By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Anita Nedved, Leah Bush, and Rosie Hernandez presented attendees with personal views and stories of some of the various communities that are a part of this country.


All different nationalities are represented within the United States, but there are entire communities of people with commonalities that we may not always consider. These groups hold their own ways of thinking, cultures, habits, and willingness to blend in without losing their uniqueness.

Three featured speakers were introduced during the Women’s Business Breakfast Network meeting at the Community Building Complex on Tuesday, Feb. 19, Anita Nedved, Rosie Hernandez, and Leah Bush. The ‘flavor’ of their presentations follows:

‘Hand Jive’ by Anita Nedved, Nutrition Program Director of New Millenium Medical spoke of growing up with deaf parents.

“My parents are deaf due to non-hereditary causes, and my first language was sign language. By the age of four, I was an interpreter.

“My friends thought it was the coolest thing ever. They loved sleepovers at my house. We could crank music all night or sneak out. Well, we used the front door and my parents wouldn’t hear us.

“There was a boom of deaf births in the 1940s and 50s due to a large outbreak of German measles. A huge deaf population came out of that. My parents’ mothers contracted German measles while they were in utero and both my mother and father were born deaf.

“Many of these deaf children were institutionalized or placed in integrated schools. My mother was institutionalized at the Illinois School for the Deaf in Jacksonville. Out of that came a huge deaf, Ameslan-oriented community. They communicated among themselves and, as a result, my mom is an introvert.

“My father went to Hinsdale South in Chicago. It is an integrated school that helped the deaf to communicate with the hearing community. Because of this training, my dad is an extrovert.

“Deaf kids had nowhere to congregate so they took over bowling alleys, bars, and created bowling leagues. That is where we kids grew up. We had snowmobile clubs, took camping trips, and hung out with each other.

“My mom always carried pen and paper so she could always communicate. Now, people are always texting and the deaf community is diminishing. They had a lot of gadgets for deaf people. When the doorbell rang at our house it was like a circus with flashing lights. My mom would crank up the volume on the alarm and had the car radio volume cranked up.

“Now there are cochlear implants. My parents are scared that it would diminish the deaf community.

“It (American Sign Language/Ameslan) would be a great elective. It is a cognitively developed language. Babies learn fast.”

Across all age groups, in the United States, approximately 1,000,000 people (0.38% of the population, or 3.8 per 1,000) over 5 years of age are ‘functionally deaf;’ more than half are over 65 years of age.

The next topic was ‘We the People’ by Rosie Hernandez, Executive Assistant, Country Financial – Bruce Nelson, on being Mexican-American.

“In 1987 my dad was granted amnesty by President Reagan. In 2003 we…

For complete article, pick up the Feb. 28 Belvidere Republican.

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