"Tha Martha's Vineyard experience suggests strongly that the concept of a handicap is an arbitrary social category."(p.108)
The Martha's Vineyard is the island located in southearstern Massachusetts. There the propotion of population was not the average one. More people were deaf than usually expected.
"deaf Vineyarders were included in all of the community's work and play situations."(p.50)
Unlike outside the island the deaf people was not excluded from the community. The hearings communicated with the deaf in sign language. They didn't think that kind of situation was extraordinary. For them it was a usual thing.
"Almost all informants believed that every small town in New England probably had a similar number of deaf people and adapted to them in much the same way."(p.51)
As the author of this book says, the perspectives in which the handicapped or the disabled are anomalies of society as usual are not natural.
"There was no language barrier and, by extension, there seems to have been no social barrier."(p.75)
I think to myself what king of time passed in the island. A large number of 'conversations' must have been exchanged in sign language. Was the atmosphere calm and silent there?
The title, Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language uses the past tense.
Sometimes we talk about the disappearance of language.The less the number of deaf people gets, the less necessities of sign language become. The past tense implicitly tells the sign language Vineyarders used is doomed to extinciton.
And an informant said to the author,"the Island was an awfully nice place to live."(p.110) As a response to this remark she thought to herself like this. "Indeed it was."(p.110)