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Interview:  Bill Vicars

Interviewee:  William (Bill) Vicars, Ed.D.
Interviewer:  [A student in a Deaf Studies Class]
Date: 2008?

Social Development History
Developmental History Questions

1) Was your mothers pregnancy normal, uneventful, problematic?
Problematic: 2 months premature.

2)  Describe any problems or unusual circumstances
They were going to abort me to save my mom. A highway patrol officer was speeding to the hospital --bringing her blood type from the next city over. The plan was to conduct the abortion as soon as the blood arrived.

3)  Birth Order
Third of three.

4)  Any knowledge of parents about pregnancy?
Like I said.  I was their third child.  I think they had pieced together the connection by the third time around.  It wasn't like, "Dang, where DO these babies keep coming from?!?"

5)  Was the delivery normal, routine, difficult?

6)  Type of delivery?
I popped out out while the doctor was running through the door putting his coat on.

7)  Full Term?
7 months

8)  Place of Birth?
Hospital Bed. Box Elder County Utah

9)  Do you know if your Mother has pre-natal care?  Access to health care?
Yes.  Yes.

Medical Problems

1) Any significant medical problems as a child?
Hard of hearing.  Respiratory issues.

2) If so please describe treatment/
Incubator for 6 months

3)  Did any other close family members have medical conditions that you were aware of.  If so please describe treatments:
Lots of diabetes in the family. Mother later had a stroke.   Pretty sure everyone in the family is crazy.

4)  Did you get all of your immunizations?
Cough, cough. Excuse me what was the question?

5)  Did you get dental care?
I still have my teeth so I reckon so.

Developmental Milestones (ages of occurrence if known)

1) Sat up on own (and why you believe you did)
Yes. Because the ceiling was boring.

2)  Walked?
Prior to running.

3)  First Words
"It's cold out here."

4) Toilet Trained

Parental Care

1)  Do you think you were easy to care for as a child?
They put me in a closet.
No, seriously! They did.
I spent the first few months in an incubator, and then when I came home from the hospital my mom and dad converted a closet into an incubator-like crib. So they literally put me in a closet.

2)  Do you feel that you received appropriate care, if not why?

Social/Emotional Aspects

1.  What were your peer relationships like as a child?
Somewhat stilted due to being hard of hearing, but I did have a few friends and I did interact socially with peers.

2.  How would you describe yourself as a child? (Outgoing, shy?)
I switched between being shy and being outgoing depending on the circumstances. Sometimes shy, sometimes outgoing.  It depended on whether I could understand the other people or not.
If I could understand what was going on…I was outgoing…if not I was shy.  For example…I never got into “cruising” (driving up and down main street) because I couldn’t hear people across the street or speaking to me from other cars.  Or the person in the car with me for that matter. Cars are noisy and not compatible with hearing aids.

3.  What types of play, activities, and hobbies did you participate in as a child?
I mostly read.  But I also had two very active older siblings. We played together quite a bit.  Also at age eleven I took up chess and became somewhat skilled at it.  As a teenager I did a bit of martial arts and dance (modern jazz).

4.  If so please describe the events and their effect on you.
The reading and chess helped me develop relatively strong cognitive skills that have served me well throughout my life. The playing with my older siblings helped me to learn how to interact with people.  The martial arts gave me self confidence and helped me to lose weight and eventually led to being interested in dance.

5.  Were there significant events that occurred during your childhood?
Well sure…but nothing traumatic or earth shattering that had any lasting impact.  Relatively normal childhood.

6.  If so, please describe the events and their effects on you.

7.  Is there anything else you think is important to know about your childhood?
Other than the alien abductions, no.

School History

1.  Schools attended:
Central Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, Box Elder Jr. High, Box Elder High School, Utah State University, Weber State University, Lamar University. Dozens of workshops etc.

2.  Attendance:

3.  Performance:
Struggled during elementary school, after that I did really well.

4.  Participation in school related activities
Chess club, debate club.  Note:  I couldn’t do well at debate events that required back and forth conversation, so I focused on individual speaking events.

