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Nancy Greenstein chapter 3


Chapter 1: Childhood
Chapter 2: Marriage and Family
Chapter 3: Sibling Relationship (you are here)
Chapter 4: Finding Supports for Robin
Chapter 5: Access to School
Chapter 6: Parent Network
Chapter 7: Involvement with PATH (People Acting to Help)
Chapter 8: Transition from Pennhurst and Community Collaborative
Chapter 9: Parents and Advocacy Efforts Today
Chapter 10: Reflections on Life, Advocacy

transcript - entire interview

Nancy Greenstein Interview (Word)

transcript - current chapter

Chapter 3: Sibling Relationship


Lisa: Nancy, I wanted to ask you, if I could, about what the relationship was between both your daughters.

Nancy: Very, very good. Robbie always looked up to Joanne, and Joanne was very, very protective of Robin, as a sibling. Her friends always came over. The house was always open to her friends, and she just -- that was it.

When she was in high school, and she would get ready in the morning with her hair -- hair was very important at that time -- and Robbie used to stand in the hallway and watch her fuss with her hair, you know, and do her hair and that kind of thing, would stand for the longest time. And she treated Robin as a sibling. She did not treat her as a special child. She could get annoyed with her, you know, as siblings do, but she was very protective of her to the outside.

When she started to date, and she never said anything special about Robin. When they came into the house, and Robbie came in, so she always said, this is my sister. If they looked askanced at her, she never saw them again. She would not be bothered with anybody who did not accept -- you know, so this is how she was with Robin.

She used to baby-sit for us, and all she required from us is don't just assume, just ask if I'm available to baby-sit, which of course is right. It's not to be assumption, it's not her responsibility.

We just carried on. I've always felt that as she became an adult that it was not her responsibility to have Robbie, to take care of her when we're no longer here.

And I would assume that if and when she married, that the spouse might not be as accepting, because your whole life revolves about Robin, and you have to make your adjustments, and if you're not willing to do it, it can be an imposition. You're not free to be spontaneous.

Although we did -- you know, we always took car trips, when my mother became a widow. We always included her going to New Hope a lot, to going down the shore for the day, when they would have art exhibits on the boardwalk, we went down for the day. Even when we were patterning Robin, we would go down for a weekend after Labor Day, take down old sneaks, you know, then walk along that way. But relationship has always been that way. Now Joanne today can get a little impatient, because Robbie likes things a little bit louder, you know, because of her hearing impairment, which was gradual. We didn't realize she was losing her hearing for quite some time, we just thought it was just Robin with mental retardation. But not until I realized that Robbie's not spiteful, and that she would not turn around to -- if I called to her, we realized this was something we had to look into. But the relationship is very loving, and it's carried on to my granddaughter, who is very protective of Robin, and Robbie doesn't have much choice in her life. It has to be with her tops. She wears denims all the time, trousers, because of being incontinent. So I always give her a choice of shirts to put on in the morning, and she would decide that she didn't want this one, she didn't want that one, and Arielle at two and a half would come in, "Come on, Robin," you know, "do you like this one? It's so pretty." That kind of thing, trying to convince her on what she likes, but always very protective of her also. And as I said, Joanne has always been that way, and if I need help, she would try to come up. Well, until Arielle started school. Then it became a little bit more difficult. But she comes up and spends quite some time, you know, so -- but it was always good growing up. As I said, her friends were always welcome, and they accepted Robbie, too, and -- which was good. We all learned that way.

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