my heart is so happy...and full!
thursday afternoon, i got a voicemail from michelle, the no limits [deaf / hard-of-hearing theatre group] dreamer | owner | director. ABC was auditioning for a blonde-haired, blue-eyed oral-deaf teen, for their upcoming series pilot -- switched at birth. and michelle thought kiele would be perfect for the part. the only problem...the audition was the following morning in los angeles. after she chatted with the director, we decided to head to LA so kiele could audition in person. it was a chance of a lifetime and in my opinion...how could we NOT go. i purchased last minute tickets, threw what i could into a suitcase, and 30-minutes later, kiele and i were headed to LA.
kiele ended up not getting the part of daphne because they thought she was too young (the role is a 15-year-old, but apparently they're hoping to find someone 18-20s; kiele is 13). i can honestly say that kiele and i had the most amazing 24 hours, while there. i'm so grateful for the opportunity. and i'm beyond proud of kiele. not every child would do what kiele just did.
simply getting to audition for the part was an awesome experience. but beyond that, we got to hang out with some of the most incredible, inspirational people i have ever met -- one of them being michelle.
every time i see michelle, i'm beyond inspired! she had a dream and she made her dream a reality. and every time i talk to her, i think i should go pursue being a deaf | hard-of-hearing (DHH) educational advocate. when i'm with her, i feel that i really could make a difference, not only for the local DHH children, but across the nation!!
kiele also got to hang out a bit with john autry. at age seven, john was one of the first children to attend 'no limits' (he's now 21) and he had just returned from being a presenter at the 2010 media access awards (GLEE won the CSA award for diverse casting of actors with disabilities). from what michelle shared, john was a superstar at the award ceremony!!
kiele had acted with john a few years ago in san diego, at a 'no limits' theatre play BUT we so hadn't put two and two together to realize that...
THIS IS JOHN -- the actor who played this most amazing, inspirational role on GLEE. OH MY GOSH!!
john talked to kiele about how important education is and how these acting parts are a bonus; he will never stop going to school and learning. oh my gosh!! seriously <lump in my throat>...so inspirational. john is one of those people who smiles and the entire room lights up. he just has one of those spirits and i have no doubt that his acting career will continue to grow!!
we also got to meet one of the most amazing women i have ever met -- enid wizig. being in the presence of enid (87) and her husband, bernard (92), made me so happy. they are so full of life. amazing. and so in love. i could kick myself for not getting my camera out of the car and taking a photo of them.
enid contracted whooping cough at six months old, which resulted in her being profoundly deaf. back then, they didn't have hearing aids and her parents would use an ear trumpet to talk to her. later in school, she wore a large hearing-aid device, with the battery attached to her thigh. as a very young child, she had little to no language. her mother insisted that she speak and hired a speech therapist, who charged $100 / hour (a very controversial choice, especially back then). this woman believed in enid and ended up working with her twice every day for five years...for free. and she taught enid how to speak. enid mostly reads lips and has an unbelievable speaking voice. to this day, enid proudly displays her speech therapist's 8x10 photograph, front and center in her living room.
enid was also the first woman to work for merrie melodies. she sat down and drew kiele this bugs bunny in about two minutes! i asked her if she had any of her drawings in her house and she shared with me that she gave some to her children and sold the others for $10,000 each.
and i can't thank michelle's dad, nugent, enough. i know that he is michelle's mentor and from talking to him, i can 100% say that he is a dreamer. yet, he shared with me how michelle is the one who inspires him. their support and encouragement for one another is so heartening. nugent picked kiele and i up from the airport at 12:30 AM. he took us to the audition the next morning. and then took us back to the airport at 10:30 PM that night. he was willing to help in any way he could...and so encouraging and kind. thank you nugent; we couldn't have done it without you!!
lastly, happy 70th birthday john lennon. your wisdom and inspiration continue today!