"Won't Give Up"

I was born in 1956 in Washington, DC with CP and deafness because I got RH factor from my mother. I almost died because my blood had too many of white cells. I am grateful to be alive from a blood transfusion. If there was no blood transfusion, I would have surely died within three months after my birth. My parents fought for my live. I was hospitalized many times because I had croup a lot until I was 5 years old.  And also, I had trouble with walking and seeing.  My eyes were almost crossed, and I couldn’t control the muscle behind my eyes. For example, I looked at my feet and they were backward. That was why I wore glasses for nine years.   The walking problem of mine was caused by bad balance.  I physically exercised with help from my family and especially, my great aunt (my mother’s mother’s sister) who spent with more time with me by playing kickball and touchback (running and catching each other) for six years until my walking was better, but it was not quite normal yet.

After the first six years, my family moved to Florida because I had to go to an oral school for the Deaf at Fort Lauderdale for elementary school.  I had to use pocket hearing aids on my both ears.  After finishing elementary school, my family moved back to our hometown called Falls Church, Va.  I went to public school with hearing students.  My social life was pretty bad because they never had experience with a deaf student before.  I was the only deaf student in middle school and high school.  In high school, I played football during my freshman year for the first two weeks, then I quit because my education came first.  I did play indoor track and field for all high school years.

Every summer, I went to camp with my brother for activities such as making crafts, baseball, basketball, archery, swimming, etc.  My brother was amazed that I was pretty good at these sports. And it improved my muscle coordination. Also, I started playing in a bowling league at nine years old.  I have a pretty good bowling average.

After high school graduation, I looked for a college that had a computer major because of my brother’s influence and my math skills.  My brother worked as a computer programmer after graduating from U. of Va. and showed me computer programming.   I really enjoyed it.  I had rather enrolled in a deaf college, but my family was afraid of me losing my speech and my lip-reading abilities.  So, my parents took me to Gallaudet College, but that time, they did not have enough computer courses.  I decided to go to National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) to take data processing major for an AAS degree and enrolled in 1976. That time, believe me or not, I never took sign language before entering into NTID. So, I learned sign language to communicate with deaf students.  I still talked with teachers and hearing students from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) because NTID is part of RIT.  I was getting more of a social life than before.  I guess my parents didn’t have experience with deaf culture.

After finishing my data processing major, I was transferred to RIT in order to take computer technology for a Bachelor degree.  It was tough and frustrating because the hearing way was faster learning.  I had to watch the interpreter all the time while I was trying to think. However, they provided note taking and tutoring to deaf students to help them have more time to think and understand the course.

I couldn’t go to a party every night like at NTID, but I could go to parties sometimes on the weekend.  I took physical education classes like swimming, bowling, and especially western horseback riding.  I took horseback riding three times because it was more fun and challenging for me to ride fast, smooth, and feel free riding on an open area with a lot of trees, hills, and beautiful weather, even sunny, snowy, rainy, or muddy.  One funny thing I was told was that a big tall horse can jump too high, but I didn’t care about that and went ahead. Somehow, I rode running through the forests.  I didn’t notice the little pond, but the horse did and jumped too high, then I fell down into the pond. Everybody laughed, even I laughed at myself.  I told them that the horse was a damn good jumper.  In my most scariest moment, I rode on a different horse up and down a muddy hill in a rainy forest area, but I made it and thanked God that I didn’t get hurt, whew!

I graduated from RIT in the summer of 1981.  Then, I started looking for jobs until I got a job at IBM in Gaithersburg, Md. at the beginning of 1982.  Of course, I started driving at 20 years old because my mother felt that I was not ready until then.  I drove between Falls Church, Va. and Gaithersburg, Md. for the first nine months of my job.  I decided to buy a new townhouse nearby my job place. So my family and especially my great aunt visited my first open house.  My great aunt gave me the Bible for my house gift and wrote a letter included in the Bible that reads " Dear Bill, I wanted to give you a gift for your new Home that would have continued meaning for you.  Assuming the responsibility of a new Home reflects the maturity of one has put aside Childless things and has become a man. I am deeply proud of all you have achieved.  Even though you have reached the age maturity it does not mean that you will not be confronted with problems and will need help in resolving them.  There is no greater source for help than the Bible.  That is why I selected a Bible as a gift for your new Home. When you are confronted with over whelming it can be a great consolation and words of True Wisdom.  As the years pass by, I hope it will give many moments of real joy.   Devotedly, Aunt Jane".  It made me cry and feel proud because I owe her and my family for all my life in my heart all the time.  My great aunt was passed away after I lived in that Home about nine years.  I feel very blessed from her and God bless her, too.

I have worked as a programmer for seventeen years so far.  I have been assigned in a variety of computer languages involving host system and pc environment at IBM, then Loral, and finally Lockheed Martin (I hope so).  All jobs have been located at the same place in Gaithersburg, Md. I am not married yet, but I am looking for the right girl who has a positive attitude and a nice personality.  I guess that I keep going fishing for the mermaid (girl). I am very happy with my job and co-workers during these seventeen years. I got a promotion three times. In my past life, it was very, very difficult and I won’t give up in my life.  That is why my motto is      "Won’t Give Up!".