(Description of the video: Various photographs of Helen Keller are interspersed with clips from television programmes showing her at a variety of events. The are interspersed with text telling the story of Helen Keller's rise to popularity and of her meeting with Peter Fagan when Annie Sullivan was away recuperating. Much of the rest of the story can be found in my earlier post and in the post that follows.)
A long while back I wrote a post about Helen Keller documenting the love story that is, oddly, still never told. Helen fell in love with a fellow named Peter Fagan - a love that she referred to throughout her life - a love which was denied to her by time, by circumstance and by greed. I will never think of Annie Sullivan in any way but as a person who abused her position and abused her trust. The story of Helen Keller's love tells of the attitudes that society held, and holds, towards sexuality and disability. And of the story of the abuse of a person's life and will by someone who profits by providing assistance.
In writing that post I asked, even the famed Penny Richards who writes often and well of disability history, if anyone had a picture of Peter Fagan. I wanted to see the man who could see Helen Keller. I wanted to have a sense of the man who walked with, talked with, and fell in love with Helen the woman - not Helen the commodity. Over time I gave up the search.
But I have the heart of a shopper. That means when I want something, I'll look until I find it. I might give up for a bit, but then I'll try again, and again, and again. I'm the same with something like this. Yesterday morning, up and on the computer early, while Joe slept, I began the search again. And I found this short YouTube clip. In it is a blurry photo of Peter Fagan. I was so pleased to see it and to see the story here.
That success sent me searching, I found the transcript of a film, The Real Helen Keller, about Helen's life (I think the YouTube clip was based on that film) where Ann Fagan Ginger is interviewed about her father's relationship with Helen and why he did not show up on the day that they were to meet. If you click on the link and want to go to that part of the script just hit 'Control F' and search the name 'Fagan' and it will take you right there. It reports, from one of Helen's relatives, that Annie Sullivan called the Keller's to inform them that she had seen the two kissing and that they must be separated.
Another site, Roaring Girl has stills from the film including this one:
(description of photo: Blurry image of Peter Fagan standing in a forest. He is wearing a loose fitting suit with a narrow tie and a white shirt. He holds his hands together making him look slightly nervous in getting his piture taken. His hair is parted on the left, it is dark. His features are hard to see but he looks fairly young.)
(Peter's daughter Ann Fagan Ginger is given as the source for the photograph.)
I was so pleased to see the short YouTube film and to subsequently find this photograph and evidence that Peter went on to marry and have children. I wonder what his life would have been, what her life would have been had love been enough to win the day. Though her heart was broken, I'm so glad to know that Helen's face had been touched lovingly and that she had been kissed - by someone who loved her.
I believe that Helen's story goes far beyond what we know in 'The Miracle Worker' ... we all know of the pump that pumps water, but we need to also know about the heart that pumps passion. I don't know who did this video, they use a pseudonym, but I thank them for it. I sat in the dark, hearing Joe breathing softly as he slept, knowing that there were those who would have, if they could have, denied me this. A more hateful crime I cannot imagine.