Exactly 33 years ago, my parents married. They were 21 years old and in love. How did they meet? I’m glad you asked.
The Vietnam War was getting bad and my Uncle, a white guy in the army who married my mom’s oldest sister, moved the family from everything they knew to his hometown -Caste Dale, UT. Now something you should know about the mama and all of my Aunts and Uncle – they’re all deaf but the youngest sister. The only deaf school in Utah at the time was in Ogden so the kids journeyed north for school. Now, a few weeks before this my dad had no job. He received his last welfare check and knew he needed to start looking for work. One day coming home from school at Weber State University, he turned left to the deaf school to see if they were hiring. That left turn changed his life, as he likes to put it. My dad was an RA for the boys dorm and this is how he learned his fifth language, American Sign Language. Him and my mom were the same age and older than most of the others and once she got the courage to talk to him, they started dating.
One day, my dad got down on one knee and signed, “Will you marry me?” Even though she was mostly confused on why he was down on one knee, she answered, “Ask my parents first.” So my dad hired a Vietnamese translator and drove 3 hours to Castle Dale just to be shot down. My grandparents justification for declining was that they were both goats in the Chinese Zodiac which meant they’ll butt heads. But somehow when they heard my dad had a house they agreed to the marriage and moved in with them with 3 of my mom’s siblings. As newlyweds, my dad had 5 extra people in the house to take care of, none who spoke English or spoke at all. This is how much he loved her and still does today.