Robert’s Story

Robert (son) and Mona Hawkins
Mona and RobertRobert’s Story as told by Mona
Written by Sandra Trolian

Robert is my son who lives in Redonda house now. He has a younger brother who was very good to him when he was just a baby and often liked to hold him. Robert talked when he was three years old. But when he started school, he was disruptive and talked too much, so I taught him at home. Then in Grade two there was a special class set up with about four or five other children. The parents started this in Cranberry with Jean Pike who described these children as “less than perfect sons.” Then other parents were called to invite them to bring their children to attend this class. The parents would drive the children to school at Dwight Hall and volunteers worked there. That was the beginning of inclusion Powell River.

Gerry Gray was there for probably 45 years. We used to have raffles and such to raise money for the center. Gerry used to work at the newspaper and would advertise the group as the Society for the Handicapped.

Then Robert went to Ladner to the farm training program when he was 13 years old. He worked hard at picking beans, but he didn’t like it. He then lived at home with us until a group home was ready for him.

Robert likes to read. When he visits me he always looks through my books to see if I have read what he has given me to read. He knows my birthday and remembers it every year. He comes to Kiwanis Manor on Wednesdays to have a visit and have dinner with me. I think he knows everybody’s name here.

Robert’s Story
Written by Sandra Trolian

My name is Robert and I was born here in Powell River in 1948. I lived at home with my parents and brother, Gary. He is really good to me. I went to Brooks School for a while as well as Henderson, J.P. Dallas and lots of other schools, but I think the teachers had trouble with me. They used to call me a “spoiled brat.” So my mom did some home schooling so I could learn to read. I read a lot and I really like to read. I’d like to go to university, if it would work out.

After high school, I left home to the mainland for some help with my disabilities, but I didn’t like it there very much, and then I went to a farm to work. I didn’t like this very much, and came back to Powell River to live in a group home. I can’t live on my own. I was 45 years old then. I lived at Joyce house first and then Redonda with three other people.

I used to work at Walmart for about two years as a greeter and I met Rick there. He still comes by for visits once in a while.

I go to my mom’s place in Kiwanis for dinner every Wednesday and I know a lot of people there, too. I like people and can remember their names really well. I get spoiled there because they often give me extra desserts which I love! I also like to use their library to borrow books.

I have lived in Redonda for years. I like it here very much. Sometimes, I help in the kitchen because I like eating. I also help with the recycling. Sometimes, I go out for dinners or for drives all over town. I pretty much have my own life. I really like the staff here because they are so friendly.