Keith Hinton and Diane Raab

Recorded January 17, 2009 Archived January 17, 2009 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBY004955


Keith Hinton (21) is interviewed by his teacher Diane Raab (44). Keith shares the memories of his school days and the challenges and joys of growing up blind. He also discusses the trails and tribulations of his first love.

Subject Log / Time Code

- Screaming out “I hate 1st grade friends” in school as a young boy.
- Going to a girlfriend’s prom. Fell asleep on her at the dance. Dad dropped the couple off and Keith proceeded to argue with his twin brother for the entire ride.
- The effects of blindness on his education
- The moments when Keith realized he was blind and other’s were not.
- Diane’s thoughts of Keith as a leader.


  • Keith Hinton
  • Diane Raab

Partnership Type



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00:03 My name is Diane Rob. I'm 44 years old. Today's date is January 17th 2009. I'm in Tucson Arizona downtown and my relationship to my partner is that I am his teacher at the Arizona school for the deaf and blind years old and I'm the date is January.

00:32 What's the difference date night and I and the Airstream trailer for storycorps?

00:49 Hi Keith. Well because I'm your teacher. I'm interested in asking you some questions about your education and I want to start with what are some of your best memories of grade school middle school and high school well back when I was in kindergarten and Pre-K and garden that kind of thing. I

01:10 Had a lot of memories as far as I remember trying to learn Braille and that was taking me forever to learn how to interpret Braille and I started out really slow learning labc and all that and I remember some of the computer classes I had back then they had a visual aid had to be sitting next to me all the time clicking with a mouse and it was not any fun. It was just boring and

01:44 I remember past the kindergarten years eventually. I remember that I was

01:53 I had a lot of fun during recesses, you know, I enjoyed having resale sound.

01:59 And I remember I'll see you the first of the first grader. I remember we had a little thing called first grade friends. We would always a get together in a little room that was in the middle of my school. We always get into a little thing. We didn't know we would make arts and crafts and stuff and I remember one day shouting I hate I don't know. I must have thrown a temper tantrum and I got a warning card for it and got in trouble.

02:31 And I also remember having a different back in my third grade. I remember I would listen to history different things about Egyptian pharaohs on tape and stuff like that. And then when I 5th grade came up, I am no longer would have in 01 when that when I came out by I remember.

02:54 I think I'm going to be going into middle school year and just wondering what that was like and went through a little camper right where we were hanging out.

03:06 We we we we we make s'mores on a campfire and that was pretty cool.

03:11 So making s'mores was the best thing I remember about the fifth grade.

03:20 And then just remodel school and all that. I remember starting in middle school. I started I joined at the Granite Mountain Middle School and I joined the band there and play the trumpet for a while. I had a someone sitting in bed with me helping me to you know, the notation for the music and listen to and follow along with the band. It was okay for a couple of weeks for a while. I joined in my sixth grade year and Midway through my 7th.

04:04 Grade year, but I eventually in the middle of the Year. I quit. I dropped it on the van and I told my teacher as much as I wanted to know as much as I like the band I didn't want to put up with it because that we were going to become a marching band. And the last thing I wanted to do was trying to hold a trumpet marching up marching around couldn't use my cane and it just wasn't worth it. And then I went into a career as a choir class and I had the same teeth the same teacher who was at my Elementary School up in Prescott, Arizona Elementary School. She came up and taught us through my seventh grade year and choir was great and I continued that through my 8th grade year.

04:49 So and I remember missing my middle school graduation because I forgot to I forgot to show up.

05:00 So

05:04 Wow.

05:08 What was one of your best memories of of high school?

05:12 Probably my first my best memory of high school was pretty when I became a freshman and I was 15 years old at the time. I remember and it was back in enough. This would have been the 2002/2003 school year and I think one of my best memories was the day that I first found a girlfriend.

