Chapter 1: Early Life
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Q. My name is Lisa Sonneborn and I'm interviewing Larry Kubey at the Double Tree Hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 26th 2013, and also present is our videographer, Ginger Jolly. And Larry, do I have your permission to begin our interview?
A. Yes you do.
Q. Thank you. Can you please tell me your name and your occupation?
A. My name is Larry Kubey; I work with Self-Advocates United as 1 and am an assistant trainer.
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Q. Thank you. And can you tell me Larry, when and where you were born?
A. I was born September 20, 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at Montefiore Hospital.
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Q. Can you tell me a little bit about your family, Larry, starting with your dad?
A. My dad originally came from Paterson, New Jersey, went to Western High School around the time Abbott and Costello was there. And he studied bassoon, then in 1940…1940's, 1949 to be exact, he got the job with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
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Q. What is your dad's name?
A. Arthur Kubey.
Q. Can you describe what he looked like?
A. Well let's see, a…he looked like… I always use to describe him as the Robert Young in the family.
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Q. And can you tell me a little bit about your mom?
A. My mom is from Germany, she can to the States in 1927.
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Q. And what was your mom's name?
A. Ericka spelled with a 'k'.
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Q. And tell me a little bit about your mom, what did she look like or what was her profession?
A. She played bassoon also with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
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Q. You described your father as looking like Robert Young?
Q. What about your mom?
A. Uhm I'd say…let's see… I think a…if I was going to pick a celebrity I'd say Joan Crawford look.
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Q. Larry, did you have any brothers and sisters?
A. One sister living in New York.
Q. And what is her name?
Q. And is she your older sister or your younger sister?
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Q. And Larry, uhm, can you tell me what is your disability….or how do people describe your disability?
Q. And can you tell me a little more what borderline means?
A. Half normal and half…a… "MR".
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Q. Thank you. I'm wondering Larry, if you know when your parents found out that you had a disability?
A. After I was born.
Q. You were born as you said, in 1959?
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Q. And that was a time when a lot of doctors and other professionals told parents when they had a child with a disability that they should place them in an institution, and I wonder if doctors every told your parents that they should place you in an institution?
A. They may have… I'm not sure if they did or not.
Q. But, you grew up at home with your family?
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Q. How would you describe your childhood?
A. Pretty cool.
Q. What was pretty cool about it?
A. I use to watch TV as a kid.
Q. Did you have favorite programs?
A. "The Mickey Mouse Club" with Annette Funicello.
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Q. You mentioned that both of your parents were musicians, was there music in your house?
A. Yes. In fact, they married in 1944, August 29th, the same day as the Osmond's parents.
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Q. Did you get to hear your parents play music in the house?
Q. And what was it like to listen to them make music?
A. It was nice.
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Q. Did you and your sister also learn to play instruments?
A. Yes she did, she played piano and sang.
Q. And you?
A. And I've…and I've done theater.
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Q. Did you listen to popular music, and if you did, what were some of your favorite musicians?
A. Uhm let's see, the Andrew Sisters, Count Basie, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, I always enjoyed the British bands, and a…any American ones.
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Q. What other kind of things did you enjoy doing as a family?
A. Going to Kennywood.
Q. What is Kennywood?
A. An amusement park in West Mifflin.
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Q. I know musicians often traveled a lot, did your parents travel?
A. Yes they did.
Q. Did you ever get to go with them on their trips?
A. On occasions.
Q. Where would you travel together?
A. Detroit was one.
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Q. Larry, were your parents involved in any of the advocacy groups that supported people with disabilities in the area?
A. They supported everything that had…anything to do with… those with disabilities.
About Larry Kubey
Board membership, Community, Disability Rights Network, Equality, The Partnership, 'R' word, SAU1, Self-advocacy, Speaking For Ourselves, Workshops