanted my sister to be able to hear and I wanted to grow to be um, an eye, ear, and throat doctor so I could find a way to make deaf people hear again.

DW: And do you know what Santa Claus did?

MW: No, I don’t really remember (laughs).

DW: He told your dad and I that we should get you anything and everything you wanted for Christmas because it was the best request he had all day (laughs). Well I think you have done a terrific job of being a big brother to your sister because you really watch out for Bridgett and you’re very special in her life.

MW: Thank you. And I think that you parent her really well. You don’t treat her like she’s not there because she’s deaf. You listen to her because she’s your kid still, no matter what.

 DW: Right. Are you sure you’re only ten?

MW: What? Yeah.

Copyright © by StoryCorps. Reprinted by permission of StoryCorps.
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