February 12th, 1951 -
Geriatric Nurse, Minister
Deloris Parker was born and raised in Kenney, Austin County, between Brenham and Belleville. She grew up among descendants of German immigrants, none of whom openly spoke German and most of whom no longer knew the language. It was not until she started working as a geriatric nurse during her teens that she was exposed to German as a language. The group of elderly patients she dealt with all were fluent speakers of a Texas German dialect. Within the 13 years Deloris worked with these patients she acquired the language and spoke more German at work than English at a certain time. However, towards the end of her years working at the nursing home, Deloris was the only Texas German speaker left - all her German-speaking patients had passed. When we met her in 2021, almost forty years had passed since she last used the language. And yet, she still understands and remembered some phrases that she used at work. Interestingly, Deloris is not the only member of her family that spoke German. Her uncle, a WWII veteran, returned from Germany knowing the language as well. Once Deloris knew some German, the two could pass secret messages during family gatherings...