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What's That Pig Outdoors?

A Memoir of Deafness

Henry Kisor

Publication Year: 2010

Henry Kisor lost his hearing at age three to meningitis and encephalitis but went on to excel in the most verbal of professions as a literary journalist. This new and expanded edition of Kisor's engrossing memoir recounts his life as a deaf person in a hearing world and addresses heartening changes over the last two decades due to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and advancements in cochlear implants and modes of communication._x000B__x000B_Kisor tells of his parents' drive to raise him as a member of the hearing and speaking world by teaching him effective lip-reading skills at a young age and encouraging him to communicate with his hearing peers. He also narrates his time as the only deaf student at Trinity College in Connecticut and then as a graduate student at Northwestern University, as well as his successful career as the book review editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Daily News._x000B__x000B_Widely praised in popular media and academic journals when it was first published in 1990, What's That Pig Outdoors? opened new conversations about the deaf. Bringing those conversations into the twenty-first century, Kisor updates the continuing disagreements between those who advocate sign language and those who practice speech and lip-reading, discusses the increased acceptance of deaf people's abilities and idiosyncrasies, and considers technological advancements such as blogging, instant messaging, and hand-held mobile devices that have enabled deaf people to communicate with the hearing world on its own terms.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Author's Note

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

There’s an old joke about three elderly deaf gentlemen, all lipreaders, aboard a train. As it comes into a station, one looks out the window and says, “Ah, it’s Weston.” “Wednesday?” says the second. “I thought it was Thursday.” “Thirsty?” says the third. “I am, too. Let’s have a drink.” This tale illustrates a central...

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pp. 2-7

When we newspapermen turn the last page of our lives, we are praised at the wake and forsaken after the grave. Our achievements, after all, are as transitory as the events we chronicle. What will we have produced that will last? In my case,...

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pp. 8-15

“You just keeled over in the car beside me,” Mother remembers. That morning someone at the Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station, where Dad was assigned, had declared I looked “peaked.” I had had a recent throat infection. There was no...

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pp. 16-28

Those who sheltered under her wing still call her Miss Mirrielees, with the same respectful emphasis on “Miss” that an Englishman might apply to “Sir” when addressing a brigadier knighted for heroic service to his country. Like Johnny Appleseed, Doris Irene Mirrielees was an eccentric original—an itinerant bearer of hope whose passion and devotion deeply touched every child...

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pp. 29-45

From ages five to thirteen—that lovely, unhurried span between innocence and adolescence when time and growth almost stand still—my life was for the most part no different from that of an ordinary American youngster. So little happened in my childhood that did not also occur in those of my hearing...

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pp. 46-61

Conventional wisdom holds that deaf youngsters’ knowledge of sex lags far behind that of their hearing peers, simply because their shortcomings of language prevent them from acquiring information easily. Nonetheless, I entered eighth grade as learned, and as ignorant, about sex as any other thirteen-year...

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pp. 62-78

Like every college freshman of any era, I had an enormous adjustment to make when I arrived at Trinity College. No longer was I a member of the elite, a standout in the crowd. As high school seniors, the three hundred members of the new Class of 1962 at this distinguished “little Ivy” men’s college...

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pp. 79-96

And so at the end of June 1962 I found myself behind the counter of the men’s locker room at the Evanston Y, at the beck and call of any man or boy with a dime for a towel. It paid about 75 cents an hour, and it was the only part-time job I could find. Hardly an auspicious start for the career of a young man with...

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pp. 97-121

Almost as soon as I set up housekeeping in my new apartment in a highrise building on Chicago’s Near North Side, I obtained a hearing-ear cat. Well, sort of. Fred was a large yellow tom of vague ancestry. I didn’t acquire him expressly as a guide cat; felines are too independent, arrogant, and ornery to be educated about...

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pp. 122-148

In the beginning Colin couldn’t have cared less what his daddy did for a living. When I became book editor of the Chicago Daily News in March 1973, he was not yet four. Besides, the week I was appointed his little brother was born, and that was much more important. The road from...

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pp. 149-167

If one must be hearing-impaired, one couldn’t choose a better time and place than the last two decades of the twentieth century in the United States. Thanks to a broad awakening of public consciousness about the rights and potentials...

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pp. 168-185

“Are you happy?” I was asked not long ago by someone who works in the world of the deaf. I? I who have a loving spouse, two bright and strapping sons, a decent income, respect in my profession, a house in a pleasant suburb, and a host of good friends? “Of course I...

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pp. 186-207

During the two decades since this book was published in 1990, my life has caromed down avenues I never anticipated. Of course, time has taken its normal toll. As I approach my seventies, my eyesight isn’t what it once was. My lipreading skills have eroded slightly...

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pp. 208

Many people helped in the making of this book, both the first and second editions. Some did research. Some dredged their memories for anecdotes and insights. Others offered suggestions and encouragement when they were most needed. Still others provided valuable comments and corrections. I thank them...

About the Author, Publication Information

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pp. 209

E-ISBN-13: 9780252090196
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252077395

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2010