StoryCorps is in Berlin, New Hampshire! It’s pronounced BER-lin and not Ber-LIN (the emphasis on the ‘BER’ as opposed to the way you might pronounce the capital of the nation of Germany). The pronunciation was changed, according to participant Paul “Poof” Tardiff, during World War I as a patriotic stand against the German enemy.
Poof is a resident historian here in Berlin, which is also know as “the town that trees built.” Berlin is a paper mill town. During its heyday in the late 19th century and into the early 20th century, five mills ran full time churning out paper goods. Each spring, according to Poof, men drove logs down the Androscoggin River to supply the mills with lumber. These men wore spiked boots and worked the fallen trees down river, separating the logs to be delivered to each mill by use of a series of boom piers, or man made islands, which still dot the Androscoggin River.
Paul “Poof” Tardiff
After long, harsh winters in the woods, loggers and river drivers flooded into the big city during log-driving season, transforming Berlin into a lively – and sometimes rowdy – place. Log drives ended in the 1960s and the last paper mill closed in 2006.
Today, Berlin is the throes of a new phase transitioning from a booming mill town into a smaller, quieter place. What is next for the town that trees built? We have three weeks to find out…
Marcia Page had a different childhood experience than most of us. Instead of playgrounds and parks, Marcia and her family lived on the grounds of state mental hospitals. Her father, Curtis “Duke” Page, was a psychologist who worked at a variety of state institutions in the Midwest.
Marcia told her daughter, Sabrina, about her most memorable childhood home at the Fergus Falls State Hospital in Fergus Falls, MN. In 1954, when Marcia was 5 years old, her father was hired as the chief clinical psychologist and housing at the hospital was provided with the job.
Fergus Falls State Hospital (courtesy KirkbrideBuildings.com)
Playdates at the hospital were infrequent because Marcia’s friends’ parents “weren’t too keen on having their kids come up and play.” So instead of other children, Marcia made friends and played with patients who lived at the hospital.
Evelyn was one of Marcia’s best friends at the hospital. She was in her 20s and they played together almost everyday. Marcia remembered: “I asked my dad why [she was] there and he would talk to me like an adult. My dad told me Evelyn was a paranoid schizophrenic.”
Marcia’s father was Evelyn’s therapist, and he told Marcia that she “probably did more therapy with her than he did. We walked and we played. She was just Evelyn….I knew that they were patients at the hospital and they couldn’t take care of themselves somewhere else, but they were just people and that was a pretty profound experience to have.”
Even though stigma surrounded these institutions, Marcia’s memories are positive. She said the patients who lived at the hospital “had pride in taking care of their hospital and their community….The really positive thing was that they were living their lives and being productive, while being cared for. ”
Marcia and Sabrina’s interview was recorded in partnership with the San Luis Obispo County SELPA.
Wenatchee is known as apple capital of the world and, not surprisingly, we have already heard many stories about orchards. From the MobileBooth we look across the wide expanse of the Columbia River to the sprawling cherry and apple orchards of East Wenatchee.
Pictured above are the festivities just outside the MobileBooth, at the Wenatchee Performing Arts Center, which Northwest Public Radio organized to greet StoryCorps to the city. The opening day shindig was complete with baskets of apples on every table. NWPR has also put together a slide-show with an audio clip from the first interview with Harriet Bullitt and Wilfred Woods. The Woods family shares a three-generation legacy of running the Wenatchee World, one of the few remaining family-owned newspapers in the country. Wilfred Woods’ father played an instrumental role in making Wenatchee the apple capital by advocating for the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam and the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project, which irrigates much of the region, as well as providing hydroelectric power.
Today Facilitator Carl Scott and I talked about StoryCorps with two other local radio stations, La Super Z, , and Apple FM. We are looking forward to hearing more stories from the folks that live and work in the Wenatchee Valley.
StoryCorps recently went to Monterey, California for a special interview to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the NAACP. NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous interviewed his mother Ann Todd Jealous and grandmother Mamie Todd.
Mamie remembers her first job teaching beginner’s algebra in 1939 at an all black school in Prince George County, Petersburg , VA:
“The students didn’t have any new books or materials to work with,” says Ms. Todd. “The children would have to sit together in the same seat and use a book that had missing pages, (there was) not enough pencils and papers. We weren’t paid very much at all and I had to share everything with them. ”
Her husband to be, who was also a teacher, brought her pencils and paper from his class to help them get by. Mamie complained to the principal about the lack of materials to no avail. She was forced to do the best she could with what she had.
