A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Helen Keller

Tuscumbia, Alabama

Nearby the Jesse Owens museum I spotted on my AAA map the birthplace of Helen Keller at Ivy Green.
I figured "Why not?"  I was glad I did.

Helen was born in the little cottage off to the right, but lived in this house in her childhood years.

The parlor

The Dining Room. The chest to the left was the sugar chest where sugar that arrived only twice a year was kept under lock and key.

I paid my $5 dollars, got a rapid fire speech by an elderly very "Southern" lady and was then left on my own to wander about.  I think she was suppose to stick with me through the house but being I was the only one...well I don't know what she was thinking, but she sent me off upstairs and she stayed down below.

I think this was Helen's room as there were two beds, the second for her teacher Anne Sullivan.

The "boys room" my brochure says.

It's been a long time since I've seen the Miracle Worker with Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke but this hand pump played a pivotal role for Helen.  Annie wrote these words later that historic night, "she has learned that everything has a name, and that the manual alphabet is the key to everything she wants to know."

That is Anne in the second picture down on the left.  She died in 1936 and Polly Thompson who had been their secretary since 1914 became Helen's companion and I think that is her in the bottom right photo.

Helen was born June 27, 1880 a normal child.  At age 19 months an illness left her blind and deaf.  She last visited her childhood home in 1954.  She died in her sleep in 1968 at her home in Easton Connecticut. 

The tour lady was a wealth of information spouting off all these facts about Helen and the house.  Well after all, she must go through this spiel dozens of times a day.  Finally towards the end when she paused for a breath I asked where Helen died at.  This caught her off-guard, and she turned to ask the lady at the counter if Helen died at her home in Connecticut or not.  Maybe since I stumped her on the one and only I question that I asked is why she shooed me on upstairs by myself.


Stewart M said...

This ladies whole life story is remarkable.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne:

PS: ankle will keep me off rough ground for at least another two weeks - sad face!

s.c said...

If there was one determined person it where these two.
Thanks for showing us.

biebkriebels said...

This is interesting, I remember the movie and the book about her. You did upset the lady guide ha,ha. They often have a speech indeed you can't interrupt. To be alone with you in a bedroom was too much for her.

Jo's World said...

As an older lady, let me just suggest the guide had a bum knee and just wasn't up to climbing that day!

Very interesting tour though!

TexWisGirl said...

the water pump gave me chills. truly a break-through in a remarkable life.

MarkD60 said...

I remember reading about her in school. Helens teacher made her famous.

Randy said...

It such a beautiful home.