Day 7 Gives Thanks to Julie Moore.
Julie Moore was the first interpreter I ever consciously knew. She interpreted my first Deaf Culture class. She also has the dubious distinction of being the first person I ever saw who had a pager. This was an old pager (like my first pager) where there was no display. When it beeped (there was no silent), it beeped loud and you knew where to call to find out what they wanted. I'm sure it wasn't that much fun for her. Julie was at nearly every Deaf Community event I have ever attended - she knew and was respected by all the major players in the Deaf and Interpreting communities. She is an incredible interpreter.
Later on in June of 1988, she interpreted at the Deaf Arts Fair at Portland State University. Patrick Graybill performed there with some of our local actors. It was an incredible opportunity to see the performance about a Deaf residential school. And Julie was there, voice interpreting into the microphone - strong and confident. In those days, I really didn't KNOW Julie. She was this interpreter and I would never have even spoken to her.
In Fall of 1988, the chair of the interpreter training program went on sabbatical and Julie took over for her. I was in my second year of the interpreter training program and I don't know that I actually knew AT ALL what I was doing there. Some of the people in the program had "always wanted to be an interpreter" and I had barely even seen one working and I wasn't sure I wanted to be one. I was terrified of being videotaped and I was not confident in my skills AT ALL. When I didn't pass the qualifying exam for internship, I wasn't surprised. Julie put me in the perfect mock interpreting placement for my skills - a fast-paced, extemporaneous environment where I couldn't stop, I couldn't predict and I couldn't study my way out of it. It was sink or swim and I started out dog-paddling.
Whenever Julie would come to my class, she would sit in the back and I would not look at her. She teases me now, saying, "I could have caught fire and you would never have noticed." It was true. I was so terrified that I wouldn't do a good job. I respected her so much, I didn't want to disappoint her. She was always encouraging and gave me excellent feedback to foster improvement, but I was still terrified. I passed the second qualifying exam and went on to internship.
I ended up having my final internship evaluation at camp fire during the last night at outdoor school. I was so frustrated - I had been there all week, interpreting my heart out in the woods and the water and the rain and my evaluation was during CAMPFIRE!?! Not fair! I stood up in the front with the campfire flames heating my backside and looked out at the deaf students who were NOT HAVING A GOOD TIME. Campfire was silly songs and skits that were all based on sound and nonsense words. I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and give up and take them out of there. I could see Julie in the back, writing notes. Then they started doing a story called "The Lion Hunt"..I know there are variations on the story, but it basically talks about going on a Lion Hunt and putting on boots and walking through the tall grass and boots getting stuck in the mud and it has hand movements throughout the story that the audience can use. At first, I was very repressed and uptight and as I looked at the students, I knew I could make this more fun for them. I threw my inhibitions out the window and stopped caring that I might look like an idiot. I knew I had done the right thing when the Deaf students started doing the hand movements with the other students. After campfire was over, Julie came to me and told me I had done an amazing job. My heart pounded and I felt as tall as the tallest tree out there in the forest. Julie thought I had done a good job! Amazing.
Julie continues to support me to this day - she was my team interpreter for the very first job I did once I graduated from the program. She has been a huge support to me as an instructor in the intepreter training program, and I consider us friends. She is an amazing teacher and friend and I know I would not be where I am today without her friendship and her support.
Julie, you will never know how much your support has meant to me over the years. You were a role model to me before I even knew I wanted to interpret and you continue to challenge and inspire me to be better and do more. Thank you for all you have given me over the years. I hope I can return the favor in some small way someday.