Seabeck is a small community in Washington state, and for 41 years now it has hosted DeafBlind retreats. Where DeafBlind adults from around the world can come and enjoy relaxation, companionship and good times! All accessible and everyone either using ASL or ProTactile – a form of ASL that is uses the body and hands of DeafBlind person to relay information.
There are scores of other DeafBlind retreats around the world; including Texas, Minnesota, Australia, Croatia, and others! Oh, Canada has one too! Which will be three in 2020!
I have attended this Seabeck four times, the first two times I can’t remember, but the third time was in 1998, the 20th annual event, then I attended the 40th camp!
This blog deals with how I got to camp for the 20th anniversary retreat!
My friend and I had registered and were approved for full week! What fun! My friend is DeafBlind and 20 years older than I. Her roommate had applied to go as a volunteer, she had to attend camp a day earlier than us.
The volunteer friend went on Saturday, the DeafBlind friend and I went Sunday. We boarded a Greyhound bus and zoomed south to Seattle from Vancouver. Border crossing was simple, it was three years before 9/11.
We arrived at the Greyhound station. I believe we had about an hour before our arranged ride was to show up. So we sat inside, had some lunch and chatted a bit.
When it got closer to the pick up time, I ventured out to see if anyone was there. I walked around the depot and did not see anyone who should be picking us up. All I to go on was a Pick Up Time: which I believe was 12:30.
If I were to time warp back to that specific day and time; I’d probably see myself with thin hair, a hat, no white cane, and other 1998 clothes. The point was, I didn’t have white cane, or I did, and it was folded up neatly on my bag, a hindrance.
As I walked around the bus depot, I was probably looking for volunteers from recent camps who would recognize me. Obviously I did not see anyone I recognized!
I did spot a nondescript white van with a person wearing a black shirt. That did not strike me as a Volunteer from Lighthouse (which runs Seabeck). This person did not try to make contact with me, probably because of my hindrance that I left in the bus depot. My friend does not use white cane.
Okay… so, the pick up time approached and passed, my friend and I were not picked up! We just sat there! I got hungry and went to Burger King again.
Finally, I approached the info desk and conversed in writing with a lovely Greyhound agent at the info kiosk.
Exactly what I wrote is lost in the foggy bottom of my brain (which is getting foggier all the time now!). But I am pretty sure I explained, tersely, that we were DeafBlind and that we are going to Seabeck. Can she call the retreat and send someone to come and pick us up? This was around, I’m guessing, 4 PM.
When I recall this bus depot memory, I often see in my minds eye a few homeless people sleeping in chairs. I am pretty sure that was the motivator to get out of that place!
Apparently she had some time, it was not busy, she thumbed through the White Pages (remember that?) and found the number for Seabeck Retreat, called. She talked for a few minutes then hung up.
The lovely agent wrote down a reply which I can surmise goes like this: Someone will come and pick you up.
Two hours later, my friend and I are at the Main Lodge at Seabeck Retreat, we had missed dinner, but we had arrived! I promptly forgot about the chilling brush with staying the night at Greyhound Seattle!
Reactions to this ordeal:
- DeafBlind need to self-identify, even just using white cane.
- Always have contact phone number of person picking you up.
- Don’t be shy, approach people who might look like the right person.
- Seabeck also stopped picking up people at various places, unless you paid up front.
- Never eat twice on the same day from Burger King! Blargh!
It is obvious that I did not listen to my own intuition a year later! Heck, I just wrote the above list right now! In the early months of 1999, I flew to San Fransisco, without a phone number for my previous girlfriend. And that is a story for another blog!
Thanks for listening!