Jean Veverka's story helps us understand who to include in "design that's usable by all people."

And not just in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, but anywhere.

Jean is 82 years old, and talks about growing up with two parents who became deaf at a very young age. Her dad was 9 months old when he contracted mumps and lost his hearing from damage to his cochlea. At age 5 her mother was shoved into an outhouse, hit her head, and became deaf due to eardrum damage.

They both were sent by train to a Deaf school in Philadelphia and connected not at school, but on the train ride many years later. Jean shares how they met and the love story that began with a rose.

Jean also shares many stories how they were able to function at home and in their community, plus what it was like to live with parents who couldn’t hear. Jean briefly discusses how her own aging process and her health (heart issues, breast cancer, diabetes) has impacted her environment as well.

Location: Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States


Watch the interview:

Notable quotes from the interview:

Besides the house work that I do around the house, I put puzzles and read. I also like to paint. -Jean about herself.

She said the reason she loved it was because going home in the summer; she’d have to work in the fields, they lived on a farm. And when she was back in school, she had a good time with her, her friends and so forth. -Jean about her mom going to school

Because of their going to a private school and they were taught about things out in the world and so forth. They, my father and mother joined a Deaf club, where they got out among the Deaf people. And as far as the hearing people, my mother used to always carry a pencil and paper along; so did my father; and that’s how they communicated. -Jean about her parents:

The way I understand; they said if a person loses one of the six senses; they’re stronger in the others. And he saw things that we didn’t see. -Jean about her dad