5.  Peer relations at school
Average.  I had a best friend and a number of good friends.

6.  Parent involvement in school
They were there if I asked or needed them.

Current Social/Emotional

1.  What are your current social relationships like now?  Are you the type of person who has a lot of friends, or a few very close ones.
I have a fair number of friendly associates and a few close friends.

2.  Special Relationships
Wife, children, long term friendships with several people.
Mom and Dad.
My cat thinks we have a special relationship--but we don’t.

3.  Major interests and activities:
I minored in Psych.  Majored in Public Relations.  Figured that was my weak area due to hearing loss--so I dived into it.
Graduate work in Deaf Education. Doctorate in Deaf Ed/Deaf Studies.
Psychology, learning and cognition, martial arts, reading, flexibility, computers.


Self Description
How would you describe yourself?

I am friendly, marginally funny, capable of taking a stand, not handsome* but not ugly either, about average height, relatively smart, persistent, a good public speaker, and resourceful.
(* My wife and cat think I'm handsome but one is biased and the other has cataracts.)

1.  What do you like about yourself?
I like that I am literate, that I have pursued my goals and achieved many of them.  I like that I am determined and logical yet balanced with (some) emotional sensitivity.

2.  What do you see as your strengths?
See above.

3.  Areas for growth?
I reckon I could improve in “self awareness of areas to improve on” because I don't like to even think about areas where I need to improve. I’m into distraction as a way of coping with inadequacies.  When I start feeling inadequate, I get busy doing something to distract myself. I want to become more kind.  It’s the ol' “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” gig.

4.  Current worries or fears?
The usual: Getting hit by a car while biking home. Becoming crippled. The scoop of ice cream falling off my cone. Medical expenses eating up my retirement.  I suppose if I'd stop eating ice-cream cones while riding my bike many of those fears would go away.

5)  Goals and dreams for the future?
For my website to become successful enough to support me in the lifestyle to which I’d like to become accustomed. No, wait, make that, "the lifestyle to which my children would like to become accustomed."  I have lots of goals concerning travel, learning experiences, interactions with my family, etc.  A few physical goals regarding flexibility and basic strength levels.

6)  What would you like to change or leave the same about yourself?
Hmmm…I’d like to lose the glasses and have 20/20 (or better) eyesight.  More in shape.

J.  Environment

1.  Did you live in a rural, urban, suburban area?

2.  Did you move frequently as a child, if so what kind of impact did it have on you?
Only a few times and we stayed in the same city.

3.  Did you have adequate money for daily living?  Extra?
Had adequate.  Not much extra…depended on various times.

4.  Did your family have health care?

5.  Did you feel safe in your neighborhood?

K.  Religion

1)  Was religion/spirituality important in your childhood?
On and off.  Later more so.

2)  Is it now?
When we reach that point in our lives where we have fewer days ahead of us than we have behind us we tend to start caring more and more about religion and "giving back."

3)  Has anything changed with your religious beliefs?
I’m more tolerant of other’s religions.  Now I'm more interested in “applied religion” that actually benefits my life and the lives of those around me. I’d rather do a service project or give an inspiring speech than to engage in purely ceremonial events.

