A Fierce Kind of Love, a project of Visionary Voices
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University

Stories from
Selinsgrove Center and KenCrest Services


recorded at KenCrest Services April 2015
PHOTO of Barbara
photo by JJ Tiziou

Image Gallery - click a thumbnail to start

LIVES LIVED APART interview with Barbara recorded at KenCrest Services April 23, 2015

PHOTO of Barbara with her interviewer Becky
PICTURED ABOVE: Barbara and her interviewer Becky

Lisa: OK, it's starting.

Becky: It is starting.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: So today is Thursday, April 23rd and I am Becky Brander and I am here with Sally and Barbara and we are at KenCrest and I'm just learning a little bit about Barbara and I am really looking forward to just getting to know you more.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: So first... (whispering).

Sally: Should we stop and check and make sure we can hear?

Becky: Yes.

Sally: OK.

Becky: So we are back speaking with Barbara and so I am really understanding and learning a little bit about you. I am just hoping that by the time the day is over that I'll know a little more about you and your life. So I am curious about from where you lived when you were a child. Where did you grow up?

Barbara: In Philadelphia when I was really little.

Becky: And do you have siblings?

Barbara: I have brothers and sisters.

Becky: And are you close with them?

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: Do they live in Philadelphia?

Barbara: They live all over. One lives in Philadelphia, one lives in Wayne, one lives in Media.

Becky: Oh, you have several.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: So when you were growing up did you have any specific memories of good times?


Barbara: Yeah I had good times.

Becky: Tell me about that.

Barbara: I had good times at my mom and dads. I had cats when I was little. I love cats.

Becky: You love cats?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Cats are very cute. I like cats.

Barbara: Me too.

Becky: And you went to school?

Barbara: Yeah. I went to different schools and then eventually I went to Elwyn.

Becky: How long were you at Elwyn?

Barbara: Until I graduated.

Becky: When did you graduate?

Barbara: Elwyn.

Becky: When?

Barbara: June of 1977.

Becky: And what did you do after Elwyn?

Barbara: I went back to training to get a job.

Becky: Oh and what type of job did you get?

Barbara: I worked at McDonalds.

Becky: Have you always lived in the Philadelphia area?

Barbara: We moved to Thornwood. We moved to a lot of different places.

Becky: So did you like it at McDonalds?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Were you there for a while?

Barbara: Yeah. Then I got another job working at Pizza Hut.

Becky: What were you doing at those jobs?

Barbara: Did the dishwasher and bussed tables and stuff.

Becky: OK.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: Did you like that type of work?

Barbara: Yea.

Becky: How long have you been working at KenCrest?

Barbara: Three years going on four years. Yep.

Becky: So what is it about KenCrest that you like or not?

Barbara: I like it here.

Becky: You like it here?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Can you tell me why?

Barbara: The people are real nice, yeah.

Becky: Do you like the work that you do?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: And you don't... I'm going to... just to see if you can tell me more about your life and what you... what makes you happy? You work might not make you happy or feel good.

Barbara: Well I'm not happy there because I live with three guys and it's hard to live with three guys.

Becky: Tell me about where you live.

Barbara: Havertown.

Becky: So do you live in a community setting?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: And they're all guys?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: That must not be fun.

Barbara: No.

Becky: No. So in the community, is the house at KenCrest or is it just a private home?

Barbara: It's like an apartment.

Becky: Does anyone have a disability where you live?

Barbara: Yeah they're all in wheelchairs.

Becky: So how does that make you feel to be a little different than the others?

Barbara: I feel sorry for the other guys because they have to stay in the wheelchair. They can't get up and walk around.

Becky: Do they have jobs?

Barbara: They go to a day program.

Becky: How long have you been in Havertown?

Barbara: About three years. A year and a half now.

Becky: So you started working at KenCrest and it sounds like pretty close to when you moved to your current home, is that right?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Was that a lot at one time?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah. Wow. That does sound like it was a lot. So if you could live somewhere where you're happier, what would that look like?

Barbara: Live with some other people. That would be really great so I could walk around. This place I can't walk around. I can't walk to the stores or anything.

Becky: Yeah. Do you have your own... does your house have a van?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Own transportation.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Do people live with you and do you all move? Supervisors live with you or?

Barbara: The staff comes.

Becky: The staff?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: I understand. So when you were at Elwyn did you live at Elwyn?

Barbara: No.

Becky: Did you live at home?

Barbara: I lived at home.

Becky: Mm-hm. Did you like living at home?

Barbara: yeah.

Becky: Yeah but now you want to live independently.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah. In a better situation?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah. So let's go back to talking a little about your time here at KenCrest. Can you... I know this is probably hard to do but let's see how we can do because I know every day probably is different but what is a typical day for you from the time that you wake up until the end of your day? Can you tell me what that looks like?

Barbara: I get up and get ready to go to work. Get my meds, eat breakfast, and I come here.

Becky: How do you get here?

