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Listen to Our Stories: Words, Pictures, and Songs by Young People with Disabilities
Listen to Our Stories: Words, Pictures, and Songs by Young People with Disabilities




First I must mention with deep gratitude two friends who were pivotal in the development of this anthology. Sharon Wachsler — writer, editor, and disability activist — provided hands on assistance and buoyed me up time and again. She transcribed interviews, performed Internet searches, acted as listener and wise consultant at innumerable crossroads, and played an instrumental role in many of my editorial decisions. Judith Serkin — musician sublime and beloved friend of over forty years — helped me surmount the final hurdles to getting these pages published. When I was ready to give up on ever seeing Listen to Our Stories in print, her belief in the project infused me with my original enthusiasm. When I needed someone to help with the last round of editing, she took on that task, with her usual, but extraordinary, sensitivity, insight, and sense of wonder.

I have been blessed with many other gifted and loving friends and family members who stepped in at critical junctures to offer editorial suggestions, moral or material support, and practical advice. I extend my warmest thanks to Doris Reisig and Ashley Lieberman, friends of rare goodness and generosity. Each gave me refuge from many a storm and lent a hand — as well as lots of brainpower and plain common sense — in performing chores necessary for the completion of this anthology. Doris also stood in frequently as my personal Roget.

Maria Damon, with whom I share a long and treasured history, gave me astute editorial advice, lots of encouragement and support, and the much-needed sustenance of friendship. I also received invaluable editorial advice from Meryl Natchez and Jan Solet, both friends of many years. In addition, Meryl donated a computer, which has been an essential tool in the compilation of this anthology.

Two dear friends and colleagues, Pam Rogers and Hillary Goodridge, each provided expert and indefatigably upbeat guidance when I was looking for funding. Pam also made many useful suggestions about finding a publisher and reminded me of the value of this project when my efforts to get published didn’t meet with immediate success.

My heartfelt thanks to my father, Raphael Hillyer, whose enthusiasm for this anthology is a source of great delight to me and whose material contributions allowed me to complete this project. My father’s support means more to me than he could ever know.

I wish to express my warm appreciation to Lisa Gray of Gray’s Web Design for creating this website. With fine artistry and the utmost patience, Lisa made my dream of putting Listen to Our Stories out in the world a reality. Brian Chase and Deborah Peckham, attorneys with Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault, LLP, gave me excellent legal advice as I prepared to put this anthology online. I am extremely grateful to them, as well as to Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts, which located Brian and Deborah for me. Many thanks also to Lucy D. Lovrien for giving me legal advice during the early stages of this project; to music copyists David Harris, Jeffrey Lependorf, and Nicholas Urie for their preparation of the songs in this anthology; and to Richard Flint and Ruth Kahn for offering me guidance in describing the visual artwork.

Other friends, family, and colleagues to whom I’m especially grateful for the support, inspiration, and guidance they have provided: Meg Perkins Ames; Andrea Bader; Freddie and Sy Bluhm; Ginger Chappell; Betsy Franco; Kenny Fries; Betsy Gould; Cindy Higgins; Nitra, Jonathan, and Reiko Hillyer; Amy Hoffman; Denise Karuth; Greg Kimber; Helen Kudatsky; Jim LaBonté; Michael Lowenthal; Kathy Mireault; Betsy Neale; J. Archer O’Reilly III; Rosemarie Oulette; Virginia Pratt; Nancy and Tom Schock; Lesa Soodak; Ann Spanel; Maren C. Tirabassi; Christina Ward; Betsy Wilson; and Karen Kane Yee.

The compilation of Listen to Our Stories required the assistance of countless other individuals: the scores of people who helped me locate the young people who contributed to these pages; and the many parents, teachers, and caretakers who helped make their contributions possible. As there are too many to name them all here, the following is a partial list only: Diane Austin, Subhashini Balagopal, Margo Black, Roxanne Black, Jennifer Burkin, Num Chamroeun, Mary DeLorenzo, Donald Drake, Tisa Edwards, June Fay, Margo Fisher-Martin, Nancy S. Goldberg, Roxanne Goldenstein, Robin Grant, Sandra Greenberg, June Gross, Marie Hennessy, Brooke Heraty, Bo and Susie Johnson, Judith Kolligian, Kathi-Elizabeth Laliberté, Sharon E. Libera, Elizabeth M. Maloney, Edward J. Mulligan, Marcia Randall, Mary Ann Sava, Andrea Schievella, Rocky Tomascoff, Rosanne Trolan, Susan Turbenson, Lori Wiener, and Irene Wilkenfeld.

And finally, I wish to acknowledge the young people who have so generously contributed their stories to this anthology. I can’t thank them enough; their words, pictures, and songs are a wonderful gift both to me and to the visitors of this website.




spacerLinda Hillyer, compiler and editor of Listen to Our Stories
logo art by Adiyana Paramita
The combined contents of this website are © 2006-17 Linda Hillyer. All rights reserved.