Linda Weaver Clarke

Sarah's Special Gift


Sarah sat at her desk planning out the week's agenda. Being a dance teacher had much responsibility. She had to plan a group class and a private session for each student, plus set a recital date. She wanted a recital every three months so her students had something to look forward to. She also had to plan a solo for herself. This would motivate the students so they would know what lay in store for them if they worked hard.

Melinda had stopped by that day and asked if Kayla could have dance lessons and Sarah was excited to teach such a sweet young girl. Kayla seemed excited and her enthusiasm had rubbed off on Sarah. It was a joy to teach children who wanted to learn.

Sarah pushed her raven black hair out of her face as she thought about her situation. She was grateful she had moved to Paris, Idaho to begin her dance school. The people in Bear Lake Valley were so congenial and seemed to accept her at face value. They never treated her like she was different and that brought her great joy. At the Saturday night socials, she never had a chance to rest. She always had a dance partner. The young men accepted her without question, knowing she was different than other girls. Her condition didn't seem to bother them at all.

The students at college were a completely different story. The coeds tended to ignore her and the young men never pursued a relationship after finding out about her condition. She figured it was because they felt uncomfortable around her. Ignorance was a major problem in a situation like hers. But then it probably was her own fault for choosing a prestigious college in the first place.

The only reason she had chosen Radcliff College was because Helen Keller had attended there, graduating magna cum laude. She had felt a kinship towards her, although her situation was different than Helen's. Sarah had lost her hearing at the age of thirteen after a prolonged illness. Helen Keller was born deaf and it took her a few years to learn to communicate with others, but Sarah had learned to speak before her illness.

The doctors figured that she had lost approximately sixty to seventy percent of her hearing. She could hear low, deep sounds such as music, but higher pitches were more difficult and usually drove her crazy. After becoming deaf, every sense she had seemed to be accentuated: her smell, her touch, her sight, even sound vibrations that others just take for granted such as music or the vibrations of the earth.

Sarah was taught sign language but it had been difficult, like learning a foreign language, so she decided to work hard at reading lips. She was now quite proficient at it.

The professors at the college had been wonderful. They had gone out of their way to help her. They were impressed that she wanted to be a dance teacher and supported her decision, perhaps because Helen Keller had attended this college and left behind her legacy.

After arriving in Paris, Sarah realized she needed a plan. She needed to prove herself to the community. She announced a free dance recital by putting posters all over the whole valley. To make her plan successful, she also went about the community getting to know the people personally, announcing her recital, and hoping their curiosity would win out. It was a perfect plan and it worked.

The night of her recital the place was packed. She figured it was because they were curious, wondering how a dance teacher in her condition could dance. She knew that she could use their curiosity to her advantage, so she prepared a variety of dances to show off her expertise. She performed some ballet, different tap dances, and the Spanish flamenco, just to mention a few.

After an hour of dancing, Sarah bowed and thanked everyone for coming. When the audience immediately stood, applauding and giving her a standing ovation, tears welled up in her eyes. She had not expected this kind of response. Her emotions were close to the surface as she looked at the audience and saw the joy in their faces. She had touched their hearts.

She bowed and then performed once again, receiving another standing ovation. The audience was alive with wonder and enthusiasm. After an hour of standing ovations, Sarah was exhausted and finally told the audience about the new Dance School she was opening and then excused herself.

The following week, one parent after another signed up their children for dance lessons. By the second week, Sarah had every day filled. The community had accepted her wholeheartedly, without question.

Sarah smiled as she placed the week's schedule in the drawer. She loved what she was doing and was glad she had chosen this road to take. She was also glad she had chosen Bear Lake Valley to make her home. First thing tomorrow, she would call on Melinda and arrange a time for Kayla.

©Copyright 2005, Linda Weaver Clarke