Barbara: A bus brings us here.

Becky: So a bus from your house?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: OK and then you get ready and have breakfast, come here, and then what happens?

Barbara: I come in here at nine o'clock.

Becky: At 9 o'clock?

Barbara: Yes.

Becky: So you're here from nine to...

Barbara: Three.

Becky: To three. Alright. Do you have friends here?

Barbara: A lot of nice friends.

Becky: Do you get together with them outside?

Barbara: No.

Becky: No but you see them here?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: And you work together and you eat, have lunch together?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: And then you go home.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: What does it look like when you go home? What do you...

Barbara: I usually go for a walk.

Becky: But not in the winter, right? It's cold.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: This was a cold winter.

Barbara: Yes it was.

Becky: Now it's beautiful, right?

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: So you go for a walk.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: And then you make your own dinner?

Barbara: No the staff makes it.

Becky: Do you get to choose what you have?>

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Just to go back the other housemates, do they work here too?

Barbara: Just one girl, her name is Naomi.

Becky: OK. I met Naomi. So Naomi and you live together?

Barbara: No she lives across the street from me.

Becky: Oh I see.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: So there are other community homes in your neighborhood.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: With staff.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: What do you like to watch in the evening?

Barbara: Watch TV. I buy tapes and everything.

Becky: What kind of tapes?

Barbara: I have an iPad too.

Becky: Oh wow, what do you do on your iPad?

Barbara: Type.

Becky: Yeah.

Barbara: Yeah, I got a computer too.

Becky: Yeah?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: You like to work on the computer?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah. So I heard, I think I can see by what you're wearing that you had a fun trip to Disney World.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: When was that?

Barbara: Last week.

Becky: Oh just last week?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Who did you go with?

Barbara: Special vacations.

Becky: Oh.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Can you tell me more about that?

Barbara: We went to space mountain at Disney World on Monday the 5th. It was really fun. Had lunch there and one of those trade pins. Got one of them.

Becky: Can you tell me about Special Vacations?

Barbara: You can call them up and they'll tell you about the trips they're going on. People are real nice there.

Becky: Did you go with any of your family or was it just you and the others participants?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Wow.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Have you gone anywhere with them?

Barbara: Last year I went to a Christmas show with them.

Becky: Where was that?

Barbara: In Lancaster.

Becky: Oh yeah.

Barbara: Then I went to go see Noah.

Becky: Noah. Yeah. That's interesting. That's really great that you like to travel and go places.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: Do you meet people on the trips that you stay in touch with or not?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Do you meet people that you become friends with on the trips?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah? OK. So I am wanting to just... do you have anything that you really want me to know to share with me? This project is about sharing the disability stories and I'm very happy to have met you.

Barbara: Me too.

Becky: To learn about you.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: I would love to, you know, know more. Are you comfortable talking about your childhood? Do you have anything that you want to share about it was growing up for you?

Barbara: I was really sick when I was a baby.

Becky: You were?

Barbara: Yeah, very sick.

Becky: Tell me more, if you want.

Barbara: They said I only weighed five pounds when I was born.

Becky: So that is how you became disabled?

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: You were born... were you born premature?

Barbara: Yeah. I was in an incubator.

Becky: So growing up... how was it growing up? Did you feel that you were a part of society and your family?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: So you're close your family, aren't you?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: I did hear that.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah and do you see them much today?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: So when you were young, you moved to different schools?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Were they special schools?

Barbara: They were like regular schools.

Becky: They were regular. So were you able to do regular academics when you were young?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: And when you were older, did you change schools or did you go to the same school?

Barbara: I changed schools.

Becky: Where did you go to school?

Barbara: I went to Ardmore Ave School. It was a school in Lansdale and then I went to Elwyn.

Becky: And you went to Elwyn until you were 21?

Barbara: Yeah.

Sally: Before you went to Elwyn did you go to the same schools as your sisters and brothers?

Barbara: No, they went to different schools.

Sally: So then in the morning when everyone was going off to school, they would go to one school and you would go to a different one?

Barbara: Yeah.

Sally: How did that make you feel?

Barbara: It made me feel funny.

Sally: Yeah, like what?

Barbara: I didn't do a lot at Elwyn. My mom teached me a little bit at home. I liked that when she teached me a little bit.

Sally: Did you wish you were going with your brothers and sisters to school?

Barbara: Yeah.

Sally: Yeah?

Becky: You did?

Barbara: Yeah.

Sally: Did they tell you about what they did at school?

Barbara: Yeah.

Sally: Yeah?

Barbara: They went to Catholic school.

Sally: Oh, they did?

Becky: Wow.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: That was Sally speaking.

Sally: Sorry.

Becky: No, no. I'm happy with extra. So your mom did teach you at home?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: She did. So you didn't go to the other schools and that made you feel not so good?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah. And have you had any of those feelings of being different since then in your adult life?

Barbara: I grew up real nice.

