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Follows the parallel lives of Helen Keller and Alexander ...
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Follows the parallel lives of Helen Keller and Alexander Graham Bell, who continued to encounter and support each other from that eventful meeting when he recommended she be given a teacher and thus led her to Annie Sullivan.
The Little six-year-old girl could hardly contain her excitement at being on her first long train trip during that summer of 1886. She was traveling with her father and her Aunt Ev all the way from Alabama to Baltimore, Maryland. Thetime passed quickly as the train clickety-clacked through small southern towns, stopping often to take on passengers, fuel and water.
The child made friends with almost everyone on the train. One passenger gave her a box of shells, which she patiently strung into a long necklace. The conductor, who took a special liking to the child, allowed her to hang on to his coattails as he made his rounds collecting tickets. And when he wasn't using his ticket punch, the little girl curled up in a corner and used the punch to make holes in scraps of cardboard.
The doll that Aunt Ev fashioned out of old towels wasn't so successful. Itwas a silly, shapeless thing without eyes, ears, nose or mouth. The child was especially upset that the doll had no eyes, but no one seemed to know how to solve the problem until the child herself pulled her aunt's cape out from under the seat, ripped off two large beads, and indicated that she wanted the beads sewn on the doll for eyes.
It was no wonder that the doll's lack of eyes distressed six-year-old Helen Keller. Helen herself was blind. More than that, she couldn't, hear the shriek of the train whistle or the wheels tapping over the tracks. She couldn't chat with the other passengers, or pester her father about how much farther they had to go. When she was an infant, Helen Keller had been struck by an illness that had lefther blind, deaf and unable to speak. At least she had learned to communicate by making signs: A hand on her cheek meant Mother and putting on eyeglasses meant Father. Now, her father, Captain Arthur Keller, and her Aunt Eveline Keller were taking Helen to Baltimore to consult with a famous eye doctor, who just might be able to restore her sight.
But the famous doctor held out no hope for Helen's eyes. Instead, sensing that Helen was a bright child, he advised Captain Keller to get in touch with Alexander Graham Bell, who had not only invented the telephone ten years earlier, but was also, deeply committed to the education of the deaf, especially deaf children. Desperate to do anything that might help Helen, Captain Keller made an appointment to see Bell in his Washington, D.C., home.
Bell, who looked forward to the meeting, sent a note to a fellow teacher of the deaf. "Mr. A. H. Keller of Alabama will dine with me this evening and bring with him his little daughter (age about 6 1/2 who is deaf and blind and has been so from nearly infancy. He is in search of light regarding methods of education. The little girl is evidently an intelligent child."
Years, later, Helen recalled that first meeting with Bell. "He held me on his knee while I examined his watch, and he made it strike for me. He understood my signs, and I knew it and loved him at once," she wrote. "From that moment until his death my life was greatly blessed by his understanding and love."
A unique connection had been made between the world-famous inventor and the silent little girl from Alabama that would grow into a lifelong friendship. And just as Alexander Graham Bell's telephone had broken down the barriers of isolation between people around the world, so, too, did Helen Keller's first meeting with. Bell launch her on her own journey of breaking down the barriers that isolated the deaf, the blind and the handicapped everywhere.