Against All Odds

Imagine you woke up one day and all (and I mean all) of your hair fell out? To make matters worse, you’ve also lost almost all of your hearing. In addition, you grew up dirt poor and now as an adult struggle to make ends meet. This is the story of my grandfather.

He gradually lost his hearing (due to a childhood illness) until he was almost completely deaf by the age of 24, and was forced to wear an embarrassingly big, and bulky hearing aid. The stress of losing his hearing caused his hair to ALL fall out all at once—and it never grew back. A printer by trade, he often didn’t hear instructions and made mistakes which caused him to lose jobs.

It’s hard to know if deep down he felt sorry for himself, but he didn’t let his condition stop him from meeting and marrying his high school sweetheart, being a role model for my mom, starting a printing business, and living a full life.

My “Papa” was known for wearing a variety of unique hats, turning his baldness into branding. He focused on his strength–working the presses–and hired help to talk to handle sales and talk to the customers.

Later in life, he learned sign language, which made communicating easier. My grandfather lived into his nineties and I never once heard him use his handicap as an excuse for not doing something.

Against All Odds