GRAPHIC: Visionary Voices logo
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
Interviews    Archives    Performance    ABOUT    DONATE       

interviews

Tom Delmastro chapter 4




chapters

Chapter 1: Tom's Childhood
Chapter 2: Tom's Experience at Pennhurst; Buildings, Residents, Staff
Chapter 3: Mistreatment at Pennhurst
Chapter 4: Working at Pennhurst (you are here)
Chapter 5: Conditions at Pennhurst Exposed in the Media, Talk of Closure
Chapter 6: Tom Moves to the Community, Faces Challenges, Moves Temporarily to Allentown State Hospital
Chapter 7: Tom Returns to Community, Finds Employment, Becomes Active Volunteer, Presents on Pennhurst at Meetings and Conferences
Chapter 8: Tom Reflects on Life

transcript - entire interview

Tom Delmastro Interview (Word)


transcript - current chapter

Chapter 4: Working at Pennhurst

20:49:35:16 - 20:50:25:01

Lisa: So you were talking about some of the jobs you did at Pennhurst and you did a lot of them. When were you given your first job? Do you remember?

Tom: The first job I had was in a crib ward like changing other residents then I moved up and I did all the crib wards then I did maintenance then I did recreation then I did running around the offices like a mail carrier; giving this, giving that. Like if somebody says if I give you mail, then that way it will be in your office or Paul's office.

20:50:27:18 - 20:50:43:15

Lisa: What other kind of work did you do there?

Tom: Then I did housekeeping like mopping floors and stuff like that.

20:50:43:23 - 20:50:46:25

Lisa: Did you ever help the medical staff with their work?

Tom: Yeah.

20:50:47:12 - 20:51:28:14

Lisa: How did you help them?

Tom: Like, if I go on the ? and I carried the [North] key or the R13 key for the fire box and I would get on it and say, "There's a fire in D building; D4 there's a fire." And they would come out and bring the trucks from Spring City, Pottstown, Limerick, Royersford and their trucks would come out and go to that fire setup.

20:51:30:04 - 20:51:46:05

Lisa: And did you help with any of the residents? Help them with their medication?

Tom: Yes, and I helped them get out of the building when there was a fire and stuff like that.

20:51:46:26 - 20:52:10:02

Lisa: Can you tell me about how you helped patients, I'm sorry, residents with medications?

Tom: If the nurse had it on the tray and they tell me the name I would go with the nurse to give it out to make sure that they get the right dosage, the right time, the right med and stuff like that and they would write it down.

20:52:11:20 - 20:52:14:11

Lisa: So that was a lot of responsibility.

Tom: Yeah.

20:52:15:25 - 20:53:06:03

Lisa: Were you paid for your work at Pennhurst?

Tom: No. The only time I got paid if I was working in the workshop at Pennhurst. Then when I got out I started in OVR. Then I went to Course Training Center. I graduated Course Training Center. Then I went to Bernie's workshop. Then after Bernie's workshop I went and a few years down I went to the Morning Call. I delivered papers. Then a few years - I didn't have a job for eight years. Then I'm now working with the Eastern Express.

20:53:07:04 - 20:53:12:12

Lisa: When you worked at the workshop at Pennhurst were you well paid for the work you did?

Tom: Yeah.

20:53:14:16 - 20:53:20:20

Lisa: Can you tell me how much you would be paid for your work?

Tom: I should have brought a number. I forgot.

20:53:22:15 - 20:53:40:12

Lisa: No worries. Tom, all the time that you were in Pennhurst growing up there, working there, were you ever able to see your family?

Tom: No.

Lisa: Did you miss not seeing a family?

Tom: I don't think so because I never saw them.

20:53:42:04 - 20:53:50:06

Lisa: Did you ever try to contact them?

Tom: No. I tried to but no one knows where they're at and I don't know where they're at.

20:53:51:05 - 20:53:58:14

Lisa: Were their times when that made you feel particularly lonely at Pennhurst?

Tom: A little but I got over it.


Share this page:
Follow us:
GRAPHIC: visit our blog    GRAPHIC: Like us on Facebook.      GRAPHIC: Follow us on Twitter.