One day two men stood in the back of her class room with their coats and hats on and didn’t say a word. (“I thought they were building inspectors.”)
The principal later informed Ms. Todd that one of the visitors was the Superintendent of Schools – and she had ignored him. The Superintendent returned to her class the next day and requested that she come to his office.
When she arrived, the secretary informed her, “Colored teachers come around the back. ” But Ms. Todd was determined:
“Well there’s his desk right there and here’s the swinging gate…so I walked on through and went to his desk.
I really leveled with him. He was a human being too. I knew we had that much in common. I always knew that people could change. I had been taught that. I trusted that if he knew like I knew…that he couldn’t sit behind that polished desk and do nothing about it.
By 10:30 the next morning a pick up truck came with everything I could think of that the school needed.
I wasn’t afraid of him. The worst he could do was fire me.”
Later, her daughter Ann wondered if Mamie had ever been afraid of anyone. Mamie paused as if to consider the question for the very first time.
“I don’t know. I’d have to think about it.”
This week, the StoryCorps MobileBooth East left Lincoln Center and traded the bustle of midtown Manhattan for a view of the White Mountains and the sound of the Androscoggin River in the heart of New Hampshire’s North Country.
We kicked off a month of recording in our host city of Berlin with an ice cream social in Veteran’s Park, hosted by station partner New Hampshire Public Radio.
With cones of “Moose Tracks”-flavored ice cream, we welcomed people of all ages to see the MobileBooth and sign up to record a story. Above, StoryCorps’ Sara Esrick chats up three Berlin Junior High eighth graders.
The MobileBooth East team will be in Berlin until June 25. We look forward to listening to stories from young and old alike and to soaking up the fresh air of summer in the North Country.
On June 6 and 7, 2008 more than 10 inches of rain fell in parts of central and southern Indiana. The rain overwhelmed the already saturated soil and quickly caused rivers and streams to rise dramatically.
The Columbus Regional Hospital was hit especially hard as the usually calm Haw Creek couldn’t handle the huge amount of runoff that was flowing from the north. The entire basement and part of the first floor of the hospital was flooded.
Power, computers, and phones for the whole building were quickly knocked out. Soon after, the decision was made to evacuate the 157 patients at the hospital.
Video via YouTube
Last week, to help commemorate the one year anniversary of the flood, StoryCorps Door-to-Door recorded interviews with hospital employees who were there on the night of the flood and participated in the ongoing recovery, cleanup, and rebuilding efforts.
When David Lenart, Director of Facilities and Materials Management, arrived at the hospital, he said, “it looked like a bad movie. Six hours felt like three days.”
After the patients were taken to safety at other area hospitals, the recovery and cleanup began. Don Michael, a hospital trustee remembered: âEveryone made it up as we went along. There were disaster plans in place, but none contemplated losing the whole hospital for months.”
The hospital re-opened, after a challenging summer, on October 27, 2008. Some of the hospital facilities are still in temporary buildings, and memories of the flood are just beginning to fade, but the community and the hospital have definitely come away stronger from the experience. Nearly everyone recounted the way the disaster brought staff closer together and demonstrated what was truly possible to achieve together.
Below are the hospital employees and community leaders who shared their stories last week. You can read more about the rebuilding efforts and see photos and video on the Columbus Regional Hospital Recovery site.
Last week our community outreach department brought us to the Hungarian Cultural Center, for the first of a series of Door-to-Door days to celebrate Extremely Hungary, a year-long festival celebrating Hungarian art and culture in the U.S.
The Cultural Center and the Hungarian Consulate (where we conducted the recordings) brought in a diverse and fascinating group of Hungarians, including Evi Blaikie, a child survivor of the Holocaust. Evi brought with her a book (pictured below) she wrote about her mother, whom she was separated from as a toddler, and later reunited with.
We look forward to recording more stories at Extremely Hungary this weekend in New Brunswick, New Jersey!
Donna Rago has always been a caretaker. Whether it be taking care of her ailing aunt or raising her 3 boys or hosting 60 members of her extended family for Easter…Donna had it covered. So it has been a hard transitioning into letting others take care of her. Donna was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year.
