My brother and I spent many hours on the couch watching TV in the basement like Beavis and Butthead. One day our mother came downstairs and told my brother and me that grandma was coming over with Uncle Jim. She said, "Don't look at Jim funny. You haven't seen him for a while and he's going to look older."
After a while the doorbell rang and they had arrived. There must have been a change of plans that we didn't know about. Instead of grandma coming over with Jim, she came over with Sabine (some Romanian guy she was dating or moving over here... and this guy was OLD!) When we went up there, you can imagine how horrified we were to see how old our uncle Jim had gotten to look. I didn't even recognize him. Our mom assumed we knew that wasn't Jim, but we were stupid kids. We didn't know.
After they left I said, "Mom, can't Uncle Jim hear anymore?" She said, "Of course he can hear! Why would you think he can't?" I said, "He wouldn't talk to me when he was here so I thought he couldn't hear me." The fact was that he didn't understand what I was saying. He did not understand English.
Needless to say my mother thought I was a total idiot. My brother pretended like he knew the whole time. I remember he said, "I like that guy. He just keeps quiet." But of course, Sabine couldn't understand a word of what was being said. I have a horrible time remembering faces, but I can still picture Sabine clear as day because of the traumatic circumstances.