To Siblings of New Hope
We are the siblings of radiants of New Hope. We have inherited the task of keeping an eye on our brother, sister. We have inherited a duty of service, we didn’t ask for, and we don’t have time for. That is true, we have our own families, our own responsibilities, but we have one facet of life in common, we have a sibling in New Hope.
For me, New Hope is a tribute to the vision of Dan B. He made a difference in the life of our siblings, he believed in the right of the developmentally disabled to have a life. He believed that a person with a developmental disability had the right to live in a home, not a dorm. He acted on his vision, and he provided my brother and others like him with that opportunity.
I am writing this biography of my brother so that you too can share your sibling’s story.
BROTHER OF RESIDENT STEPHEN
A tale of two brothers
Let me introduce my brother to you, for without my brother I would not be in contact with you. My brother’s name is Stephen, he is 72 years old and a resident in New Hope almost from the beginning. What can I tell you about him?
He likes baseball and basketball. He graduated from Sullivan County Community College’s College of Excellence with a major in basketball passing. But his true passion is phone books, does he know how to use a phone? Barely, hello, goodbye and done, but phone books he collects.
We are the siblings of radiants of New Hope. We have inherited the task of keeping an eye on our brother, sister. We have inherited a duty of service…”
– Stanley Hirschberg
Stephen came to a labor day party in my house this year, not to celebrate his graduation, but to celebrate my recovery from heart surgery. This was the second time he came to my home in Dutchess County. The first time was our mother’s funeral in 1996. What did Stephen do there, act appropriately and made a comment that made a sad occasion, a tribute to the memory of who we were.
As we left the cemetery Stephen looked out the window of the car and said to the passing headstones, “Taste it without the sugar”. He brought back a memory I had long forgotten, when we had breakfast together, our greatest treat as children was to watch our mother make a face as she drank her coffee black. This was the second time that day Stephen acted as my older brother.
During the funeral, when the Rabbi who presided, paid tribute to our mother’s memory, he knew what to do. He didn’t calculate, he didn’t strategize, he just knew. He put his arm around my shoulder. He didn’t say a word, he did not have to, but in that moment, he was the older brother.
I can’t explain it, and maybe there is no explanation, Stephen just knew. Stephen spends his days going to Rose Hill for daily activities, what he does there, I don’t really know, but whatever he does there he is content. He reads his magazines, and stays by himself. Stephen relates better to staff than his house-mates. He will do his assigned job in his house 103 Dees Drive proudly with supervision. Black coffee in the microwave, a well-set table with knife, fork, spoon and napkin, achievements worth noting.
Another Stephen attribute is his desire to tell stories. My favorite is the story he told when I started attending the yearly case conference meetings. I asked questions since I was in a related field, the field of vision rehabilitation and I had worked with the multiple-handicapped, a group that my brother is a member of. When the meeting was over, I was asked what did I do for a living? I told the counselor, and the counselor smiled, Stephen had told them I was a truck driver. Why? He wanted a brother who was a truck driver. When I asked Stephen why, he smiled and said “I am comical.”