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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Wed Nov 24, 1999  2:48 pm
Subject:  SignWriting at DeafExpo

November 24, 1999

Dear SignWriting List Members:

As you know, the DeafExpo came to San Diego on November 19, 20 and 21st. It
is an important event in the Deaf Community, and I feel fortunate that this
year it was held in my home city of San Diego. Actually I live in La Jolla,
which is a suburb of San Diego...

Deaf people from several countries attended the DeafExpo at San Diego's
Concourse, which is a big meeting hall with two large rooms separated by a
lobby in the middle. It is downtown, in the middle of the city, so parking
was a little annoying the first day, when I had to carry in our posters and
papers to display at our SignWriting booth...but once we were set up it
became "fun"!!

All day Saturday and most of Sunday, DAC member Dave Gunsauls and I stood
at our SignWriting table, and explained SignWriting to people walking by. I
was amazed at how many people were there - it seemed like thousands of
people. Judging by the amount of people who signed their name and gave me
their email address, and also based on the amount of free literature that
was taken, it seems we had around 400 to 500 people that "took a look" at
SignWriting last weekend!

For me this was especially nice, since I had not seen my Deaf friends and
co-workers since last February. So I was concerned that my signing was
rusty, but I seemed to "fall into" signing again very fast....making the
same mistakes I used to - ha! I still have trouble reading other people's
fingerspelling, but other than that I feel quite comfortable chatting with
old friends, and teaching a subject I know so well...we had large crowds
sometimes. They came in groups, and as I started teaching the system to
someone, other people would gather around and the crowd would get larger.
Nice memory ;-)

Dave Gunsauls was terrific, explaining it from the Deaf point of view. A
lot of people had never heard of SignWriting. I remember this one Deaf
woman, rather young and emotional, arguing with Dave about Deaf kids
learning SignWriting...she asked him if it wouldn't hurt their
English?...and they started discussing this issue with great energy in ASL-
I cannot thank Dave enough for his support....

You can read a newsletter written in SignWriting by Dave Gunsauls on the web:

Dave Gunsauls, Newsletter Spring 1998

And some wonderful friends stopped by - Don Baer used to work with our
DAC...I had not seen him for a decade - can you believe! That was great to
see him again. You can read his SignWriting article on the web....

"The National Association of the Deaf"
written in ASL by Donald Baer

And even though Lucinda O'Grady Batch lives in the same city, I hadn't seen
her for a year! She was standing in the Salk Institute Booth, explaining
their work...and we got a chance to chat when she stopped by our table -
that was terrific! We were able to discuss a little, and I showed Lucinda
some of our new materials, which she had not seen.

Denny Voreck also stopped by...great to see him again! You can read
articles written by Lucinda and Denny on these web pages:

Deaf Opinions on SW, Denny Voreck

Lucinda O'Grady Batch

At the SignWriting table, we handed out copies of the Silent News articles,
and many educators came by and were very interested in the article. A TTY
manufacturer, Ameriphone, has offered to donate a TTY to us now, because
they were so impressed with the Silent News article. I explained that my
TTY had broken and I needed a new one, and this offer came from them
spontaneously. They told me they want SignWriting to succeed and they are
very supportive.

The first day I felt a little depressed when I realized how few knew of
SignWriting. I am well aware that not that many people know about it, but
it is only natural to keep hoping....Several SignWriting List members
stopped by and introduced themselves. Glad to meet you!! And three people
whom I had never had contact with, told me they had written papers about
SignWriting for their classes this Fall...based on the information they
found on the web. So that was very heartwarming.

And Darline Clark Gunsauls presented lectures about cancer at the DeafExpo,
and then Darline would come over to our SignWriting table and we finally
got a chance to talk after such a long time...Dave and Darline's daughter
Tiffany, who is around three years old, was a little angel....alternating
standing in the booth and jumping on a trampoline that was setup for the
children at the DeafExpo. Native signing children are so wonderful to
communicate with!

So all in all, it was a successful and fun weekend. I want to thank Darline
and Dave Gunsauls for their continuous support and help - I look forward to
working with the DAC again in the year 2000!

Have a splendid day everyone, and for all the Americans on the List, Happy

Val ;-)

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