Morris and Sally Porter

As Interviewed by Hannah Marks, March 17, 2011
"The Deaf community is my community."
Morris and Sally Porter

Introductory Profile: About Morris and Sally Porter

I interviewed my grandparents, Morris and Sally Porter. Both of them are deaf and graduated from Texas School for the Deaf (TSD), a special school that is only for deaf people. I was interested to interview them about any experiences they have had as deaf people. I wondered if they had experienced discrimination or if they had any hard feelings toward hearing people.

Sally is 5 feet tall and has white hair. She is 68 years old. Morris is 5 feet 8 inches and about to turn 73. Although his hair is thinning, he does not have any gray hair. Sally describes herself as very shy and that she only interacts with people in her small circle. She is very expressive with her face. Morris is more outgoing and funny. He is more talkative and able to communicate with hearing people more easily though he prefers to interact with the deaf community.

Sally was born in Poteet, Texas, and Morris was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. They currently live in Kyle, Texas. They have been married since 1966 and have two children, both hearing. Both of them come from hearing families, although Morris does have one deaf brother. They both attended and graduated from TSD, although they were five years apart at TSD and did not really know each other until they met while working at IRS. Sally was a residential student at TSD and her family lived in San Antonio and did not learn sign language. Morris was a day student because his family moved to Austin when they realized both of their sons were deaf and needed to attend TSD. Both of Morris’s parents learned sign language but his mother was more fluent than his father.

The interview was conducted at their home in Kyle. The interview seemed very reflective while they both thought about past experiences at certain times in their lives. Even though Sally said she was shy, she was very open with her answers. Morris included humor in the interview which lightened the mood.

My focus on the interview was more about feelings and experiences, not specific times or places. The interview was difficult because I felt that some of my questions confused them, but it was still more successful than I expected. It was difficult to interview two people, but it was insightful to have their contrasting experiences because their backgrounds were very different. Sometimes they would play off each other. It was also difficult conducting the interview through an interpreter because there is a delay in the response, and sometimes I would start to ask another question while they were still answering the previous one. The interview was inspiring and insightful and helped me to learn a lot about my grandparents.