05:38 And that was a pretty interesting that day. I my vision teacher and a couple of my own M teacher my orientation of structure. She had they had meetings up in Flagstaff because they were part of what they call the co-op and so they would have to go to meetings and when that would happen they would ask me to go to you know, go to the library or or do something constructive and I was wondering around the halls during third. And my my

06:14 My advisor in high school and in my supervisor in is as far as my credits were concerned saw me wandering around and he got a little concerned about me wandering around in the halls and I didn't know really wanted to go to the library or not and I didn't know what to do. So he invited me into the secretary's office. And that was where I end up making friends with this girl and she she said hello and I was like, I was kind of I didn't know what to say. I was stuttering and what I'm doing here and I was really didn't know how to start my conversation because I never had anyone just say hello out of the blue and

07:00 And when she was delivering a papers to teachers and running little errands and so we went side a guy together and delivered a few different things to the teachers. I had nothing better to do with my time anyway, and

07:12 And then from there it became and all phone numbers got exchanged.

07:19 But the second the second day was the most embarrassing memories I have of that ear. Well, okay. So this is really embarrassing but for me because what happened was we were too embarrassing moments. The first was I had barely know this girl day. Okay, and you know that most people for me some relationship but was not with any person the best thing to do is you should get to hang out with him. I know that you should spend several months together may be experiencing stuff with them and actually hanging out around them before you go and tell them you love them very much and I

08:04 Got a little carried away. And I said that I was escorting me over to the cafeteria for lunch in Des was going to head out to her class and I turned around it and her name was on I turned around and shouted I turn around I'm shouting. I love you and I was like that and I and I had a written a little journal entry and I remember going to my first. Learning Center class and while I was putting out assignments for teachers. I was sneaking into my backpack so that nobody will notice and I was getting away with slipping putting all that, you know, something print notes out of a essentially out of their class, and I'd give them to her at any opportunity time I found

09:04 So I just go to this journal thing and I felt really embarrassed about what I said and I screwed it up right after lunch was over she had come and we went siding guy down the hall much to the displeasure of my Mobility instructor. In fact, there was a time about what I used to go. So I got so much back my bills school day where she decided I would need to visit a trip to in school suspension, but that's another story for another time and I ended up we got to my health class and right in there was a little alcove. I'm sure you know what those look like for the walls kind of go in and there was a little Post in the middle of it was you could slam into and off to the left and right. I'm kind of in the middle of the space of classrooms and my my health class was kind of on the left and right in front of my class breaking the PDA rules to no public display of affection rules.

10:01 Trying to give her this kiss. I kind of blue water and it was blush. I didn't I will call in the order a dog and a we are

10:27 Every single time, you know for a while and things went by pretty smoothly up until I had a camp coming up in April of 2003. It was it was like from April 4th, April 11th, April 12th through the 16th and in which okay the date that on April 11th. She had called me up and asked if we if I wanted to actually if I wanted to go out with her and if I wanted to make that official and I hung out with her for a while, I'd had a chance to actually go to a fashion show of all things. And since I'm totally blind, you know fashion doesn't have much interest for me, but I've decided to go get all the house and I was bored and I had nothing to do. I just you know when anything to get me out of the house here, so I went to the fashion show and

11:23 And that was interesting because as she had said that I was she asked me if I was bored at one point and I hadn't said anything to make her think that you know, I said nothing. I was just sitting and listening to this performance of a people waiting at least Civil War letters and stuffing and re-enacting certain things and I ended up like yeah, I'm bored. How did you know that Enda and she's like, oh, I just know and I'm and I'm guessing it might have been a little bit of visual expression since I don't know why I don't know what body language I was a showing at the time and but she was a really intent of listener and she eventually got to know me so well that I couldn't hide anything from her I couldn't lie or anyting and if even if I wanted to show you knew I was about to lie before I could then it never would come out and

12:19 So about this time we've known each other for I say this was many months and when April came around we were on the phone when you know, and I'm like, okay sure. I'll go out with you and stuff and left and right after that. I took off for my camp and a little bit of a problem came up there because one of my other friends from the school came with came to the camp to when I didn't know she was there and she despised me hanging out with another girl and she was determined to set me up and get me in trouble with her later. And so when I ran into an old friend that I hadn't seen since elementary school, I was overjoyed, you know, and I gave her a little hug n and that's all it was. You know, she gave me a little friendly kiss on the cheek. She was so surprised to see me. It was cool that we were just talking, you know, you know, there was nothing between us or anyting but my little friend my little friend though took it to proportion and

13:17 When I got back to school for four days later, she well first I got to ask my girlfriend if I had to cheated on her hair done anything, you know, if I donate dating or anything else and I said no I didn't cheat on you or anything and that was the truth. But then the road. Came up and I guess while I was gone as my little friend read it on me. She goes and spends a clever story saying all Keith ran into this girl kissed her and she wasn't making out and cheating on you and stuff and all she exploded at me. I was going down the hall and and I had her you out my full name, which most people don't but go battling Keith Richard and you know it and I was I could tell I was in trouble even before like I could tell something was bad was about to happen and sure enough she comes storming down the hall Bella. I got me, why'd you lie to me?

