IM this article to a friend!

February 14, 2005

Valentine's: Evelyn and I ...

From: Belfast Telegraph, UK - Feb 14, 2005

We are of the same heart and mind and have grieved and rejoiced together

14 February 2005

Bob McCullough is the Belfast Telegraph's Deaf Talkabout columnist. He and wife Evelyn, who is also deaf, celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year. Bob says:

I met Evelyn when I was twelve and she was nine. We were pupils at a small private school for deaf children and sat side-by-side in class. It was an oral school and signs were forbidden so we talked by lip-reading and a few giggling signs when teacher wasn't watching.

Evelyn had lost her hearing from mumps at age five and I from typhoid at age eleven. We were only together for one year and then she left to attend Strandtown and prepare for the 11-plus. We met again at a party when I was 20 and started going out together.

She lived in Bangor and in those days it was far away and going to see her meant a tram journey, then a train trip followed by a long walk to her home in Ward Avenue.

In the summer deaf young folk had their own tennis court at Stranmillis in Belfast and one day, when everybody had gone home, I took her into the hut used for storing the net, tennis rackets and lawnmower and asked her to marry me.

She said "yes" but, in those days, a gentleman had to ask the girl's father for permission to marry and when I went to see him he did not refuse but asked me to wait till Evelyn had passed her degree exams before getting engaged.

We bought the ring on August 28 and married the next year, 1955, on September 10. The honeymoon was in Portnablagh, which was then beautifully natural and unspoiled and we were often the only people on the little beach. Idyllic!

Our first house was in Stranmillis Park and, when David and then Janet arrived, school was a few minutes away through Botanic Gardens and a short walk took you to the Lagan - a great place to bring up children.

They have known from the start how to talk with us and we are thankful for the happiness they have brought us and we remain close now they are married. Janet is a senior interpreter for deaf people and David is a tutor in Kyoto University and married to a lovely Japanese girl. We have gone through some sad and hurtful experiences because of our deafness and the misunderstandings that can arise, as well as times of great happiness; but we are of the same heart and mind and have grieved and rejoiced together.

I have to confess that I've never sent Evelyn a Valentine card and honestly find the whole custom rather twee. We both like eating out, either together or with friends, and find this much more satisfying than buying and sending a piece of card.

I really can't cook and make amends by taking Evelyn for a meal every Tuesday and Saturday.

We love good food, but we also like to find restaurants where the staff are sensitive to our needs and learn how to talk with us.

Ten years ago we joined a coach party of deaf people for a tour of Israel and Egypt and both agree it was our best holiday.

We saw the places where Jesus walked and taught, admired the pyramids, rode camels in the desert and sailed on the Nile at night - a truly memorable holiday. I also have to admit that while I have never stopped loving Evelyn, I have not always appreciated her and appreciation is a very important part of marriage. Maybe I'll buy her a card after all!

2005 Independent News and Media (NI) a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd