recorded at Selinsgrove Center April 2015
photo by JJ Tiziou
Tim: We are recording. So my name is Tim Wilson. I'm interviewing Richard at the Selinsgrove Center for the Lives Lived Apart project on April 11th, 2015. We're here to talk about Richard's life and raise awareness about how people with disabilities live and work in Pennsylvania. Also joining me with Richard is Ryan, who works here at Selinsgrove, and Celia, who is part of the Lives Lived Apart project. The four of us are going to talk about Richard's life here so why don't we start from the beginning. Where were you born Richard?
Richard: York, Pennsylvania.
Tim: York, Pennsylvania. OK, when were you born?
Tim: What year? What year were you born?
Richard: From here.
Tim: When was your birthday?
Richard: March 5th, 1964.
Tim: March 5th, 1964? OK, great, so what was it like growing up? Did you have any brothers or sisters?
Richard: Two sisters and one brother.
Tim: OK. Are they older or younger?
Richard: I'm older than them.
Tim: You're the oldest? OK, so you're the big brother?
Tim: Alright. So did you go to school?
Richard: High School.
Tim: Yeah? What was the name of your high school?
Richard: Westminster High School.
Tim: Westminster? OK. In York?
Richard: No. Maryland.
Tim: Maryland? OK. Great, great. So tell me a little bit about growing up in York. What did you like to do?
Tim: Did you play any sports?
Tim: No? Did you play any games with your sisters?
Richard: No. My cousin and I would take trash to the junk yard.
Tim: Oh yeah?
Richard: He paid me for it.
Tim: Oh, OK. Was your cousin older than you or were you the same age?
Richard: He was older than me.
Tim: So tell me a little more about that. Would he pick you up at home and then...
Richard: No we stayed at his house on the weekend. He had a pick-up truck... take me to the junkyard and he'd pay me for it.
Tim: Oh, OK. So what were you doing for him? Were you the muscle?
Richard: He paid me. We got home about four. We're all dirty.
Richard: He'd pay me 20 dollars.
Tim: For the day?
Richard: For the day.
Richard: I said are you sure you want to pay me? He said yeah. I'm the muscle.
Tim: You're the muscle. When did you do that for him? When you were in high school?
Richard: No, after I finished high school.
Tim: After you finished high school? OK. So how long did you do that for?
Richard: I helped him out years at the community center. Staff took me down to the mail line. He took me all the way down to the mail line.
Richard: And he dropped me off and I stayed at his house Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and had staff pick me up.
Ryan: I didn't know that.
Tim: What years were you doing that for him?
Richard: A couple years ago.
Tim: Just a couple years ago? So when did you move to Selinsgrove?
Tim: 1988? So what did you, what did you do between high school and moving here?
Richard: I went out of high school and there was something wrong with my mom and they came for a year.
Tim: OK so you were living with your mom after high school?
Richard: Yeah my mom and I get along together a couple years ago.
Richard: And after that I moved here on the holiday and I went down for a cookout.
Tim: OK, so how old were you when you moved to Selinsgrove?
Richard: About 15.
Tim: OK, so how long have you been here?
Richard: 1988 to...
Tim: So a long time, huh?
Ryan: So about 27 years.
Tim: 27 years. So what was it like in 1988 here when you first moved here? Were you in this building or what building were you in?
Richard: Different building.
Tim: OK. What was that building like?
Tim: Did you have a job in that building?
Ryan: It was up on the hill, wasn't it?
Richard: The terrace.
Ryan: Yeah, the terrace.
Richard: I would cut the grass.
Tim: Were you cutting grass?
Richard: Cut the grass down the center in the backyard. The grass and it was hot for a while.
Tim: Did you like doing that?
Tim: What did you like about it?
Richard: Cutting grass.
Tim: Yeah? Did you like being outside?
Tim: What did you like better; cutting grass or helping your cousin at the junkyard?
Richard: Cutting grass.
Tim: Cutting grass? Yeah, do you get to do that anymore? No?
Richard: We have maintenance guys now.
Richard: I have five jobs.
Tim: Did you say you have five jobs?
Ryan: You have five jobs right now?