14:17 You cheat on me. I'm not going to be going out with you. Just forget you until I was like no I wasn't trying to get so upset that I pushed my way through a bunch of a high-school students. I just shoved through them. Like they were bowling pins. I didn't slow down. I just slammed them tripping people right and live with my cane and I didn't care what I was doing enough. I got to grab roughly by the arm by my vision teacher and she hisses in my ears stop pushing people or you'll go to the principal's office and I was like, oh my God, and that was a terrible day and I for my Camp Bible that was terrible into it. We she gave me another chance. I don't know how that happened but things went okay, you know, I got to go to my first prom ever that you're not one of your favorite memories. Was going to her prom I was invited she was

15:17 I'm 17 year old senior senior and I was still a 15 year old freshman. I don't know how that happened and it was fun. Of course that night I had forgotten to shave so I got to shave and I ended up for the Last Dance. I dropped off to sleep on Android doze off and we had this dinner out until we know what the whole nine yards going out to avoid fancy restaurant for dinner and I was wearing a tuxedo. I had the corsage for her and all that other stuff and and it was all very cool up until the moment. I have. Then I ruin the then my dad came to pick us up and I ruined the trip for her by arguing with my twin brother all the way back to her place. We should my dad dropped her off and we went inside for a few minutes and I end and you know, I couldn't believe I done that either and I felt like a like a like a like a fool for arguing with my brother in.

16:17 You know, what sucks that happens with people and so I guess after that though It Don't Spray the high school years, but I think the worst thing that happened was after my freshman year have been over with it was right and it was in the interim time. It was kind of even though it was right before my sophomore year started it and I my sophomore year just started, you know, and I was by this time my girlfriend had gone down to Phoenix, Arizona. She'd already graduated from school and I knew there was going to be a complication with us being together because she was going to go to a trade school and she originally she wanted to be an x-ray technician and but she couldn't do that. So she was going into medical school and we talked a little bit but I had to use a phone card because I couldn't make a phone calls out. And if anybody and I had to I didn't remember the pin number on the back of my card I had never

17:17 Figured out a system for remember, I forgetting the information off my card and I can never memorize it. So I didn't call her very often. It was normally her that was calling me and I think the worst moment was.

17:32 When I it was in July and it was on the 11th of that month and I had a we were talking in my voice to a couple sales Dallas. I was starting to wonder whether she really cared for me or not. And I avoid a few things that maybe I shouldn't have which ended up messing up our relationship and it didn't mess it up immediately. But she seems I can only think that I heard her she didn't she didn't sound like she was hurt but about a month later when school started I come home and it was a Monday I think and it was August 11th of 03 and I just come home from school. I got a phone call and the very first question. She asked was how long have we been going on for and I was like a 504 and I can distinctly remember it as if it was yesterday or saying, oh my God and there a long. Of Silence followed by followed by a tirade of

18:33 All this stuff about me being controlling and she felt like she was protecting me from a bully and that she wasn't going to wear the pants in the relationship and she wasn't going to be the one he was going to wait around for me to call and in the end of at the end of every thing that she yelled at me. She had asked if I wanted to take a break and I didn't know what she meant. So I'm okay and then she had said that you know, you're going to regret everything you've ever said to me. It's going to come back and get you and you're going to dream about it and think about it and I thought you was telling me a lie, but I found out a few months later that she wasn't and she didn't call me back. Eventually. I tried to call her back and it and she told me we're over. That's it. And I was so hurt that day. I remember slamming the door in my mom's face for it when she told me to come out for dinner that first love, huh?

19:33 I always wondered what it would be like if it still could have worked.

