I was born in Germany in 1948, and I was a “blue baby”. I needed oxygen. The hospital didn’t give it to me. It caused permanent brain damage and mental health issues.
We moved to America for a better life when I was a kid. It wasn’t easy being me when I was young. After high school I lived in an institution for a while. My family came to visit me. They saw right away that the place was giving me way too much medicine. I hated it there, and I couldn’t function. My family brought me home.
My parents and my sister Deborah always looked out for me. I worked as a handyman helper on the family properties. I’m great with animals, and I took care of our pets too. I wanted to have more independence. I got my driver’s license, and I was really proud.
I thought about what I truly wanted, and that was to live on my own with my best friend Curtis. We met through our friend Pat who ran a social skills club for Jubilee. Jubilee helped me get government funding for support services, and they helped me and Curtis find a place of our own. I really liked that Jubilee worked hard to get us a place to live together, because that’s what I wanted. We lived together for decades. Would you believe I’ve been with Jubilee for more than 35 years.
A lot has changed over the years. I even got married! I met my beautiful Kate, and we fell in love. In 2009, we had a commitment ceremony. Kate and I just took our next big step together. We moved out of our longtime Jubilee group home, and into an apartment. It’s a little scary, but it’s also exciting. Our Jubilee counselor moved with us, and she’s helping us get used to our new place. Our new building has a big common space for activities, and we walk to free outdoor concerts nearby. I like to grill dinner for us, especially steaks and shrimp. I’m 73 years young, and this feisty old dog is still trying new things.