Editorial: Old friends, new friends

Originally appeared in Silent News, December 2000.

Well, it’s about an hour before deadline and I’m hastily trying to write an editorial and fill up this space. I’ve just come from Long Beach, Calif., where I attended the Deaf Expo. I’ve had a total of about 16 hours of sleep over the past five days. Let’s not forget jet lag and the deadline crunch of getting this paper to the printer.

I had heard about Deaf Expo, but never had I attended before. It was a great weekend for me, and my very first public appearance as editor. The support I got was overwhelming, especially at the reception Silent News held on Saturday night. After the reception, I rushed off to the World Recreation Association of the Deaf’s (WRAD) 15th anniversary banquet to accept a certification of appreciation on Silent News’ behalf.  It was inspiring to see how much of an effect WRAD has had internationally (ask Bruce Gross about where the WRAD banner has been!).

Regardless of the incredible lack of sleep and exhausting schedule, I am struck by one common thread that I’ve experienced at each and every deaf event. This thread is so simple and so basic, but it’s powerful: the common thread of seeing old friends and making new friends.

At Deaf Expo, I was able to visit with friends I hadn’t seen in years – as long as ten years. I ran into people I grew up with in Illinois. I ran into people who I had never met, but had communicated with via e-mail or phone. I ran into people who I had been in awe of all my life but just now am getting to meet. I even got to play with one of the performers’ kids as the performer was on stage (that Ethan is a darling!).

On  Saturday, at the Expo, I stood quietly to the side as I waited for a friend to page me and tell me where he was. I stood next to the main performance area, and I could see everything from where I was standing: the booths, the people coming in and out of the area, the performers on stage, and the kids running around.

And it hit me.

This was all happening simply because we were all deaf.

I stood there and started thinking about how many times I had been to events like this – National Association of the Deaf conventions, local events, sporting events, even simple gatherings at friends’ houses – and marveled at how we all repeat the greeting, the chatting, the catching up, and the good-bye processes. I do get weary of having to go through that. But I will never, ever get tired of these events. How could I? The people are the ones I work with to make a living, the ones I socialize with, and the ones who experience similar frustrations in our daily lives.

As I stood there mulling all this over, I got paged by my friend. “Where are you? I’m by the Wyndtell booth!”  Technology’s great, isn’t it?

We announced at our reception that we were launching a new 04-01-01 plan. But we can’t tell you just yet what the 04-01-01 plan is. And no, this isn’t an April’s Fool joke.

We are really excited about all the changes and surprises we have in store for you. I hope you’ve noticed that our sports coverage has expanded considerably this month. Thanks to both Barry Strassler and Randy Shank, we’re working on making the sports section even more informative and interesting even for non-sports lovers.

Our subscription rates have exploded lately, and I’m excited about that. I’m also excited about the fact that we have so many good writers joining our team, along with increased submissions by community agencies and readers.

Many of you have been asking who did our current logo. The person that worked with us on designing the logo is Maureen Klusza.  Many of you may know her work as an illustrator from several publications, including Silent News, especially her “Deaf Side” cartoons.

Finally, many of you have also asked where you can e-mail me feedback or ideas for future stories or events. You can now e-mail us at silentnewsideas@aol.com. Feel free to share your comments, feedback, or ideas. There is a list of e-mail addresses on page 11 that you may find helpful.

Have a happy season – and many, many thanks to all of you who have been so incredibly supportive during my first few (and busy!) months at this job.

Now, if only I can get over this incredible jet lag before I eat that turkey this Thursday…

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