L.  Culture and Ethnicity

1.  Talk about its place and importance in your life:

Hard of Hearing folks are in-betweeners.
People ask me if I’m Deaf.  For the longest time I didn't know how to respond. 
One thing I know is that I'm not "Hearing."
From a medical standpoint I am "hard of hearing." You may be familiar with the big "D" little "d" terms. Big “D” refers to cultural deafness.  Little “d” refers to physical deafness.  My "d/Deaf" friends and  associates tell me I'm Deaf, (culturally). I think of myself as Deaf--BUT I don't want to be labeled by any "militant Deaf" (right-hand over ear, left fist in the air).
I also refuse to allow people to inaccurately assign me the "hearing in the head" sign.
With amplification or a hearing-aid I can use the phone--but it depends on the person's voice.  Often times even with the volume very loud I still can't understand what's being said.  And if they have an accent?  Forget it.  But I have no desire to be a Hearing person. I'm not interested in getting a cochlear implant.
As a hard of hearing individual I like to think I am bicultural and bilingual. I see myself as a bridge between the Deaf and Hearing communities. My wife is d/Deaf.  She has a hearing loss of over 70 decibels in both ears. You could say she is "legally" deaf as well as culturally Deaf.  With extreme amplification she can sometimes use the phone--unless you mumble, have an accent, or a high pitched voice. She attended a "Day Program" for the Deaf in Bakersfield California. Signing was her first language.  In our home we use ASL, contact signing (pidgin), or voice--depending on the situation and which of our d/Deaf, HoH or hearing friends we are communicating with.
So as far as my culture and ethnicity I am “bicultural” and live in two worlds.

2.  Describe issues of acculturation and assimilation
That is a book length topic…I describe such issues at my website.

M.  Sexual Orientation and History:

1.  If comfortable, identify sexual orientation.  How was it determined?
I’m straight.  I was pretty sure of it on my wedding night. 

2.  Level of comfort with sexual identity
On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d say I’m a 10.

N.  Family History

1.  Family or Origin: Describe members of your family; Include the following, relationship,  occupation, education, major medical or psychological issues.  Your relationship with them.

Dad:  Used to be a rocket scientist.  Well, okay -- it would be more of a rocket builder.  He used to make sure the boosters and fuel cells were put together right.  High school graduate but learned lots on the job after 30 years. Retired now. Old.
[Update: On 12/15/2014 his status changed from "old" to "dead."  I very much miss his old status.]

Various health issues…diabetes, stroke, heart problems, but plugs along and does the best she can.  As she gets older she has more limitations, but when she was younger she was simply terrific--amazing woman.

Brother:  Diabetes.  Cool guy.  Seems a bit frustrated with life.  Has hopes and dreams but circumstance seems to conspire against him.     But he is fun to be around at parties.  Always has a story.

Sister:  Wonderful person. Hard worker.  A bit obsessive compulsive in some areas but extremely sweet. Cares deeply about people.

2.  Family Function:  Did family members get along?  Were there big family secrets? Family gatherings?

If there were any family secrets they didn’t tell me. But then, being the Deaf/hh one I often missed out on secrets.
We got along great.
Oh sure once in a while we had our ups and downs.
As mom got older it depended on whether she was having an up week or a down week.  But I look back on a childhood full of happy memories, family gatherings, dinner around the table, parents who helped with homework and scouts.

How did the family feel toward you?
Good question.  I ought to ask them someday. Nah.

How did you feel toward the family?

3.  Any issues of domestic violence, alcoholism, job loss, traumas?

No.  None of that.
Mom tells me that when Mike and Kellie were young Dad had quite the temper and would discipline them in an excessive manner.  She informs me that she put her foot down and he mellowed out a lot.  [Update: I bet Dad would have a different story about who did what and "how it was."] 
I recall that I got my rear end whipped a time or two...but I'm glad they did it because I honestly feel it helped me learn right from wrong. 
Neither of my folks were big drinkers.
One time Dad got transferred due to a company wide merger. That was a bit hard on him.  But no real job loss.

I remember Dad as being very kind, loving, hard-working, smart, patient, and a terrific story teller. 

I remember Mom as being zany, exciting, wise, caring, compassionate, intense, and spiritual.
She had her share of trauma growing up, and it affected her, but that is her story to tell.

I got laid off once.  After the initial surprise, it was not a “big deal.”  I just went freelance.

4.  How would you summarize the quality of life during childhood?


5.  Current family situation, e.g. children, married, divorced?
Married to a wonderful wife with four terrific monkeys …er I mean children.

Anything else that I have left out that you would like to share?
Nothing comes to mind.

Thank You!



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