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ASL Version of Rudolph Shows Amazing Storytelling Skills

Shaylee has impressed us with her amazing ASL storytelling skills for the last two years. First, when she was 4, we marveled at her charming rendition of The Night Before Christmas. Then last year, she made our hearts grow three sizes with How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Now Shaylee, the daughter of ASL Nook’s Sheena McFeely and Manny Johnson, is back with the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

As a native signer with two Deaf parents, Shaylee’s ASL skills have always been impressive, and her personality makes her a natural in front of the camera. But now, at 6 years old, you can really see how her language and performing ability have developed over time. One thing that really struck me about this story was the newly direct confidence of her “narrator voice.” She really understands what it is to involve the audience. Look at the lively way she looks right at the camera in the introduction.

She is also able to combine even more layers of meaning in single signs. In just one example, here (at 2:45) she captures the rushing whoosh of a plane and Santa’s reaction to it at the same time.

 

It’s wonderful to see Shaylee’s skills grow as she does. And to see the story of Rudolph brought to life this way. Enjoy!

Learn more holiday signs from Shaylee and her little sister Ivy at ASL Nook.

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By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
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History
Photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Purchased for $10, Could Be Worth Millions
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Several years ago, Randy Guijarro paid $2 for a few old photographs he found in an antiques shop in Fresno, California. In 2015, it was determined that one of those photos—said to be the second verified picture ever found of Billy the Kid—could fetch the lucky thrifter as much as $5 million. That story now sounds familiar to Frank Abrams, a lawyer from North Carolina who purchased his own photo of the legendary outlaw at a flea market in 2011. It turns out that the tintype, which he paid $10 for, is thought to be an image of Billy and Pat Garrett (the sheriff who would eventually kill him) taken in 1880. Like Guijarro’s find, experts say Abrams’s photo could be worth millions.

The discovery is as much a surprise to Abrams as anyone. As The New York Times reports, what drew Abrams to the photo was the fact that it was a tintype, a metal photographic image that was popular in the Wild West. Abrams didn’t recognize any of the men in the image, but he liked it and hung it on a wall in his home, which is where it was when an Airbnb guest joked that it might be a photo of Jesse James. He wasn’t too far off.

Using Google as his main research tool, Abrams attempted to find out if there was any famous face in that photo, and quickly realized that it was Pat Garrett. According to The New York Times:

Then, Mr. Abrams began to wonder about the man in the back with the prominent Adam’s apple. He eventually showed the tintype to Robert Stahl, a retired professor at Arizona State University and an expert on Billy the Kid.

Mr. Stahl encouraged Mr. Abrams to show the image to experts.

William Dunniway, a tintype expert, said the photograph was almost certainly taken between 1875 and 1880. “Everything matches: the plate, the clothing, the firearm,” he said in a phone interview. Mr. Dunniway worked with a forensics expert, Kent Gibson, to conclude that Billy the Kid and Mr. Garrett were indeed pictured.

Abrams, who is a criminal defense lawyer, described the process of investigating the history of the photo as akin to “taking on the biggest case you could ever imagine.” And while he’s thrilled that his epic flea market find could produce a major monetary windfall, don’t expect to see the image hitting the auction block any time soon. 

"Other people, they want to speculate from here to kingdom come,” Abrams told The New York Times of how much the photo, which he has not yet had valuated, might be worth. “I don’t know what it’s worth. I love history. It’s a privilege to have something like this.”

[h/t: The New York Times]

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