Becky: Yeah.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: So let me ask you something Barbara. So in the time of your employment you said you really like what you're doing.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: So how would you feel if you weren't able to come here anymore or if, you know, something were to change with your employment? How would you feel about that?

Barbara: Sad.

Becky: Yeah. So this is very comfortable place for you?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: I... can we stop?

Sally: Sure. Hit pause.

Becky: Tell us about what music you like.

Barbara: Hard rock. Boston.

Becky: I know Boston. So you like hard rock?

Barbara: Yeah, hard rock.

Becky: Uh-huh. So what else do you like to do for fun?

Barbara: Crafts.

Becky: Yeah?

Barbara: Like make crafts like I'm in girl scouts and we make crafts in girl scouts.

Becky: Oh, where's your girl scouts?

Barbara: At the (inaudible) in Province Ville. I used to live there a long time ago. Yeah I used to live with the nuns.

Becky: Oh really?

Barbara: Yeah in the nineties.

Becky: In the nineties?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Wow. So crafts and music. Do you ever go to the movies?

Barbara: Yeah sometimes.

Becky: Do you remember what your last movie was?

Barbara: That museum movie, I can't remember.

Becky: Yeah. I like movies too but I didn't see that one. Do you ever go to concerts?

Barbara: Not really.

Becky: Did I hear that you guys have office parties here that are really fun?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Yeah.

Barbara: Christmas parties. They have it at some restaurant.

Becky: Yeah we heard that the Christmas parties was a big hit. It was a big hit. You also go on trips here.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Where do you go when you go on trips?

Barbara: We go out to Alvin's sometimes. Go get glitter ice.

Becky: Yum.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: Fun.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: And do you go to different parks? Where did we hear that you went? We were talking about. I can't remember what but going out is fun, right?

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: You get a little break from work. We like taking breaks from work when you're working.

Barbara: Taking breaks like at two o'clock they get snack or soda at two o'clock.

Becky: Can you say that again?

Barbara: Get a snack or a soda at two o'clock.

Becky: A snack, uh-huh. At two o'clock before you go home.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: I am so glad.

Barbara: Before I came here today they took some people swimming and came here before they changed it to paper. It was (inaudible) That's when I came.

Becky: Oh.

Barbara: They came before they changed the name. I was here (inaudible).

Becky: I see. So they would take you swimming?

Barbara: Yeah. They used to take us swimming.

Becky: Wow.

Barbara: They don't do that anymore.

Becky: They don't do that anymore.

Barbara: No.

Becky: That's unfortunate, right?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Wow. Very fun. I like swimming too.

Barbara: Yeah and they have fun day like in August. We have fun day. We don't work. We have fun day and do shirts.

Becky: Oh.

Barbara: Yah have a lot of fun.

Becky: So that's in August?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: And that's here?

Barbara: Yeah, here. They usually have it out front.

Becky: That's fun.

Barbara: Yeah and have dances outside.

Becky: Outside?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Fun.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: What else?

Barbara: They did tie dye shirts last year. I still have my shirt.

Becky: Do you? Did you make it yourself?

Barbara: They had to do it because they didn't want our hands to have dye all over it.

Becky: Yeah. So they were already... someone made them.

Barbara: Yeah, they did it.

Becky: They did it?

Barbara: Yeah. Last year I fell.

Becky: Oh no.

Barbara: I fell real hard. I tripped on a tree in the backyard. I hurt my hip.

Becky: But you're OK now?

Barbara: It still hurts a little bit on my hip.

Becky: Your hip?

Barbara: Still hurts a little bit.

Becky: That's not good.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: You're alright?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: That's good.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: So I loved talking with you.

Barbara: Me too.

Becky: I think we are done unless you have anything else you want to share with me? It's been very nice talking with you and learning about you.

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Any final thoughts or feelings? NO pressure.

Barbara: My birthday is coming up next month. I'll be 59.

Becky: My birthday is May 9th.

Barbara: Wow.

Becky: That may not need to be in there.

Sally: No, it's fine.

Becky: Happy early birthday.

Barbara: My sister is the day after my birthday, May 6th. My little sister.

Sally: How are you going to celebrate your birthday?

Barbara: Have a party. I didn't tell you. I'm going to a wedding and I'm driving. My niece is getting married. She's getting married in New York.

Becky: In New York.

Barbara: Yeah. Go to the wedding.

Becky: Where are you in the line of your siblings? Like are you the oldest or the youngest or in the middle?

Barbara: Second oldest.

Becky: You're the second oldest.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: And you're going to a wedding in New York. That's very exciting.

Barbara: Yep.

Becky: And we have birthdays coming up. Happy Birthday.

Barbara: Happy Birthday.

Becky: Thank you. Anything else? I loved learning more.

Barbara: I think I'm done.

Becky: Yeah?

Barbara: Yeah.

Becky: Well thank you very, very much for talking with me and we are finished.

Barbara: Yep. Good.


Photos by JJ Tiziou

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