Re-enactor presents program at library
By Jane Myhra
The confidence and generosity of Helen Keller were highlighted recently by re-enactor Jessica Michna.
The presentation was part of the “Strong Women, Strong World” focus at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Michna entered the room guided by her husband, who gently placed her hand on the podium and her “braille” notes. She spoke the same way Keller spoke and with the same words Keller used in 1925 to persuade Lions International to be “Knights of the Blind in the Crusade against Darkness.”
Michna’s presentation included a history of the blind and deaf Keller and how she became an advocate for the handicapped.
Stricken with scarlet fever before the age of 2, Keller was suddenly lost in a dark and silent world.
“No one could communicate with her and she could not communicate her needs to anyone else,” Michna said.
Her parents finally contacted Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, who found a teacher for the child in 1887, Annie Sullivan.
After learning to communicate and eventually speak, Keller was the first blind and deaf person to graduate from college. Soon she was writing books and lecturing.
“She wanted to show the world that everyone has value, everyone has a purpose,” Michna said. “Helen saw each and every human being as the Creator’s greatest work.”
“I believe there was a plan for Helen Keller,” Michna said. “That plan included that she would have to give up a big part of herself, becoming blind and deaf.
“She took that to show that we all have limitations – some are greater than others.”
According to Michna, Keller’s letters always included the words “I am so very lucky.”
Keller died on June 28, 1968, at the age of 88.
“When she died, the world lost one of its greatest philanthropists,” Michna said.