Ryan: Oh yeah, CF2. That's the fifth one. Sorry, I should have known.
Tim: So what are the five jobs you have now?
Richard: It's different. CF2...
Celia: What do you do with CF2?
Richard: Play music for the guys.
Ryan: Play music for all of them.
Tim: What kind of music do you play for CF2?
Richard: People request it.
Tim: Oh is there a favorite song? No? Just all over? Do you get to play what you want? Yeah? So what type of music do you like?
Tim: Country? Yeah? Are you a good country dancer?
Richard: I don't dance.
Tim: No? No dancing? Just listen? What country singer do you like?
Richard: Allen Jackson.
Tim: Allen Jackson? He's a good one.
Ryan: Who's the female country singer that you like?
Richard: Dolly Parton.
Ryan: There you go, Dolly Parton.
Tim: Dolly Parton? She's good too.
Tim: So tell me about your friends here at Selinsgrove. We're going to do a quick switch out here. Ryan has to leave unfortunately.
Ryan: It was nice to meet you. I'll see you later, OK? You're doing a good job.
Tim: Joseph, right?
Tim: Joseph is joining us for the interview for the remainder of the interview. Great. So we were just talking about some of your friends here at Selinsgrove, Richard. What are some of your friends like?
Tim: They're good? What do you guys do together?
Tim: You're pointing at the picture there. Who's that?
Richard: My girlfriend.
Tim: Your girlfriend, yeah? What's her name?
Tim: Ethel? That's a pretty name. How did you all meet?
Richard: We met at the dance.
Tim: At the dance? Were you DJing the dance or were you just dancing?
Richard: That's when I came in on a Friday night.
Tim: OK, nice.
Richard: The whole room was just took the picture for me.
Tim: Oh yeah? That's fun. So what do you guys do now when you get together?
Richard: She lives in CM6.
Tim: She lives in CM6? And you live where?
Tim: CM11? So how often do you get to see her?
Tim: Do you see her every day?
Richard: Not every day. Just at the activities.
Tim: At the activities? So what are some of the activities you like to do together?
Richard: Make cards.
Tim: Make cards? What kind of cards?
Richard: We make them and give it to them.
Richard: On the computer.
Tim: On the computer? That's fun. So you mentioned you have five different jobs. You are a DJ, you work in the auditorium, on CF2. What are the other two?
Richard: CM10, CM12.
Tim: So tell me about those. What do you do? What's CM10? I don't know.
Richard: I play the music for the guys.
Tim: You play the music for the guys in that wing?
Tim: OK and same thing for...
Tim: OK. Now do they like different music in the different places?
Richard: They like all different kinds.
Tim: Yeah, just keep the hits coming?
Tim: Cool. So how did you become a DJ here at Selinsgrove? Did you volunteer?
Richard: I don't volunteer. I get paid for it.
Tim: Oh, OK. So do you get paid for every event?
Tim: OK so do you do that every Tuesday and you just go to different wins or are they on different days?
Richard: Just Tuesday night.
Tim: Just Tuesday night? OK, so do you have to pack everything up and move?
Richard: They set up and I set up before Tuesday night and you just start around seven.
Richard: Seven to 8:15.
Tim: And you play for all those different areas in that time frame?
Richard: They got me busy.
Tim: So tell me about the food.
Richard: What food?
Tim: The food here?
Richard: It's very good.
Tim: Yeah? Is there more than one place to eat or do you go to the same place every day?
Richard: We have a dining room.
Tim: You have a dining room? Is that where we ate lunch together?
Richard: Yeah. The café.
Tim: That's the café. What's the difference between the dining room and the café?
Richard: Hm. Café.
Tim: So do they serve different foods?
Tim: Yeah? So what type of food do they serve in the dining room?
Richard: We get a tray.
Tim: Uh-huh. So it's a prepared tray already or do you get to pick what you put on the tray?
Richard: We pick what we want.
Tim: OK and that's at the dining room?
Richard: We get to pick. We pick for lunch and supper.
Tim: OK. So if you go to the café you don't get a tray there? What do you do there?
Richard: You get...
