Make Something: Hand

Today’s make something assignment was to work with my hands—literally.


In the second or third grade, at the back of a book about Hellen Keller, I discovered tiny drawings of the sign language alphabet. Fascinating! Determined to learn to communicate silently, I memorized all the signals. For awhile, due to focused practice, I could spell words pretty quickly “by hand.” But I’ve never been in close communication with anyone who uses sign language, so I’ve had no real reason to keep up the skill.

In high school and college, I learned another language. French. I believe I studied for six years. I read novels and carried conversations in French, successfully enough to earn A’s even at the college level. I’ve never been to France, or even Canada. My work does not demand more than a solid command of the English language. As a result, today I cannot utter a single sentence or even conjugate a verb in French.

And yet I still know the entire sign language alphabet.

How is this possible?

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