Helen Keller, in the Twin Cities for a series of speeches, sat for an interview with the Minneapolis Daily Star’s Gail Armstrong at the St. Paul Hotel:
HELEN KELLER SPREADS CHEER
'DARK WORLD' FAILS TO SADDEN VISITOR
SHE’S SATISFIED WITH LIFE
By GAIL ARMSTRONG
Helen Keller does not want her sight or hearing.
Offered the imaginary gift of sunlight and sound in her suite at the St. Paul hotel today, Miss Keller, who has been blind, deaf and most of the time mute, shrank back into her world of darkness and turned down the privilege.
“I am very happy as I am,” she said. “There is a quiet peace in my world. It is a quiet night happiness. I would be unable to bear the glittering brightness of day.”
The story of Helen Keller’s conquest of the greatest handicap a human being can have is perhaps not more remarkable than the system by which Mrs. Anne Sullivan Macy, her teacher, mother, friend and companion rolled into one, has devised.
Just how does one talk with Helen Keller?
|Anne Sullivan, seated, and Helen Keller in a Bain News Service photo that was probably taken between 1910 and 1920.|
The introduction is made by Mrs. Macy “writing” the name of the guest in the blind woman’s hand. Mrs. Macy pronounces the name, also, while Miss Keller’s hands follow the vocal muscles of her teacher.
The sightless eyes change not in expression but the lips smile and Miss Keller cordially shakes hands.
She says she can tell the “type” of person she meets by the “feel” of her hand.
“There are impertinent hands; fat, squashy hands; lean, strong hands; plump laughing hands and cold austere hands,” she said. “I can also tell how tall the person is and whether she is fat or thin by the feeling I register when I take her hand.”
Conversation with Miss Keller is easily carried on. The guests talk as Mrs. Macy transfers each word as rapidly as it is spoken to Miss Keller by “writing” it into her hand. Miss Keller, with a mind more agile than most, answers at once.
Like most of those who live in a world of darkness, Miss Keller responds to colors and light vibrations.
Blue is her “happiness color” and pink is her “party color.” If she likes her guests she sees green. That is her joy color.
She uses expressions such as “blue as the sky,” although Miss Keller lost her sight when 19 months old. She speaks of the “beautiful white snow,” yet she has never seen snow.
Words Clothed in Beauty
When she speaks it is the speech of one who has lived in a cultured, cherished life. Her sentences are clothed in words of beauty. Always she likens her surroundings to “the beauty of flowers” or “the smiling sunshine.”
Mrs. Macy says Miss Keller loves to feel baby hands. “They are just like ferns,” she declares, “fine and soft and tiny.”
Alone she sits on the sofa, shrouded in her world of shadows. Helen Keller has conquered the greatest physical handicap. Her struggle and her victory have emblazoned her name in letters of gold all over the world. And yet – who knows how many times the call of the ages has come to her? How many times in her hours of darkness has she longed to clasp baby hands to her heart?
Speaks at Nicollet
“But this is a quiet night happiness I have,” she says. “Maybe I would be unable to bear a glittering brightness of day.”
Miss Keller speaks tonight at 8:15 at the First Baptist church in behalf of American Foundation for the Blind. At noon she spoke before 150 representative Minneapolis business men and women at a luncheon at the Nicollet hotel.