Tim: You can take it back with you?
Richard: The café?
Richard: Yeah you take it back.
Tim: And you get to eat in your room?
Richard: Not in your room, in the dining room.
Tim: OK. OK. Is the food better in the café or the dining room or is it the same?
Tim: OK. So if you had to pick one place you were going to go to, which one would you choose?
Celia: Don't you have to pay in the café?
Richard: Yeah we have to pay.
Richard: We didn't have to pay.
Tim: For today, yeah, we didn't have to pay, right?
Celia: Because we paid. I paid for your lunch.
Richard: We have to get some ice cream.
Tim: Yeah, in a little bit.
Richard: What kind do you like?
Tim: I'm partial to vanilla.
Tim: You like chocolate?
Richard: I like twist.
Tim: You like the twist? A little bit of both?
Richard: Yeah. You get small...
Tim: What will I get? I don't know. How big is the large? It's like a foot?
Celia: It's pretty big. It's pretty big.
Tim: Does it topple over? You have to eat it fast. How fast do you eat the cone? Does it melt all over you?
Richard: I don't get a cone but I get a cup.
Tim: Oh the cup? That's probably what I'll do then. I don't think I could eat it fast enough.
Richard: The cone just...
Celia: Can you talk to Tim a little bit about the resident council?
Richard: What's that?
Celia: Isn't that the... remember you got the... did you get the TV set? Who got the TV set? No?
Richard: I did.
Tim: Yeah, so where are they going to put that TV?
Richard: In the corner of the café.
Tim: Oh, OK. How did that happen?
Richard: TV is now in the game room. Now it will go in the café. A 57 inch TV going in the game room.
Tim: Is it a new 57 inch TV?
Richard: Yeah. They said.
Tim: OK. So how did you... did you just approach the leadership team or are you on a council? How did that idea come into your head?
Richard: We just wrote down what we needed.
Tim: OK so you thought it would be a good idea just to have a TV in the cafeteria?
Tim: And so, what, you wrote it down on a piece of paper and is there a box you put it in?
Richard: Yeah, I wrote it down.
Tim: OK and is there like a suggestion box like if there's something you want to change?
Richard: Yeah, a remote control.
Tim: There's a remote control for?
Richard: For the TV.
Tim: For the TV? Who gets to hold the remote control?
Richard: I don't know.
Tim: In the game room, who holds the remote control?
Richard: The TA person.
Tim: Oh, OK. So what channel is usually on?
Richard: Sometimes it has news on.
Tim: OK. Do you ever... you showed me your room and you had a police scanner there. Do you ever hear a story on your news that you knew about before the news did?
Richard: Yeah, channel eight.
Richard: WGN. Have you ever heard of that?
Tim: Yeah, yeah. So when do you listen to your police scanner?
Richard: Every night if it's not busy and it will come through.
Tim: OK. How did you get the police scanner?
Richard: I had it for a long time ago.
Richard: I got that at Radio Shack.
Tim: At Radio Shack? So did someone suggest that you might like that or how did you find out about a police scanner?
Richard: Well, let me think. We stopped at Radio Shack and looked around and I said... and the guy there, the manager, I had my checkbook with me and it was 87 dollars or something.
Richard: And I looked at the guy and said that is 87 dollars and he said "I'll make it a deal" I said "What's that?" "I'll drop it down for 70 bucks." He dropped it down for 70. He said 'That's the last one" and he said "I'll drop it down for 70 bucks." I said "Do you accept checks?" He said "Yeah, we accept checks." I had my mac card with me. He said do you have your mac card with you? I signed it and he also gave me a list of all the police calls, helicopters... What's that?
Tim: That's the printer. Someone is printing I guess. So when did you buy the police scanner?
Richard: I've had it for a while.
Tim: You've had it for a while? Did someone from Selinsgrove take you to Radio Shack?
Tim: OK. How often do you get to leave Selinsgrove?
Richard: That's a tough one.
Tim: Like if you wanted to leave tomorrow, could you?
Richard: No. There's no room.
Tim: There's no room?
Richard: There's a group home that...
Richard: They said I'm on a list, top of the list.
