A Son’s Loving Tribute to His Mother for a Life Well Lived

Trigger warning: Trauma-informed setbacks

X-Mas 1975. My Mom and me sleeping.

For some days now, an author by the name of Jason “JT” Tozier has been deeply grieving the loss of his mother — the greatest of life’s grieving — missing his beloved mother, Jody. She had been fooled by Alexander Graham Bell’s lies. One day, his mother stood up against the lies and dismantled them, battling those horrible acts of evil, and thenceforward fought for her Deaf son to be left alone, to live life by the language and communicative means of his choosing, being attended to with pure unconditional love.

She was lured. She was exploited. She was targeted. She was innocent. Her soul was stolen. She was 19 years old, and her first-born Deaf son’s soul was stolen, too, by an oral school in Portland, Oregon that is still in existence today and is still harming its students just as before. Bell was a master propagator of a great fallacy, that the state of being Deaf is supposedly a danger so great that a violation of Deaf people’s humanity is necessary and called for.

My Mom, me, and my Father. December 9, 1976. Exploitation right there.

My mother’s legacy continues in me, her spirit is humane and compassionate. Without her living affection, which was profoundly without hostility, her love still rumbles throughout the land with authority through painful times.

It is not an easy process. Alexander Graham Bell’s forced exile of Deaf people to sign language-less zones continues and is well familiar to us. We push against that evil which pushes back like a hurricane force wind. All of us know that it is a philosophy of the language-destruction of the Deaf, by sharing stories of that destruction of how the deprivation of sign language chips away at the development of one’s intelligence in its full power.

The Alexander and Mabel Bell Foundation, by some twisted logic, flatly denies that Alexander Graham Bell created such a state of alarm, by adopting a patronizing attitude that, in effect, continues the implied-hate-oriented practice: Making the Deaf disappear from existence. How? Eugenics and the bastardization of signed languages. Worst of all, Alexander Graham Bell is being regarded as a first class hero, when he committed many monstrous and bigot acts, his thinly veiled overtly hypocritical beneficent stance notwithstanding.

Oralism thus joined the much thicker fraternity of oppressors and colonizers of the world, creating a culture of fear, corrupting the cognition of the Deaf, stealing the unparalleled innocence of parents’ relationships with their own Deaf children and telling them to not learn sign language, causing much painful experience, for example, in terms of mental health, love, and family unity.

How come Deaf children were and are made to be lambs sitting amongst the wolves? Why this outrageous fortune? Its very origins have been a continuing source of long-standing oppression. Alexander Graham Bell was hailed by his popularizers, and his devious plans quickly succeeded in their twisted ways, its evil machinations flowing like tainted air currents that wind about hither and yon, eventually entering the open doors and windows of hearth and home, and brainwashing the innocent caretakers of the youth, including my own mother.

I will not let Alexander Graham Bell’s evil empire have continued control over my mother’s lasting legacy.

As a young boy, I remember reading E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web in a book of literature given to me by my mother, with its empathy and helpful attitudes toward human society, reminding people to be more compassionate.

E.B. White shared his thoughts about his writing in a 1969 interview, relating something his wife’s aunt Caroline once said: “Remembrance is sufficient of the beauty we have seen.” White continued, “I cherish the remembrance of the beauty I have seen. I cherish the grave, compulsive world.” This inspires me to be a better writer.

I note the major problems with Alexander Graham Bell’s philosophy and the philosophy of the organization that continues in his name, which claims that economic incentives are needed to promote innovation. This is not especially innovative. There are biases in research. There’s the “hard sell” and marketing disguised as “education,” all of which foster the illusion that Oralism (the promotion of “listening and speaking,” as it is now euphemistically called) is better than signing with our associated Deaf culture (“the deaf culture,” as they refer to it, with a sneer that leaps off the pages of their brochures).

Their push is for profit — research for profit, i.e. moneymaking — and they resort to spin. They suppress negative findings and they gorge themselves at the trough of conflicts of interest.

We should argue that Alexander Graham Bell’s organization is actually not engaging in “free enterprise,” because what they do is, in fact, heavily dependent on monopoly power granted by virtue of government protection: for example, through patents. In such ways, including the purposeful perversion of the function of governmental agencies meant to promote healthier maternal-child relationships, haven’t they garnered the power to wipe out the culture of the Deaf? How did they get such power?

I will tell you. They seek out and harness the powers of the largest lobbying firms in the District of Columbia.

Therefore, it is irrefutable that Alexander Graham Bell’s minions bullied my mother by denying sign language and snatching it from us. They desecrate the very foundation of humanity by their grotesquely perverse methods, all the while cashing in by converting a mother’s naivete and her Deaf child’s innocence into corporate profits — a naked aggression which knows no bounds. In order to work to reverse this trend, I share these words about my mother’s painful journey. The public must be educated.

My mother and I once had a conversation about how she believes that the oral school in Portland, Oregon hid their secret dark “pot” from which activities that, on the surface, only seem to vaguely relate to oppression of sign language, originated. By recourse to such attitudinal subterfuge, they stole our means of expressing our ultimate love for each other.

The public needs to ask questions and become more hesitant in supporting Alexander Graham Bell’s organization, and properly regard their ostensive methods as being ineffective.

Love and unity should take the place of their deceit by all of us making an honest effort to create a success of American Sign Language (and thereby eliminating their (pseudo-)educational bullying) and offering the new philosophy which, when charges need be incurred, are offered at a fair and reasonable price. In this way, fewer and fewer people will have to choose between sign language and other basic needs.

Fewer people will have to suffer in their afflictions for lack of being able to support their basic needs. Finally, more and more people will be able to engage in the pursuit of happiness, as well as participate in promoting compassion and unity, against dark forces which were once deemed impossible to fight.