19:38 Well, that's that's a lot of fun memories, huh about going to school and your twin brother and yourself going to school together. What what effect do you feel that you've been blind had on your education? Well, okay you mind if I get a little background here, so you guys can understand how this works. Well the public school systems are not they aren't like they're they're not special schools for people their regular schools. Everybody goes to them and but but they don't typically have blind people going and I only had one other entire blind friend in the whole school that went to that's cool. But he ain't like me had had a lot of experience said he had a lot of traveling

20:38 Play Daddy had a lot of Independence under his belt at the age. She was he was always to Gray's or so above me and he always we were close friends from the very first time we were little babies pretty much and I remember as a little baby trying to sit on top of him because I wasn't checking where I was going on and it was interesting but we Paul and we were really close friends, but you know, but we had to have Vision teachers and we had to have AIDS helping us and math and stuff. They just weren't prepared to even though we had Brown math books and stuff. They they didn't know how to they would have known how to handle a blind student.

21:21 Even though I my friend Papa got there for ages and and and I think being blind it had a very challenging impact. I was getting Mobility maybe once or twice a week Mondays and Wednesdays and they were very very short lessons. They were several hours at a time and I remembered trying to walk down my a dirt Hill Road and but that was always changing and it was never consistent and I was always forgetting stuff and it never was easy to get in there was a really mean dogs barking at me all the time and they scared me to death and I always thought I was going to get chopped up by a dog and I never liked walking down the road without somebody and I remember being blind it was I was struggling with classes particularly a math class at dealing with grass in a math book and when you start

22:20 Looking at three dimensional thinking some more often than not you're looking at the first two dimensions of a of a maybe of something and then in the Middle with her student should be a third line or something. There's only a blank spot on the paper. So there's no concept of other dimension and you can't and they weren't willing to act tell me what all the grass Mountain so I struggled with classes and started going behind.

22:48 And it got to the point that I was getting.

22:53 I'd failed my first semester freshman English and I had that was terrible and I also found my first semester of Health as a freshman. Then I had never made them up. And now here I was a junior and I was I was the only Junior in a sea of freshman's taking forever my first freshman English course again, and I felt simply terrible. I felt embarrassed. I felt like I was a nobody I was I felt like at that point I felt so not I felt like I didn't belong anywhere in my friend ball is about to graduate in here. I was knowing he was gone and I'm sitting here in class and I felt like the world was just falling down and I wasn't going to graduate I was going to be held back senior because I had never taken electives. I had never participated in all the sciences and they didn't care that I wouldn't mind that they were requirements for a clear you got to take so much science food science and all this other stuff all these different kinds of math classes. And so

23:53 And you must take at least one or two electives plus whatever and it got to the point where I had an IV in my parent my my dad came and they told me I was doing and he was not happy to know I had enough and a class and I already had enough for my junior class cuz I failed her in a research paper. I didn't care about my research agenda in the end. I chose not to turn into the paper Renda and I end up and he was mad because I wasn't going to graduate in they were talking about maybe online classes, but they had no summer classes and I remember going home that day and having to being grounded and having to listen to my health book on tape, which was boring. I couldn't get on the computer. I couldn't go online or do anyting and if a nice toys I decided to Reno sneak behind his back and get on the computer anyway, and I would quickly turn the computer off when phone calls would come in and my brothers.

24:53 Ask me if I was off the computer and I would quickly turn it off and say yes. I'm off the computer and I quickly said I might head for telling you that I don't listen to me tell you the whole time and I got away with it for a while. But then one day he came in and found me on the computer and turn on the Monitor and one of my friends was typing to me on the computer through a messenger program. And I had said that I was doing homework. He told me not to touch the keys and I wouldn't touch the key which turn the computer off and by that time I had totally not was my whole book. You know, I wasn't really listening to it. I kind of listened to it kind of didn't and I was not very well known for turning in homework throughout my high school years and

25:40 Martinez and then at the end of the year ride lunch my world geography class and I didn't care about that either and by that time by that time of the year, I have been forced to take note on a laptop because they didn't trust me with technology. My school did not trust me with taking using no takers. So they took all my technology away and had me use a regular typical computer laptop to take notes where the teacher could see whether or not I was doing his or her assignments and I had to have the screen pointing at the heater all the time and I couldn't had to sit up in the front where I can be monitored by my teachers every day and they would send reports back to my vision team. And so by the time I get Junior your ended that you're I wasn't going to graduate and night didn't know what to do if my blind friend Paul was gone off in the world to become a blind defense lawyer. And here I was

26:37 You know, I would no friends. I didn't have many friends. I had a few not very many none close to me and they didn't really care one way or the other if I was going to graduate or not. Things are looking pretty Grim at that point.