Richard: Right now they don't have no money.
Tim: The state doesn't have any money to move you to a group home?
Tim: If a spot opened up would you want to do that or would you want to stay here?
Richard: Hm... That's hard.
Celia: It's a hard one.
Celia: Did you ever live in a group home?
Tim: When did you live in a group home? Before you were here or have you been kind of back and forth between Selinsgrove and...
Richard: Before I came here.
Tim: OK, OK. What was that like?
Richard: Not bad.
Tim: Not bad? Is it your choice? So if they said tomorrow there is a spot at a group home, is it your choice whether you leave or not?
Tim: It is? OK. So will you make the decision when it comes up because you don't have to make it now?
Tim: What about just day to day if you wanted to go, you know, to a restaurant or something like that. Could you go tonight if you wanted to or do you have to plan ahead? How would you go about going out to a restaurant off campus?
Richard: Right now I have rent I have to pay.
Richard: Room and board.
Tim: So you pay room and board here. Say you wanted to go to the food court. You went to the food court earlier. Can you go on any day you want?
Tim: Yeah. So how do you arrange to get there?
Richard: Staff and a car.
Tim: OK so do you have to sign up or do you just show up at a certain location?
Richard: We get the papers and schedule.
Tim: OK. So it's all scheduled?
Richard: Yeah. Staff has keys.
Joseph: They assign vehicles once it's scheduled ahead of time and then you put staff with it and just drive wherever they want to go.
Tim: What's your favorite place to go?
Tim: McDonalds? For what meal?
Richard: And Chinese.
Tim: What's the second place?
Tim: Chinese? Oh, we were talking about Chinese earlier.
Celia: Yeah we were just talking about it.
Tim: Yeah. Is it a buffet or?
Tim: All you can eat? How long are you there for when you go?
Joseph: Depends on how long it takes the guys to eat.
Tim: Do you make a lot of trips to the buffet?
Richard: About three or four times plus the dessert.
Tim: What's the dessert there?
Richard: They have different kinds at the buffet.
Tim: Oh, OK. So you said to me earlier that you're going to see your mom in a couple weeks.
Richard: Yeah, the 21st.
Tim: Yeah, are you looking forward to that?
Tim: How often do you get to see her?
Richard: Every three months.
Tim: Every three months? Does she ever come here to visit you? No?
Richard: No, she doesn't drive.
Tim: Oh, OK. Is she still live in the house that you lived in in York?
Richard: She lives by herself now.
Tim: She lives by herself? Is she in a house?
Joseph: It's like a duplex.
Tim: OK, in between. That's nice.
Celia: Do you take him?
Joseph: It depends on what shift that they plan it for but I've been on a trip to take him to see his mom before.
Tim: How long is the visit for, Richard?
Tim: How long do you visit her for? Do you stay overnight or?
Richard: Just for the day.
Tim: Just for the day? What do you guys usually do?
Richard: Eat food.
Tim: Yeah? Does she make food for you or do you go...
Richard: She makes food there.
Tim: Oh yeah?
Richard: We go to a food stand.
Tim: What does she make for you?
Richard: She can't tell.
Tim: It's a surprise?
Tim: Well, that will be fun. What about your siblings? You mentioned your sisters. Where are they?
Tim: Maryland. OK. Do you get to see them at all? No? You don't see them? They don't come around for holidays?
Tim: OK. Now what about if you want to... do you get to call your mom or talk to her on the phone at all?
Richard: Call her.
Joseph: She will usually call at least every other week.
Richard: Yeah we talk about on 21st at seven.
Tim: You're leaving here at seven?
Richard: Yeah. I spend more time with her.
Tim: So what time will... so if you leave here at seven, how much time will you get to spend with her that day?
Richard: Til One.
Tim: OK, then come back? That's pretty quick.
Richard: Come back like at two.
Tim: OK. Nice. So tell me a little bit about your day to day here.
Tim: So when you're not DJing, what do you like to do?
Tim: Nap, yeah? Do you have a favorite napping spot?
Richard: I like napping in bed.
