31 October 2009

The Halloween Party

I crashed a Halloween Party on Capitol Hill Saturday night. It was quite a treat. I highly recommend it. It started when I took a wrong turn and ended up on the far side of the Hill early in the evening.

I saw a group of costumed children and adults in a park, obviously having a good time. So I sidelined my car two blocks away and lit out to join their fun.
This is what I saw when I arrived: a mostly average looking group with great costumes and tons of cute people filling them. But it was what I heard that made the difference. Not a word. No crying. No fussing. No talking.

I looked closer. You should look close, too. Oh, they're communicating alright, but this party was put on by the Capitol Hill Children of Deaf Parents. That's right. I crash parties given by people who the government classifies as "disabled." Ahha! Now you like me better, doncha?
But I ask you, does this woman look disabled? She's never seen me before in her life and yet, she appears quite delighted to let me snap a picture. No questions asked.

I've seen people whose attitudes seemed much more debilitating and as a reporter, I had to try to talk to them. (No worries about this guy. He was udderly tickled to be there.)

Look at these kids. Do any of them look disabled to you? Yes, maybe they are hearing impaired (I had no idea who has what level of hearing because no one talked and I don't "sign."), but certainly they seemed no less happy than any other kids on Halloween. (Update: I have since been informed by the group that many of the children are hearing impaired. Please see comments below.)

They were thrilled to see their friends, enjoy their costumes and share a quick game of "wrap the mummy."

Even happy to play with Dad's castoff golf clubs. It's amazing how fun two old golf clubs can be, if you have the right attitude. And they had it all... to spare.

Ah! These children came in costume as adults. Well done!

This child did not want to be photographed. It happens. Mom was gentle but firm. She'll come around. (What I particularly liked was the way everybody communicated by looking directly in the face of the person "speaking." They seemed much more tuned-in because of that, I think.)

And this little guy may have tripped or stubbed a toe. We'll never know because unfortunately, again, I don't sign.

But while I don't sign, they speak "people-ease." They all spoke it beautifully, loud and clear. Look at the wattage in her smile!

This woman had two of the most beautiful children I've ever seen. She seemed to be a profoundly good parent, as well as profoundly deaf.

And so it seemed were this man and woman, but in spite of that, I was under their spell.

They all seemed to be having a grand time and didn't mind at all that I crashed their little gathering. (I did let them know what I was doing. And I left before pizza was served. My "crashing credential" does not include freeloading.)

By the end of my time with them, everyone that I asked posed for a picture. Have you ever seen a more radiant mother and child?

I walked away quite thrilled with my party-crashing efforts and with this inescapable thought in my mind:
For a little while, I had been allowed to hang with The Beautiful People.


Jen said...

Looks like a ton of fun! When Grace had the colic it would have been nice to have sweet deaf skills.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing Marti! I would have loved to be there with you. Somethings just fill our heart with such joy and warmth and this was one of those moments.

Marti said...

I think you would have been as totally sucked in as I was, Marie. I felt like I was in company with angels.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for crashing on our party. I would like to correct your comments that most of our kids are hearing. That's why we call our group as Capitol Hill Children of deaf parents. Most of us do live in DC area and we like to have gatherings for kids. Halloween was one part of all gatherings. We surely had fun but important parts is our kids did had blast time.
Thanks for crashing on our party again!

One of these moms

Marti said...

There. Now I know better. As I said, I really had no idea who did and who did not hear.

What I also noticed was that these children had to look directly at their parents and pay direct attention to anyone "speaking." It made them seem much more attentive and tuned in to each other.

Beside the hearing loss, your group seemed to be some of the most emotionally alive, whole and vibrant people I've ever had the great pleasure to spend a little time with.

Thank you for making me feel so accepted in your gathering.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by our party and for your kind words. We would have loved if you stayed around to enjoy the pizza and sample the homemade oreo popcorn crunch.

Like Anna mentioned, some kids are hearing, but there were also some deaf children.. The beauty of this circle of friends is that everyone signs, both -- hearing and deaf individuals. My children who are both deaf were able to immerse themselves into play with all kinds of children at the party. After all, playtime and happiness are universal.

The story behind Capitol HIll Children of Deaf Parents is quite interesting. We'd love to share it with you if you have the time.


Lorene said...

What a wonderful party! Thanks for crashing and sharing.

Marti said...

Thanks Cuz!

Ridor said...

Marti: This is great entry! Thanks for sharing!