By: Cameron Peloquin (05/02/17)
Helen Keller was a famous woman who lived from the late 19th century to the 20th century. She is known for her experiences in life when being blind and deaf. She was born on June 27th, 1880, in a town called Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her story started when she suffered an unidentified illness that left her permanently blind and deaf at only 19 months of age. She was scared, confused, and had no idea what was happening around her. She would easily burst into temper tantrums. Because of her disabilities, her mother sought desperately for someone to help her out. Luckily, she found a woman who could. Her name was Anne Sullivan. Sullivan was 20 and Helen was 6 when they first met. Sullivan started by teaching Helen the manual alphabet. However, when it came to spelling full words on Helen’s hand, she’d become easily frustrated. One day, in Cape Cod, when Sullivan pumped water on Helen’s hand and spelled the word “water” onto the other, Helen suddenly understood something. She learned how the feeling and the spelling of water corresponded. Sullivan continued to teach her by fingerspelling on her hand the names of everything she touched. Helen would then do the same on Sullivan’s hand. Sullivan would put Helen’s hands onto her head so she would feel her nodding up and down for every word she spelled correctly. She learned 30 words, including “doll”, “tree”, “mother”, “father”, “sister”, and “teacher”. The more Helen learned, the easier it was for her to understand anything around her. Everywhere Sullivan went, Helen would go with her. Helen learned how to read, write, talk, and use the typewriter. She became the first blind and deaf student to attend and graduate from Radcliffe College. She wrote a dozen books, including her first autobiography, The Story of My Life. She was able to continue her life on her own after Sullivan died. During her world travels, Helen made friends with people who were famous like herself, including Mark Twain, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alexander Graham Bell, and more than 10 U.S. Presidents. She began to raise money for other people with disabilities. Even though she died peacefully on June 1st, 1968 in Easton, Connecticut, Helen Keller will always be remembered for who she was.