Tim: OK. So I saw when you showed me your room, you have a lot of CDs laid out, a lot of country CDs. Do you ever sit and listen to music?
Tim: Yeah, do you like to do that? Do you have a favorite CD that you'll put on?
Richard: Allen Jackson.
Tim: Allen Jackson? So you really like Allen Jackson. That's good. So do you... they were talking about the recycling plant here. Do you do any work there?
Richard: No, I just ...
Tim: OK and do you play... do you DJ in the auditorium. Is that what you were saying before?
Tim: So you do the auditorium and three other community halls?
Richard: I DJ in the auditorium, CM10 on Saturday, CM2 and CM12 and the café.
Tim: Great. So what about when there's an event? So I heard you mention the dance earlier. Who plays the music at the dance?
Richard: A DJ.
Tim: Wasn't there a dance the other day that you were telling me?
Richard: They had someone come in.
Tim: Oh, someone came in? Was it a DJ or actual people playing?
Richard: A DJ.
Tim: It was a DJ. DO you think you're a better DJ?
Tim: Yeah? Was he taking requests?
Tim: Did you request any AL Jackson?
Tim: Did you get to dance with Ethel at all?
Richard: She's not there on Friday nights.
Tim: She's not there on Friday night?
Richard: Sometimes she's sleeping. Sometimes she has a cold or something.
Richard: She stays back.
Tim: So do they do something every Friday night? Do they bring a DJ or band in every Friday?
Richard: Every Friday night.
Tim: Every Friday. OK. Do you get to go every Friday?
Richard: I show up. I'm the backup.
Tim: You're the backup?
Tim: OK. Do you get paid when you fill in?
Tim: Nice. So what do you like to spend your money on?
Tim: That's the wind. I think it's really windy out.
Tim: Yeah. That's what the sound was, I think.
Tim: So when you get paid for your DJ work, you know, what... is there stuff you can buy here that you like to buy? What do you use the money for?
Richard: ... the money I got.
Tim: Do you... are you able to buy food or clothes or?
Richard: They pay for my clothes.
Richard: We get 200 dollars for clothes.
Tim: You get 200 for clothes money?
Tim: So where do you go to buy clothes with that money?
Richard: Wal-Mart, JC Penny.
Tim: OK. Do you go once a year or do you get to go every couple months.
Richard: If the money comes in.
Tim: OK. Does it all come in at once?
Tim: OK. Do you have a favorite color for clothing you like to wear? No? Not picky? Nice. So tell me a little bit about ... you're on CM 11 right?
Tim: So who else is there?
(More background noise)
Richard: We got... (low voice).
Joseph: There's nine guys.
Tim: Nine guys?
Tim: OK. Do you guys do anything as a group since you live in the same area?
Richard: Just watch TV.
Tim: Other than the news is there something you guys like?
Richard: Taking a nap.
Tim: So do you have... what was your first memory of Selinsgrove when you got here? Do you remember? Your first ... now. Do you remember what season it was?
Tim: No? It was a long time ago?
Tim: How is it different living here in each season in either summer, winter, fall, spring?
Richard: It's fine.
Tim: Do you like summer the best?
Tim: Why's that?
Richard: Winter, I don't like snow and ice.
Tim: You don't like the snow and ice? So are you able to go outside whenever you want? Is there stuff you can do outside?
Richard: Yeah, with the staff.
Tim: Yeah, so if you go in the summer, if it's a nice day, what do you like to do outside?
Richard: We'll take a little walk.
Tim: Yeah? Is there a place you like walk to? Like a special spot?
Richard: Just around the building.
Tim: Just around the building? Do you ever change it up? You like the routine? Is the building air conditioned?
Tim: Yeah, does it get cold in here in the winter at all or is it pretty nice inside?
Richard: No we got heat.
Tim: You've got good heat? Good. So what do you like about living here?
Richard: Not bad.
Tim: Not bad? Yeah? Is there anything you dislike? Is that why you made the recommendation for the TV? Yeah?
Richard: Also I made a request for the carpet in the auditorium too.
Tim: Where did you make a request for carpet?
Tim: In the auditorium? That's what's in there now.
Tim: Yeah? What was there before the carpet?
