I first learnt about Helen Keller through a calendar book of sorts in which each day was marked with something of significance to the date. The item was illustrated by a blond girl at a waterpump, one hand pumping, the other hand under the rush of water. Her eyes were wide and looked rather bewildered and lost (she was also blonde and blue-eyed). I learned that she was blind and deaf, until her teacher taught her how to read and write through impressions on her hands.
I did not know her teacher was also
deaf blind until much later.
I only caught snippets about Helen Keller later, and saw a picture of the first story she typed up; I think it was a re-telling of Cinderella, but I can't say for sure now - I only know it was a famous fairytale. I remember being impressed that she could do that deaf and blind. I also saw a movie in which she was a character, touching a soldier's lips to hear him.
Here's the thing, though, until Anne at FWD talked to me about Helen Keller Mythbusting Day, I didn't really think much about what else she had done in her life, besides being generally awesome in how she managed to live a full life while being deaf and blind. And then it was, wait, what?
What do you mean, Helen Keller was a political activist? A radical thinker? I knew she travelled and was a speaker, but I always assumed it was all about disability - obviously that would be her main concern in life! I visited her Wikipedia page, and lo, stuff I didn't know about this amazing woman.
I let her disability cloud my entire perception of her, and am thus ashamed, and now, I exhort ya'll who read my blog to hie on over to FWD's Blogswarm post, into which many links and discussions about Helen Keller, and other incredible women with disabilities, will be shared. Or, if you have some myths to bust about Helen Keller yourself, write a post and share!