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Thread: 45 "Joy" filled years

  1. #1

    45 "Joy" filled years

    June 6, 1970, "a day that will live in infamy" (in my head). Spent one month and change at Jersey Shore Medical Center followed by 7 months at Rusk Institute, aka IRM. Back then they gave new crips enough time to make some sort of mental adjustment. During my 7 months I became close to 10 or 15 paras and quads all dealing with brand new catastrophic disability. I dated 2 PT's, got drunk with my crip friends and painted shark fins in the lake on the lunchroom wall mural, etc.

    I stayed in NYC and attended grad school in rehab counseling post rehab. I joined a sensitivity group of young disabled folks. During our summer group the leader introduced the purpose with some high rhetoric - he referred to discussing the "joys and frustrations of disability". We all immediately challenged him to name some possible joys. One of the group sessions was preserved for posterity when it was filmed by PBS. All of us were young and angry, we lived in a city with no curb cuts, no ramps on public buildings, inaccessible bathrooms, etc. We focused our anger on making change in part due to the work in the group.Two of the members of the group were later founders of independent living centers and directors of same. Four of us later worked for some period for state rehab agencies, one became a high level administrator in the New York State Office of Voc Rehab. One member was instrumental in founding both the east coast and later west coast disability rights movement and later served as an Assistant Secretary of State for Disability Issues.

    I met my wife in this group and we have been happily married for almost 40 years. We each worked in voc rehab for about 30 years. We are now happily retired on a little lake in rural Michigan. In retrospect, I have to apologize to our old group leader (now deceased). There has been lots of joy after all.

  2. #2
    Congrats on your survival and success, thank you for sharing, and for the work that those of you in that "generation" did for what for disability rights in this country. I have to smile at your "sensitivity group" (I briefly lived in the "sensitivity group dorm" during that same era when in college: we had group for all the residents twice weekly) reference, but it sound like you fell in with a wonderful group of peers to help launch you on this journey. Thanks for what you contribute to our forums too.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Congratulations! Experiences like you had at IRM are no longer available to newbies, and that is a terrible shame. It really primed us for making the best of our situation. Wishing you more joy filled moments as you travel life's winding road.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
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    Many congratulations!

  5. #5
    Happy anniversary!
    "It is every man's obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein

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