26:53 When did you first realize or know that you were blind and that other people weren't?

27:00 That is hard to say.

27:04 I think I started realizing it.

27:09 Probably probably back in when I was about maybe it took me awhile to know that you know, it took me years to figure that out at maybe we'll maybe I was 7 or 8 or maybe even 9 when I started realizing that slowly that I had a disability that people didn't and that a lot of people were getting things done twice as fast as I was I was I couldn't help but notice how people were doing so many different things people work selling in classes and simply flying Leaps and Bounds ahead of me and I couldn't help but feel like I was

27:46 I'm like, I like I didn't really fit in anywhere and from and I started, you know, I was hearing people whispering about me. Look at this kid with a cane and did it or not and I had friends that I would call me names just like anybody else and you know, I was made fun of for my blindness and told that my that I couldn't do certain things and I was told that I suck at doing stuff in that I ate that all that in that I had friends that told me. Oh, we are Lowe's better than you and we can do all kinds of things better than you can and I remember getting into more than one argument with several people will end up and making quite a number of enemies, especially my middle school years, and I remember distinctly ending up having a bully in the school that followed me through my high school years, and I remember one year. I tried to throw a rock at him, but it didn't work.

28:46 And up I think the only you and us and I remember as far as being blind and end up getting in my and figuring out what I was doing. I remember the only time I was ever a time I was ever able to practice self-defense and use it effectively was or that's what I released. I thought it was effective was back in my third grade year when somebody came up to me and started telling me I want to play with you and I didn't want to play with this person. I wanted to play with this other girl on the playground and I didn't want to play with a really annoying little kid who followed me around and I decided to get all the big and tough about it and a night I could hear were the kid was fine. I was standing right next to a pole. I knew where the kid was and I knew where I was so I simply made a fist and shot it out as hard as I could and I I don't know how I ain't it the way I did but a lot of people have told me in the later years that up some of the kids that Witnesses saw the kid grabbing his nose and apparently he ran off with a bloody nose that bellowing

29:46 You gave me a phony knows I gave me a bloody nose. And and then I got so scared that I tried to run without using my cane and I slammed into a pole and my bottom looks through and the process which wasn't very fun. And I never tried to defend myself since then but it seems like now I've underestimated cited no sense. I saw him underestimated people with vision. And. And I found that out the hard way one of your when I tried to punch my older brother because he was driving me up the wall telling me to come out while I was on the phone to somebody and I didn't want to come out and my bedroom and I told him hold on a minute and he wasn't going to give me that time and I tried to punch him into I got punched faster than you would believe. Wait a minute. Yeah. I'm no good here. I better not do that other people were going to let you know.

30:46 My next question for you case for almost finished up here is to think about the future and right now you are student asdb Line Print being in classrooms with everybody who's either blind or visually impaired. And also how do you feel about leaving asdb and making your own way out in the world? Well, I certainly want to work and have a job like everybody else does and I feel you know, I'm a little nervous because I've only got four months left to give or take a short time and I may not be around come June. I might believe a really am I never am around during the last days of school with seems like I'm always at leaving a bit early and so we'll see and I don't know if you know, it's a little nerve-wracking. I'm a little afraid to step out of my comfort zone where my family is and yet I realized

31:43 You know, I can't stay at home and not do anything. It's been a long different now, you know, it's a fun being in the school where there's a lot of blind people around me and there's lots of kids with the similar disabilities to mine and they're all struggling through different things of but it's nice to know that I'm not the only person that out there struggling with these different decisions and

32:07 You know being it being in the dorm is not so funny anymore. When I came three years ago back in 05 is back in the August of 05. I thought it was great. Now I'm not liking it. I'm bored. I'm tired of it and I like to really on the one hand. I don't want to leave but on the other hand, I want to get out of that dorm setting up by 1 and 1/2 that I want to leave and I can't wait for the day that I turn around and leave the dorm for the last time and never have to set foot in that place again. It would be nice to get out in the real world and work and compete with side of people for the chance to have a job just like anybody else out there and try to prove myself that I can do just as well as a side for a man. So what is that thing you're most proud of I would say the most you know that I probably that I have, as far as I have I'm definitely happy that in May of 06. I graduated as a senior and

