Unfortunately, the other reason he needed to learn to lipread was because none of us learned sign language, and, as a result, it was sink or swim for him. Neither I nor any of my siblings are proud of this. All of us, at some point, took a sign language class or two as adults, but never got proficient at it. The problem was that none of us used it day to day, so we never became proficient. I wish I had. It's one of my few regrets in life.. If a sibling doesn't deserve that from his family, I don't know who does.
Like I say though, we all gave it a shot. The upside to the classes we did take was that all of us picked up enough to help out. We learned the basics and were able to implement them at key times. We muddled our way through and came out okay.
One of the biggest issues I remember with Rob was during TV programs. Rob liked a lot of the same shows that the rest of the family did, but because these were the days before closed captioning, he frequently asked us what was said. We helped out when we could, but oftentimes we'd get short with him because during our reiterating we would miss the next joke or line in the show. (Nevermind that he would have missed the line we were repeating if we didn't repeat it, but we were looking out for selfish interests, as kids do.) Again, I wished I'd been more patient with him, but somehow we made it through. (And the great advancements of CC'ing have made it accessible for all.)
From a young age, Rob was a fisherman. At the top is a picture of him and I holding Northern Pike that we caught in Hibbing, Minnesota in 1969. My brother Tom took us out that morning and we landed caught 3 northerns. Mine got away at the side of the boat, so Tom let me hold his for this picture. At the bottom is all of us in the boat on the same day the fish were caught.
It is one of my favorite old pictures because it shows the innocence of our youth, our mutual love of fishing and, because of our goofy clothes, takes the viewer right back to 1969. My mom was dating a rich man at that time, one we all thought she should marry...because he was rich! Of course, love knows better, and it didn't work out. He had a nice little cabin, though.
So that's a bit about our young lives. Next time, I'll share some more fishing stories/adventures that we had together.