Donna remembers the first time she knew something was wrong. It was during one of their annual Easter family gatherings and she was walking in from the garage with a plate of food. She looked down at her plate and had no longer had any idea what she was doing.
One of the hardest things for Donna to accept is that she can’t cook like she used to. Following directions is hard for her now and she can’t recall all the recipes she had committed to memory. Donna describes this loss like “having a beautiful garden that someone threw something on and killed everything.”
Donna’s condition is a challenge for Tony too. She is his best friend. She helped him through his battle with colon cancer a few years ago, and he wants to be there for her in the same way. They’ve been married for 44 years; Tony says it was love at first sight for him…indeed, they were married after a 5 month courtship. Donna giggles and chips in, “He proposed in early February and we were married in late February. We had to move up the wedding day because I was pregnant with our first son.”
Donna and Tony are still learning how to adjust with Donna’s condition. They travel less than they used to, and now a daughter-in-law hosts the annual Easter gathering. Donna feels fortunate that she has such a loving and supportive family who all live in the Bay Area, but it also makes the diagnosis that much more devastating for her. She tears up when she talks about it, saying: “I just don’t want to miss anything!”
Community is a big buzz word these days. It seems that any people are looking around this rapidly changing world and redefining what community means, and building new ones for themselves. Not only did I notice this poster here in Eugene, but we have also felt very welcomed into the Eugene community by many of our temporary neighbors who have shared with us their stories (and the occasional casserole). As I take a look around and think about who and what make up my own communities, I start to think about who my neighbors are.
Edwin Coleman (L) came in the MobileBooth to speak with his neighbor Jim Newton (R). Edwin’s life is full of stories. He spoke about meeting Robert Kennedy, touring as a bassist with Peter, Paul, and Mary, meeting his wife, and his years as a theater teacher at the University of Oregon. Jim and Edwin also discussed their relationship as neighbors. Luckily, being neighbors oftentimes means more than fences and lawn disputes. Jim and Edwin connected over their love of the written word and their mutual appreciation for the poetry of Langston Hughes. They spoke of the poems “A Dream Deferred,” and “I, Too, Sing America”. Edwin recited the poem, “Cross“, and when he forgot some words, Jim was there to help him out. Their conversations often involve “a glass of wine and poem.” As for their relationship, Edwin said, “It’s been said that fences make good neighbors. I’m glad we don’t have a fence.”
A neighbor may live next door to you, but I love Miriam Webster’s additional definition, “fellow man.” May we all have neighbors who can help us complete poems we forget.
Paul Binder and Michael Christensen came to the MobileBooth at Lincoln Center to tell the about their adventures that lead to starting the Big Apple Circus. The two longtime friends met as mimes in San Francisco. Then, while taking a road trip together, they paid their gas juggling on the street. That led them to pack their rucksacks, juggle on streets and pass the hat from England to Istanbul.Â They made their living with juggling acts in many countries with many charming bad accents. Juggling in Paris, they were asked to join to the Nouveau Cirque du Paris. Michael remembers their first weeks as members of the circus. “I have pictures of the early shows where you and I are running into the ring. It is the kind of picture where you are look into the dictionary, you see ‘happiness’ and there is that picture.”
After a trip back to New York, Paul proposed that they start a circus of their own in New York City. The circus is now about to celebrate its 32nd year. Michael, or Mr. Stubs, played for many years the hobo clown down on his luck. Michael, up until this last year, was the circus’ director and ringmaster. Their families grew up in the circus. Paul’s kids did all of their schooling on the road in the One Ring School House. Twenty-two years ago, the pair startedÂ Clown Care, a program that integrates circus entertainers into childrens hospitals all over the country. They have seen the transformative impact the circus has on people. After the first act, “people are shimmering,” said Michael.
“At the circus, the audience leaves behind the woes of society, at least for a moment.” said Paul.
“We followed our heart. We followed our own joy. It [the circus] was challenging but not once did we look at each other and say let’s throw in the clown towel… Still after all these years there is that same sense of delight and wonder,” said Michael.
I sat reclined on a rocking bench at the end of a long day of interviews. From where I am perched, I can see out over the entire city from the tops of trees that encompass this lovely landscape. The view is serene and as I lean back in my seat to initiate the motion that will eventually make me sleepy, I hear over the warm air, sounds of a starter’s pistol and the voice of an announcer following the movements of four University of Oregon racers setting would be both a college and United States speed record for the 4 x 1-mile relay race.
Welcome to Tracktown USA – Eugene, OR.
Sunshine in Kesey Square
Our welcome to this area was ordinary by Eugene standards: it rained for three days straight. But that didn’t take away from the rustic beauty inherent to this part of the country.
Facilitators Carl Scott and Alex Kelly enjoying the statue of Ken Kesey.
Parked in an area of downtown commonly known as Kesey Square (named for the famed author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Eugene native, Ken Kesey), our first interview was most appropriate — it was between Ken’s mother and daughter. Looking out over a bust of her son reading to his grandchildren, Geneva Kesey shared her own stories; stories that would kick off a day that brought an end to the rainy season and began a string of amazing Oregonians that would step into our booth.
Facilitator Alex Kelly, Ken Kesey’s mother, Geneva, and former wife, Faye.
I’m looking forward to the mountains forests and Saturday Market which stands as the first of its kind created in the United States.
On your marks… get set…
When Walter Kahn, 86, and his daughter, Marlita, entered our San Francisco StoryBooth, I had no idea of the tale that was to come. After the recording was completed, I joked that I wanted him to sell me the movie rights to his story!
Walter told the story of being in school in Belgium as World War II broke out. As a young Jew of 17, he knew that he needed to escape the territory that the Nazis controlled. In the south of France, after twice escaping prison camps, Walter met up with his brother and the two planned to escape to Portugal and safety. After connecting with a guide who would smuggle them through the Pyrenees, the young men made the perilous journey. Staying in caves, farms, and assorted safe houses – including a bordello in Barcelona – they narrowly escaped capture many times. As it turned out, they were the first passengers on an “underground railway” that would later spirit out downed Allied pilots, partisans, and other refugees during the course of the war.
Walter painted a vivid picture of his numerous travails and close calls on his journey to safety and freedom. It was easy to visualize his story on the silver screen.
Marlita had heard stories of her father’s adventures all her life, and was thrilled to finally record the telling of his tale so that future generations would hear them as well.
Although StoryCorps’ offices are located in Brooklyn, and we have a permanent StoryBooth at Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, this month the StoryCorps MobileBooth is in the midst of its first ever visit to New York City. A MobileBooth is an Airstream trailer outfitted with a recording studio that travels the country year-round collecting stories.
Since our arrival last week, we have heard love stories in Central Park, long gone delis of the neighborhood, the first days of Lincoln Center, the busker beginnings of a circus, and the rise of the Upper West Side skyline. We have heard from dancers, opera singers, student scientists, accountants, lawyers, writers, composers, teachers, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, computer programmers, unemployed people, nurses, doctors, therapists, trekkies, and many more to come to come.
In my short time here in Asheville I have learned that one thing’s for certain: there is always a guitar close at hand, if not a banjo, a mandolin, a stand-up bass, and a fiddle as well. The Hominy Valley Boys walked by the booth during our stay and were gracious enough to play us a little tune. A little send off, if you will. As the accursed expression goes, all good things must come to an end, and sadly, our stay in Asheville has wrapped up.
Stories are rich in Western North Carolina and it seems that nearly everyone has come in to the share a bit of themselves with us. It has been a privilege and an honor to hear tales of tobacco farming, mountaineering, snipe hunts, immigrating from Moldova, love at first sight, the beginnings of All Things Considered, the Blue Ridge Parkway, hiking the Appalachian Trail, losing a daughter, adopting sons, getting older, fighting in World War II, going to Klezmer Kamp, weaving, throwing clay, joining a sorority... the list goes on and on. We have only scratched the surface. Keep on recording your stories, and stay tuned to WCQS to hear what Western North Carolina sounds like.
Enjoy some shots from our time in Asheville…
Katherine y Beatriz vinieron a la MobileBooth en Asheville, Carolina del Norte para conversar sobre su amistad que se ha desarrollado desde aprender Ingles y Español juntas. Katherine le preguntó a Beatriz, “¿Cómo llegamos a ser amigas? Somos muy diferentes, tengo casi el doble de su edad, tu tienes una familia y yo soy soltera y jubilada. Para mí aprender el español es un pasatiempo, para ti es una necesidad para sobrevivir aquí…”
“How did we become friends?,” Katherine asked her friend Beatriz in Spanish during their recent interview in Asheville, NC. “We are very different.” Indeed, they are different. Katherine is almost twice Beatrice’s age. Katherine is single, Beatrice is raising a family. But perhaps their most glaring difference is language. Katherine is a native English speaker, while Beatrice’s mother tongue is Spanish. For Katherine, learning Spanish is a hobby, whereas for Beatriz, she must learn a new language to survive in this country.
Cuando Beatriz se mudó a Asheville de México, ella empezó poco a poco a aprender Ingles con Katherine. Enseñando una a la otra, han aprendido no solamente el idioma de la otra, sino también las distintas culturas. “Lo que me interesa es la diferencia, tengo muchas amigas de mi misma edad y cultura,” dice Katherine. “Creo que nuestra amistad ha mejorado porque tenemos la misma experiencia de aprender el idioma.”
When Beatriz moved to Asheville from Mexico, she began to learn English with Katherine as her tutor. However throughout the course of their studies together Katherine started asking Beatrice more and more questions about Spanish. Soon they were switching between English and Spanish. Katherine would give Beatrice a lesson in English and then Beatrice would reciprocate with a lesson in Spanish. “I believe that our friendship has improved because we have the same experience of learning the language. “We have a lot of patience for the other because we share the same frustrations learning the language, ” said Katherine.
“¿Por qué querría aprender español? ¿Para conversar conmigo?” le preguntó Beatriz a Katherine. “Si” respondió Katherine, “pero también me di cuenta que el mundo habia cambiado, ahora el mundo pertenece a los bilingües o trilingües,” Katherine dijo. Además, la mama de ella la inspiró a aprender un nuevo idioma. “Cuando ella tenia 90 años, ella todavía estaba repasando su vocabulario en Español.”
“Why would you want to learn Spanish? To talk to me?” Beatriz asked Katherine.
“Yes,” Katherine replied, “but I also realized that the world has changed, now the world belongs to those that are bilingual or trilingual.” Moreover, Katherine’s mother inspired her to learn a new language. “When [her mother] was 90 years old, she was still reviewing her Spanish vocabulary.”
Max Woody has been making rocking chairs for nearly 60 years. Max came to the MobileBooth in Asheville with two of his close friends, Maggie and Zach, to talk about the custom chair making tradition that can be traced back six generations in his family. He still works what he calls “a half day,” that is, 12 hours. Each rocking chair is made to fit, no matter “how tall or how short, how scrawny or how healthy,” the customer. Although the average wait on a chair is 3-5 years from the day you order it, if you are an invalid or pregnant you can get one much quicker, says Max.
As a kid Max remembers playing with his father’s toolbox. Although his dad tried locking it shut to keep him out, he still found a way to undo the hinges and get to the tools. When Max was 15 his father passed away. The day he died, Max remembers sitting with the toolbox. It was the place where Max felt closest to his father. After high school, Max saved $850 to buy his own tools and started his chair making business, which he has been doing ever since.
After all these years Max still looks forward to going to work and still loves his customers, in fact, he says, “you don’t have buy anything to visit us, the latch string is on the outside, that’s a mountain term for making people welcome in your abode.” I was welcomed one afternoon at Max’s shop in Marion, North Carolina. I tried out the rocking chairs and heard many more of Max’s stories and words of wisdom.
Like the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. At the Museum of Modern Art, that same picture can spark a thousand memories. As part of its Meet Me at MoMA outreach program, the museum partnered with StoryCorps’ Memory Loss Initiative to assist its regular and most faithful visitors in capturing their lives’ most influential moments.
Throughout the afternoon, eight conversations were recorded on four StoryKits, affectionately known as our “recording studio in a briefcase,” between those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and their family members and friends. A mother told her son of her part in the World War II war effort as an inspector for a parachute factory. A husband and wife remembered the family portrait drawn for them by their son. A niece chatted with her aunt about how she’d like to be remembered by the rest of their family. The scope of discussions was as bright and diverse as MoMA’s collection of pop art, and continued well after the recorders were stopped, spilling into its Metropolitan Garden reception.
