Joan Whisnant: the girl who loved music (6 photos)

Category: Nostalgia, PEGI 0+
19 February 2024

In childhood, many began to attend music school at the same time as secondary school. The bulk of young musicians, for most of whom classes were a duty, even if they received a certificate, never returned to music. But this girl was different.

Nowadays, despite attempts to organize an accessible environment for people with disabilities, life is much more difficult for them compared to ordinary people. And in the 1920s, many considered people without arms to be completely disabled, whose fate was to forever remain a burden to their relatives.

Joan Whisnant (1923-1998) was born in Red Fork, Oklahoma. The girl was born without arms, but her parents saw their daughter's potential and taught her to do everything everyone else does... with her legs.

By age 4, the baby could hold a pencil between her toes, and by age 6, she could write legibly, eat with a knife and fork, drink from a cup, turn the pages of books, cut out paper dolls, wash dishes, and comb her hair. Which is surprising, since not all modern children with two hands have such skills.

Joan was enrolled in a public school, where she was given a special desk that allowed her to write with her feet.

Parents saw that, perhaps, the only reliable way to earn money for people with similar physical disabilities was to participate in the show. But they categorically refused to let their daughter go into show business. Whisnant's mother told reporters in 1930 that Joan was a completely normal child and not a curiosity. And they intend to educate her so that people don't treat her just as a medical phenomenon.

Despite her parents' wishes, Joan was drawn to show business. But not to become a freak. The girl began taking guitar lessons, and by the age of 12 she had reached such a level of skill that she regularly performed in concerts.

After graduating from high school, she enrolled as a correspondence student at the University of Oklahoma and received a degree in music. In 1941, the girl got married and gave birth to a daughter, who deftly changed her diapers, again with her feet.

The story of Joan, who lived a long, fulfilling life, proved that every person has enormous potential. And he will definitely open up with the support of his family, patience, effort and desire to work on himself.

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