33:06 And I'm doing some optional post-grads post-secondary education. That's that what that has never been a requirement. It's been optional all these years and I could get my diploma today and walk out if I really want to do but you know, I decided to stick it out and I just hope these next four months fly by and I really want you to just you know, come to us smooth ending and I just can't wait for that transition. Can you tell me a little bit about your music on your piano playing what instrument you finally exiled him and I was about five or six years old having little piano lessons at his music store. And I remember unless it's getting me sick too expensive for my parents to keep taking me and they finally couldn't afford to pay the cost and they had to cancel them all and I remember teaching myself at home for years out of play. I had tried the guitar more than once. I tried it once with my

34:06 Music teacher. I think his name may have been Clyde something earlier back in my younger years, but I think you know when I tried guitar recently about two years ago with a with a John Core in our Music Teacher here at the school, but I gave up on that and hurt my hands my hands never conform to the guitar, right? I could never get this rings to work and I finally thought okay. I'm just going to play the piano and that's really what I'm best at.

34:36 I do sing and I can play the piano by ear. I don't read music in Braille. I don't know that I ever will I have always been an auditory learner. That is my strongest area. I don't know that I ever will read me the Cambria El I don't think I'm going to I think I've always been back to playing by myself and playing even though I play with the band for accompaniment. I honestly have preferred playing by myself and being solo and that's really I think I might pursue that at some point as a Leisure activity. I like it.

35:11 You're very good at it. You know that don't you people have told me this and they tell me how amazing they are when they see me playing them and in front of people and it's quite a compliment to know that and it's like playing for people to listen, but I don't want to be famous and get out there and make a record label and get all crazy about that. I might I might do some gigs here and there but but you know, I like to play for the pleasure of playing. I don't want to get better want to make money out of it even want to take your passion in your love and turn it into a job. I don't think so. I've already not much money is achieved you don't make as much money as you you know for that I you know, I don't know if I'll ever start that I also have a great Passion with computers in the sand and assistive technology now, I might want to take that and do something with it, but I don't know about the musical side yet. It's too early to know it's the future has its way related to early to know whether who where I'm going to end.

36:11 What's that that makes sense to take an opportunity to tell you how I see you as your teacher and I I see was a leader and a mentor among your peers and you know, they definitely look to you for that technical information that you're very good at especially with the Braille notes. There's ever a problem or they need to know the commands. You always seem to know them and be able to help everybody problem-solve. That's great technology and I just want to let you know how much I appreciate all of your contributions to our classes and discussions. Like I said, you're in continuing education where we're really talking about some real important life things and and I feel like you really pay attention to what's going on in the world and that you share that knowledge with other people well, and I'm I've got one question for you. Have you ever considered becoming a teacher?

36:56 I thought about it. I've tried being a music teacher. I've tried going through the process. I've been teaching some students here in there, but I'm not getting super far with them. It's it's it's nothing it's going really slow and it's a lot. It's very frustrating having to explain myself and having to see what feel what someone else is trying to do and and it's and it's hard having the patience to us. I'm going slower person who is distracted and may not go as quickly as I would like them to be going and I don't know that I want to do that for my whole life and I probably won't it's I'm just trying it but I don't I'm just volunteering my time. I'm not being paid for it right now, and I don't think I really want to be

37:41 That makes sense. Then. I just think it's a good to try but I don't think it's going to be anything going on.

37:49 Why don't have a lot of decisions to make in your life and and that's going to be part of it. So it raining there and hopefully maybe moving to Phoenix. Time and trying to get a job there and it would be nice. I got lots of different family around their laws are cousins. I haven't seen for years and I would like to get back into the flow saying those cousins more often and having more freedom to move around with buses and a light rails, which Prescott does not have Tucson does not have a light rail and I have never been very I've never been to Tucson have never really enjoyed it here in Tucson time. Do you know I like I want to go here because I'm at the school so you can go anywhere and do anything with your future, right? All right. All right. It's been my pleasure being interviewed.