My Mom and Me cheerfully playing. October 1975.

My mother died at her home in Milwaukie, Oregon on July 26, 2021, ensuring a lasting strength, and her considerable love and spirit for her Deaf son that was much stronger than Alexander Graham Bell’s belief that it was OK for him to destroy the love between mother and child. Her death will not be in vain. Love reigns supreme.

I Loved Writing for My Mother’s Obituary

Crying together.

Written by my mother’s Deaf son, Jason “JT” Tozier:

A living visual tale of a most unlikely and beautiful soul, a native of the Great Pacific Northwest: Jody Marie [Post] Denniston, whose happiest birthday on Mother Earth was on the second day of July in 1956 in the city of Longview, Washington, she was the embodiment of graciousness on a grand scale, pouring out a steady stream of love to all, to bring about lasting reform and peace. This was how she spent her days and how she spent her life. All four legged companions and song birds she loved on this planet approved of her without hesitation.

It was unique of her in her spare time, whether by the light of sunshine or the cool shade of shadows, in many everyday scenes, she influenced so many people in bringing them to a love of animals, that for this she shall always be remembered, whether engaging herself with our flurry bird neighbors, or with humans, she touched all with whom she crossed paths, in this life or the the next.

Her life’s purpose, in the vocabulary of this brave new world, was to determine how to include all to take part in having a powerful voice, whether pertaining to those from the margins of society in how they are perceived by those who were ignorant of their humanity, or in many situations. This was one of her favorite mottos: “Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.” She was given the gift of life who led a lucky existence, for all the people she was grateful for.

Jody breathed her last in the evening precisely at 10:09 p.m., with a smile on her face on the twenty-sixth day of July in Milwaukie, Oregon, battling one of the most painful of all pains, those brought by lung cancer and which were terminal in the hospice care. We are thankful for the guidance of hospice care on the part of those who are greatly appreciated for their time and service. Ron, Sally, Shayla, Steve, and Jason was at her side.

She was a fierce resistor, usually defiant. Her resistance against cancer included forays into the recitation of fond memories. Jody was a woman of indefatigable conviction. A full life lived was the focus, rather than sadness about soon passing away. Her mortal coils of spirited life wound around like blowing leaves on this Earth, as it revolved around the Sun some 65 times, creating memories that shall be forever peaceful. 

She was more than highly proficient in knowing peace during her lifetime. She was a very spiritual person. She loved old westerns, fishing with her father, believing in karma, 70’s music, walking on the beach, watching for whales in Depoe Bay, as a planner, gardener, a true homemaker cooking for loved ones, always available to help others.

Her various natures, being a zoophilist, dendrophile, thalassophile, sun worshipper, and an extraordinary hippie, as the lyrics say, “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” This is where she found herself enriched and inspired by her greatest gift: “bred and buttered” two sons, Jason Tozier and Steven Tozier. Yet even through such scenes, love glinted the most for her sons at important times.  She devoted her life to her children.

Jody’s labor-of-love and a lifelong partner detailed her journey with Ron Clemens, a giant protector. One cool day in September 1995, her blind date became an insuperable gem. Ronald arrived at Jody’s house while riding a Harley-Davidson FXR Springer, which is the shape of a V-twin softail cruiser with spoked wheels, introducing himself to Jody in person. The rest was history in the making.

They were skittish at first, but hugging and smiling faces eventually won out. Jody took Ron in, and invested optimism in them as a couple, as they toured tirelessly around, spending their lives together for 26 years, by modernizing a message that they embraced with comfort in knowing that their better selves could never be taken from them, and together they could bring synergy in increasing the peace.

Jody had been victimized by the philosophy of Alexander Graham Bell, in that her son Jason, who they learned was in a state of being Deaf, was someone with whom they were told it would be better not to sign. This absence of sign language amounted to the denying themselves of a full relationship with their son. Love was denied them and him, in the meanest way possible. This was language deprivation in the making. Jody eventually refused to let others define her life and she continued to honor her Deaf son’s legacy by living her life to the fullest.

Her son Steven survived leukemia at age of three. The presence of love had been challenging, but a way was found to continue love and go the greatest distance possible, by bringing a bright smile, an infectious laugh, a big heart, and unconditional love. Nothing and no one could take away Jody’s pride in her sons. Jody was an accomplished bartender, server, and restaurant manager. She was the definition of “love thy neighbor.”

Cremation took place in the manner pre-chosen by her, and her ashes will be spread at her favorite beaches in Oregon and Hawai’i. Everyone who remembers her is asked to celebrate Jody’s life in their own happiest making.

She had been a student at Hudson’s Bay High in Vancouver, Washington, and Battle Ground High in Battle Ground, Washington as her last alma mater.

She is lovingly remembered and survived by her loving partner of 26 years, Ron Clemens of Milwaukie, Oregon, her proud sons, Jason Tozier of Washington, D.C. and Steven Tozier, of Yacolt, Washington. Jody will also be fondly remembered by her sister, Sally Jean Vingelen of Portland, Oregon and her brother-in-law Bob Vingelen of Portland, Oregon; her niece, Shayla Rielly of La Grande, Oregon and nephew, Tereso Cruz of Gilbert, Arizona; her great niece, Malia Cruz of Gilbert, Arizona.

Jody was preceded in death by her parents, Ruth and Jim Post. To all of her flurry children, she always ensured that every flurry child who crossed her path was happy and had peaceful nests. 

And so as the ages slowly turn and as our lives as survivors continue, all that remains for now to say is… Peace out!

Critical Race Theory in the Classroom

So…. where would be “Progressive” White Deaf Americans in our past and in the future making the Deaf community a lot of safer, healthier, maybe more smarter for all of us? Critical race theory is important for the students to empower themselves and understand the racial superiority theory. The power of healing and higher learning is healthy!