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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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In Silence: Growing Up Hearing in a Deaf World

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“Ruth!” Miss Chanin said sharply. “This is no time to read.”

I looked up at her from the floor, still holding the torn book in my hand.

“I have to go to the office for a moment. You keep working until I get back.”

When she walked out of the room, I took the tattered text to my desk and slid the book into my blue and green plaid canvas bag. I wanted that book to be mine. All afternoon I sat nervously in my seat, hoping that she would not discover the missing book.

At three o’clock I walked, white with fear, from the classroom. No one followed me home. I put the stolen book in my drawer and touched it lovingly. It had no front cover. It had no title page. That night, in bed, I took out the book and arranged the pages in order. I tied the loose pages together with white string. Each night for weeks I read the words on every page until I memorized the entire book.

I have the book, still, hidden in a drawer.

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