Since 2006, StoryCorps’ Memory Loss Initiative has collected hundreds of recordings to support and encourage people with memory loss to share their stories. Our collaboration with MoMA was an innovative first for both organizations, whose programming invites the participation of Alzheimer’s groups and populations by providing much-needed creative space and flexibility. Hopefully, this is only the beginning.
To reserve your StoryKit through our Memory Loss Initiative, visit us at www.storycorps.org/initiatives/mli.
Need a haircut? Like bluegrass? Head over to Drexel, North Carolina. For over sixty years Lawrence Anthony and David Shirley have been cutting hair and playing tunes at the Sanitary Barber Shop on Main Street.
Lawrence Anthony and his son, Carroll
What started out years ago, with Lawrence and Drexel’s sheriff whiling the time away with their guitars, has turned into a scene. Each Saturday, anywhere from five to well over 30 musicians will gather to jam in the back of the barber shop, in, as Lawrence likes to call it, “the pickin’ room.” People have come from all over the county and even as far as England to listen.
David Shirley and his son, Philip
Driving into downtown Drexel, you can’t help but notice empty storefronts. Both the Drexel Furniture Factory and the hosiery mill have closed, and so have most of the stores that line Main Street. The barbershop is a bright spot for the community, a place where folks can gather and the music’s free of charge.
Clarinetist David Asman and accordionist Steve Keen came to the MobileBooth tell a couple of stories and play a little Klezmer music. Music is what brought these former East Coasters to Salt Lake City so it is fitting that they started their recording with a song from their current repertoire as the KlezBros: Ose Shalom!
“We started the Klezbros] in 1993.” says David. “Being here in Utah it’s an interesting place to be a Jew. You’re really forced to look at your self in that regard in a secular way, in a religious way. Ashkenazid Judaism is what I’m descended from and when I looked into it a little bit, found out what Klezmer music was, I just fell in love with it and wanted to do something with it. Somebody mentioned to me that you played accordion, and I remember calling you one day and saying ‘Would you like to take it out of the closet?’, so to speak.”
“And I literally did take it out of the closet.” says Steve. “In fact my wife said ‘What’s that thing?’
“She was talking about the accordion, I hope?” asks David.
“She didn’t even know it was there,” says Steve. “For 15 years I think it sat in there. She had no idea it was even in there!”
“And speaking of that, let’s play another tune!”
Seven years ago Bryce was at the top of his game. He had just made the biggest sale of his career as a car salesman and he wanted to celebrate. He hopped into his car and headed to a friend’s house. “I was going around a back country road doing too many things at once and I ended up going down a cliff.”
Bryce was in a coma for 28 days. Doctors said he never wake up. But Bryce did wake up. To see him walk and talk today you would never know how close he came to dying. Yet he suffers from what he calls “the invisible injury,” brain injury trauma. His short term memory is faulty, and sequential thinking and timing are hard for him. “Since my car wreck, I’m not quick enough to be a salesman,” he told his friend and advocate Karen Harrington during his StoryCorps interview. Bryce was gracious enough to share his story along with other survivors of brain injury trauma who live in the Asheville area.
Post accident, Bryce has become what he calls, “a student of patience.”
“Every time I approach a decision to make, I have before-car-wreck-adrenaline-junkie-Bryce and then I have the more reasonable, let’s-figure-it-out-Bryce. And every time I make a decision I have to have a committee hearing. My favorite analogy is: I’m out at a swimming hole and and I ask myself, ‘What do you want to do, pre-car-wreck-Bryce?’
“‘Well I want to go to the top of that waterfall and dive from the top of that rock.’
“‘What do you wanna do post-car-wreck Bryce?’
“‘I’m happy sunbathing on the beach.’
“And I have to mediate between the two sides of myself, so I go halfway up the rock and jump in feet first. It’s not that this isn’t something that everyone goes through. It just seems that much more dramatic to me. On top of the patience that I have with myself, I accrue the debt of patience or lack of patience from society.”
Today, Bryce no longer sells cars but makes art. He has sketch books full of sculptures and paintings that he intends to create. His dream is to open an art space for people with disabilities. “It’s the first decision that I have made in my life that has come from my heart and not from the desire to make money.”