Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kingwood, Texas

Lillian Beard was a hearing orphan taken in by a Deaf couple. Sign is her first language. I am in Kingwood to do a story on her. In October 2008 she celebrated her 100th birthday, but that's the least of her accomplishments. I'm not going to spoil the story by saying too much about it here. I want to save it and you to savor it when it is published. Over the span of her long life she has done much to change the perception and conditions of the Deaf, mentored leaders among and for them, having a profound impact both in the United States and overseas.*

As an infant Lillian was dropped in a box on the steps of the Deaf couple in Fort Worth, Texas, who would become her adoptive parents. In this photo she is four months old.**

Lily at 16 or 17 ... **
... in her mid-20s ... **

... and interpreting for the Billy Graham Houston crusade in the mid-1950s.**

It is a tough day — up for the coverage on Lily after a few hours sleep and a nearly 12 hour trip to get here — but all that was forgotten in the rush of the story and a day ending with home cooking at the Humble City Cafe. We will eat dinner to the patter of rain on the roof of the old building.*

* photos taken with a Leica M8
** photos copied from Lillian Beard's private collection with a Canon 5D Mark II

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