Tim: Oh, was that your request too? Would you say you're the idea man here? So can you tell me about a time you helped someone here in Selinsgrove?
Richard: That's a tough one.
Tim: How have you helped Ethel?
Tim: Is there anything special you do for her?
Richard: We talk to each other.
Tim: OK, what do you like to talk about?
Richard: Whatever she likes.
Tim: Whatever she likes?
Tim: Does she also like food?
Richard: She don't really talk.
Tim: Oh, OK. Is she an Allen Jackson fan? You don't know.
Richard: She can't talk.
Tim: Oh no? So what do you talk to her about?
Richard: What kind of music she likes.
Tim: Yeah? Has anyone helped you?
Richard: She is CM.
Tim: She's what?
Richard: She's staff at CM.
Tim: How does she help you?
Richard: I ask her what type of music she likes. She'll play it.
Tim: And she'll play the music you like?
Tim: Where do they play the music?
Tim: In the auditorium? What time? If you ask Cindy she'll take you in there and play music for you?
Richard: She goes in there with me.
Tim: She is like your assistant DJ?
Tim: Yeah. Nice. So what... do you have a favorite thing to do here?
Richard: Hm. Busy.
Tim: Yeah? Very busy? So other than DJing and napping, take walks outside, is there anything else that you get excited to do?
Richard: Oh yeah, we have (inaudible) at the gym.
Joseph: Oh, the dinner dances at the gym.
Tim: oh, that's fun. Do you have to ask a date or just show up?
Richard: Just show up.
Tim: Just show up and you find a date there?
Richard: I have chicken shrimp.
Tim: Chicken shrimp?
Richard: And noodles.
Joseph: They just had one Thursday I think it was.
Celia: The masquerade? The masquerade ball? I saw the pictures. It looked cool.
Tim: Did you wear a mask?
Tim: Were other people wearing masks?
Richard: Just TS.
Tim: Just who?
Richard: The TS people.
Tim: Who are the TS people?
Richard: They work here and do the game room, sometimes...
Celia: Therapeutic staff.
Tim: TS is therapeutic staff?
Celia: They're the fun people, in charge of fun.
Tim: Is there anything you've always wanted to try but you haven't been able to yet?
Tim: No? Anything you've seen on TV that you really wanted to do?
Richard: Do shoveling in the snow.
Tim: Do something in the snow?
Celia: You can come to my house.
Tim: Do you get a lot of snow up here?
Tim: So if you could have any job...
Richard: I watched the news last night and it's about 70 degrees.
Tim: What degrees? Seven?
Richard: They said Monday.
Tim: Monday will be 70? So what temperature does it have to be for you to go take a walk around the building?
Richard: It don't matter.
Tim: It doesn't matter? You'll go in any temperature?
Tim: Even in the middle of winter?
Richard: Not in the winter.
Tim: Not in the winter? Do you like the warm weather?
Tim: Good. Is there anything you want to tell me about you? Anything that you'd like me to know about you?
Richard: Yeah I like to play 500 rummy.
Tim: You like to play 500 rummy? We should've played. I like to play rummy.
Richard: Yeah we got busy this morning.
Tim: Oh yeah?
Richard: Yeah, we got busy.
Tim: Oh yeah. We did a lot of walking and we ate a lot of lunch.
Richard: Yeah, free lunch.
Tim: Yeah. You had a couple cokes right?
Richard: What time do we get ice cream?
Tim: In a little bit, yeah. So is there anything else other than rummy or are you getting ready to get ice cream?
Richard: Um. Monopoly.
Tim: I'm sorry?
Tim: Monopoly. Which character do you like to be?
Richard: The little car.
Tim: The little car? I'm a top hat guy.
Celia: I'm the shoe.
Tim: You're the shoe? Great. Well Richard, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I appreciate it and we're going to come back in about a month and we're going to go over the transcript and you can hear what you sound like on tape and we'll review what we talked about here and you can decide what you liked or don't like. Sound good?
Richard: How do you stop it?
Tim: Press this button right there.
Photos by JJ Tiziou
A Fierce Kind of Love has been supported
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