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Karen Hayes chapter 2


Chapter 1: Early Life
Chapter 2: Education/Living at St. Mary's School (you are here)
Chapter 3: Living at Camphill at Kimberton, Early Self-Advocacy
Chapter 4: Self-Advocates Address Safety Issues, Institutions
Chapter 5: Living in the Community
Chapter 6: Work with the Arc of Chester County, Advocating to End the Use of the 'R' Word
Chapter 7: Waiting List
Chapter 8: Reflections on Life, Work

transcript - entire interview

Karen Hayes Interview (Word)

transcript - current chapter

Chapter 2: Education/Living at St. Mary's School

17:18:37:15 - 17:19:03:25

Lisa: Did any of the professionals say to your parents that you should be sent to live someplace else?

Karen: They told me I should live in an institution. They told me I should be in like St. Mary's or someplace like that, that I was such a slow learner.

Lisa: What is St. Mary's?

Karen: It's a Catholic school but I didn't like it. I hated it.

17:19:28:10 - 17:20:15:09

Lisa: You were saying that your parents tried to get some support for you by talking to some psychiatrists and I'm wondering what those doctors said to your parents about...

Karen: I don't remember. I probably left the room. They took me out of there. I don't remember. I was too young.

Lisa: But did they suggest to your parents that you should be sent elsewhere to live?

Karen: They thought maybe like Pennhurst because I was in the waiting list Pennhurst. I was in the waiting list to go to Pennhurst. I was on the waiting list to go to Pennhurst but I didn't get there.

17:20:16:10 - 17:20:48:02

Lisa: Where did you go?

Karen: St. Mary's instead.

Lisa: And tell me a little bit about the kind of place St. Mary's was.

Karen: St. Mary's was actually run by nuns. They used be nasty to you. They weren't very nice to you.

Lisa: Do you remember the day your parents took you to St. Mary's?

Karen: Maybe. I think it was in 62.

17:20:49:00 - 17:21:23:11

Lisa: Do you remember how you felt the day they took you to St. Mary's?

Karen: Disappointed. I didn't really want to go so I thought it was probably for my own good. They said they went last year for a couple weeks but other than that she didn't like that idea. I'm going to let you go home the first week you got there because a lot of kids go home. They went home on weekends like every other weekend or something like that. They didn't let me go for the last two. I didn't want to stay there. I didn't like it.

17:21:28:00 - 17:21:45:20

Lisa: You said that you weren't able to go home every week like some of the other folks.

Karen: Right, I wasn't.

Lisa: Did people come to visit you?

Karen: I don't know if they did or not. I don't remember... I don't remember very much. I wanted to get out of there. It's all I wanted to do.

17:21:47:20 - 17:22:09:08

Lisa: Were you able to make friends while you were at St. Mary's?

Karen: I made a lot of friends, yeah. There was a lot of nice girls there. They took them from ages to like from like two to maybe like seven or twelve. They were actually pretty young when I went there; pretty young. A lot of kids were pretty young.

17:22:11:20 - 17:22:31:20

Lisa: You said that you were able to go home.

Karen: Yeah eventually.

Lisa: How often would you go home?

Karen: Maybe like every other... go home like every other weekend. Like on holidays and stuff like that and maybe on a weekend that wasn't on a holiday they'd let you go home.

17:22:32:20 - 17:23:08:02

Lisa: Were you happy to be at home?

Karen: Yeah. I would always cry when I got home because I never see anybody. I didn't like living there.

Lisa: How did you feel you were treated while you were living there?

Karen: Not very nice. They wouldn't treat you very nice.

Lisa: Can you give me an example of that?

Karen: They would hit you.

Lisa: And why would they do that?

Karen: If you made a mistake they would hit you. I did get hit a couple times.

17:23:10:10 - 17:23:28:28

Lisa: You had mentioned, Karen, that you had been put on the waiting list for Pennhurst although you never lived there. Did you ever have occasion or a reason to visit Pennhurst?

Karen: I visited Pennhurst when I used to be in the Olympics; the Special Olympics. I didn't like what I saw. I didn't like them; the way they were treated.

17:23:29:10 - 17:23:41:00

Lisa: What did you see at Pennhurst?

Karen: I saw people naked and there was never any toilet paper in the bathrooms and I didn't like that. I didn't like to see people treated like that.

17:23:43:10 - 17:24:07:13

Lisa: So how long did you stay at St. Mary's?

Karen: Probably since I was like 25 and then I left. I used to be like off and on basis like on the summer I used to go home with my parents and stuff like that and then I'd come back. I used to work for the sisters.

17:24:07:15 - 17:24:32:04

Lisa: What kind of work did you do for the sisters?

Karen: Usually mostly cleaning up the dorms and stuff like that.

Lisa: Did you stay after you were 18; after you were done with school, did you continue to stay?

Karen: I stayed until I was 25. I graduated when I was 18 then I stayed on and helped them out a little bit.

17:24:34:04 - 17:24:50:03

Lisa: While you were helping out at St. Mary's did you ever think about your future and what you wanted for the rest of your life?

Karen: I wanted to actually not live there. I wanted to live on my own. That's what I wanted to do.

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