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


Tom Delmastro chapter 6


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
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 (you are here)
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 6: Tom Moves to the Community, Faces Challenges, Moves Temporarily to Allentown State Hospital

21:03:07:15 - 21:03:47:25

Lisa: When it was time for you to move to community who helped you transition from Pennhurst and find a place in the community?

Tom: My social worker, Bonnie Gerber. She came out to talk to me and after that I came out of Pennhurst then I was... then I went to Allentown State, I went to Hilltop Haven. Then I came out of there. Then I started on East Broad Street and whatever.

21:03:48:15 - 21:03:54:28

Lisa: So tell me...

Tom: And I moved to Airport road and it's now [? ] and I enjoy it.

21:03:56:13 - 21:04:08:09

Lisa: So tell me a little bit about Bonnie. Do you remember meeting her the first time?

Tom: I don't know too much. I just know that she was my old social worker.

21:04:08:17 - 21:04:22:10

Lisa: What did she tell you about leaving Pennhurst, do you remember?

Tom: No.

Lisa: Was it difficult to trust someone you didn't know who was going to tell you to leave a place you had lived all of your life and move someplace else?

Tom: No.

21:04:24:29 - 21:04:53:25

Lisa: When you first left Pennhurst what was that day like? How did it feel to leave?

Tom: I sort of felt sad about it and I feel that I was like in the [?] where I turned around and I got happy about it.

21:04:54:18 - 21:05:03:09

Lisa: Why were you sad about it at first?

Tom: I wasn't sure if I would drop a tear or whatever.

21:05:06:15 - 21:05:40:08

Lisa: How did you turn the mountain?

Tom: Huh?

Lisa: You said you turned the mountain. What made you turn the mountain?

Tom: That I - that I decided to move - that Bonnie helped me move out and started the workshop in the community and the OVR. Then now I'm not doing OVR. I'm working with Jeff who works with me doing work and doing volunteer work.

21:05:42:10 - 21:06:06:08

Lisa: Did you move into your own home when you first left Pennhurst?

Tom: I moved in a home with some people and I got used to knowing them and they got used to knowing me. Then I had a couple incidents where I was back at Allentown State and back out.

21:06:09:25 - 21:06:19:17

Lisa: Tell me about Allentown State. Why did you leave your community home and go to Allentown State?

Tom: Well I had a little bit of a problem but I don't discuss that.

21:06:21:00 - 21:07:05:04

Lisa: Okay. Can you describe Allentown State School for me?

Tom: Not really.

Lisa: Is it a place that you liked living?

Tom: No. Well let me say that I used to have a girlfriend named Maggie [Sterner]. She went from Pennhurst, Allentown State... No. Pennhurst, Emeryville, Hamburg, Allentown State and she's now living with her sister. I don't know where they're at now but she also was in Life Path and whatever.

21:07:07:04 - 21:07:28:27

Lisa: So Tom, I'm wondering, you had friends at Pennhurst. You had your community at Pennhurst. You moved to the community where you had housemates, you moved back to Allentown State. Was it hard to keep your friendships and your relationships with all the moves?

Tom: Well I just remember people who I was with and when I was with.

21:07:33:27 - 21:07:53:11

Lisa: Was the Allentown State School - was it like Pennhurst was it different than Pennhurst?

Tom: It was different.

Lisa: How was it different?

Tom: Because Pennhurst there's like eighty percent grounds. You take it from that thing to there (pointing from left to right) and all the way out. That's how big Pennhurst is.

21:08:10:27 - 21:08:27:11

Lisa: So Allentown was smaller?

Tom: Yeah.

Lisa: How did it being smaller affect you?

Tom: I just figured out to compare it with Pennhurst and Allentown State.

21:08:31:16 - 21:08:51:20

Lisa: You wanted to leave Allentown State?

Tom: Well in a way, yeah. That way I don't have to be put in the timeout room or something like that. But I came a long way since Life Path took over.

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