Blessed Among Women
By SuzanneWoods Fisher
Mrs. Spencer Tracy bent down to pick up her ten-month-old son,
John, to wake him from a nap. The door accidentally slammed
shut, but the baby didn’t startle. Surprised, Mrs. Tracy called
out his name in a loud voice. She even shouted it. But baby
John slept on. At that precise moment, she knew that her child
was deaf. Frightened and overwhelmed, at first Mrs. Tracy
couldn’t even tell her husband about her discovery until visits
to doctors confirmed her suspicion. The best medical opine of
the day recommended that the Tracy’s
wait a few years and then send John to a state special education
school. In the medical community of the 1920s, deaf and dumb
went together like salt and pepper.
Except for one doctor.
There was one specialist who encouraged Mrs. Tracy to keep on
talking to John. And so she did. Talking, singing, teaching
him to listen and to associate sounds to meanings. A year or so
later, she was told, “Mrs. Tracy, you are blessed among women.
Yours can be a very interesting life.”
it was, in a way that had nothing to do with Hollywood’s
glamour as her husband racked up two Oscar Awards. Louise
Treadwell Tracy taught her young son to lip read and learn to
talk so effectively that he later graduated from the (now named)
California Institute of the Arts and has had a successful career
at Disney Studios. In 1942, Louise Tracy took what she had
learned and created the John Tracy Clinic, the first preschool
program for deaf children. She provided correspondence courses
for families to use to help develop oral communication in their
deaf child during those critical years of language acquisition
before the age of five. Since then, the clinic has served more
than 60,000 families in 134 countries.
among women? Surely, Louise Tracy didn’t feel very blessed on
that afternoon when she realized her baby son was deaf. No
doubt she felt alone, scared, disappointed with God, terribly
worried about her son’s future. But blessed? Not then, not at
that moment. Not when suffering hits home. Not when it
involves our child. It is too personal.
that may be the very reason that God allows suffering,
disappointment, affliction and grief to penetrate our four walls
and reach into our homes, our hearts.
1983, Louise Tracy passed away at the age of 87, and did,
indeed, consider herself blessed among women. She was an
enlightened woman, far ahead of her times, gutsy and intuitive.
John’s deafness turned her life upside down, and revealed a path
for her to take that changed the lives of thousands and
thousands of deaf children. This unexpected circumstance in her
child’s life was transformed into a blessing for others.