blog

Humans of Bedford and Sensible thoughts

May 31, 2019

"The thing that I'm most interested in, the musical center for me, is working with the women in the prison. and helping them pull out their ideas as composers. We have a class called "Music Theory in Action," crafting a song with the women in the prison through Rehabilitation Through the Arts. We have 12 women in our group and they're great. Some of them have written beautiful stuff. But we are not permitted to record their music because some of them might be sneaking out secret messages. But I think we're right on the edge of being able -as long as the work is checked out before it leaves the prison- to actually record them in a formal way with real instruments and professionals. It's a good class and I've been doing it for 8 yrs, and this particular class focusing on composition and songwriting, has been its 2nd full year. We have finally been able to get them their own keyboards that they can take to class and to their cells with them. We would, of course, love it if they would practice a little more. If you said what one thing could you not do without, it would be working with the women [in the prison].

May 27, 2019

Happy Memorial Day?

In passing, someone wished me a 'happy Memorial Day' this weekend. I took it as intended but thought, what an odd way to greet someone knowing the day's intention. And yet, so common.

So I did what anyone would do. I googled 'why Happy Memorial Day." The first two links contradicted each other. The first, an article written by a Navy Pilot who taught at The Citadel, explains, 'Happy Memorial Day' is perfectly OK with him. The next is People Magazine warning us not to say 'Happy Memorial Day' because it's flat out inappropriate.

And so it goes. Pieces quoting veterans and government officials on both sides of the argument explaining why you should or shouldn't say it. Then to Miss Manners and editorials by anyone who wants to chime on both sides doing the same. 

So please, whatever greeting you use and however you observe, please just do so with respect and intention.

May 24, 2019

"She comes home with me every night so we bond. I have two other shepherds. When she retires I plan to adopt her."

May 22, 2019

What if...

What if the main attraction in Bedford Hills wasn’t the train station, people catching their ride or picking up their passenger, then leaving?

What if it was a destination?

What if it had... a coffeehouse? Where seniors and parents with young children congregate during school hours, where youth hang out after school, where adults go in the evening for trivia night, hear a cappella or some jazz? In the center of town, walkable for the many people without reliable transportation (our seniors, youth, immigrants)?

What if... more of what you wanted in Bedford Hills set down roots?

This is my vision. I don’t say ‘can’t.’ I say, ‘how can we.’

May 17, 2019

"I walked into the post office and you would have thought they never saw a person with such dark skin before. Suddenly, women began clutching their bags. When I was leaving, there was an elderly gentleman who was having trouble and I held the door open for him. They were watching me like I was trying to do something. Thank goodness he walked through and said 'thank you' because they realized I was just being human and wasn't there to do anything to anyone."

May 3, 2019

"We placed a successor dog with a 17 year old, Matthew. His past service dog unfortunately passed away from osteosarcoma. Matthew had grown up a little bit and matured, and after they lost Sanders his family wondered if they really needed another service dog. Six months after they lost Sanders, Matthew bolted. The police and the entire family scrambled to find him on Easter for30 minutes. They went back to life the way it had been before a service dog: 'we’re going to divide-- I’m going out with our other son who is typical, and someone will stay home with Matthew.' They realized they needed another dog. 

We placed Benny with them in March. Within days they were able to travel out of the house again. Matthew stopped bolting as long as he was with Benny, and his whole demeanor changed in public. He is nonverbal, but had been a kid who would walk facing down, kind of hunched over, anxious to be out in new places. Walking with Benny, his mom, and his brother, he had his shoulders tall, his eyes lifted and he was smiling. He was proud to be out in the community, walking down the street, going to the mall or to church with his dog. Not just Matthew benefits from having the dog in the home, but so do his parents and his younger sibling, who had constant anxiety about his brother’s safety. Danny not only knows Matt is safe, but he has this new best friend he can play with. 

One of the things they’re loving is that Matt is so much more interactive with Benny than he was with Sanders. We don’t know if it was because it’s a different dog, or the age change, but they giggle and play all the time. One of the things we always say our dogs do for people is that they have this ability to connect, and to love unconditionally in a relationship where words don’t matter at all."

Michelle founded 

https://www.facebook.com/BluePathServiceDogs/  in Bedford and provides autism service dogs to local families in need.

April 26, 2019

2/2 - "I hate the notion that bullying is acceptable, a part of growing up. This should not be a part of growing up, and it shouldn’t just be accepted that you might be bullied if you go to school. School should be a place that’s safe, undeniably safe, for everyone who goes. It shouldn’t be that because of who you are or how you identify, that safety everyone deserves, and that right to an education, is taken away from you, and it’s really sad that school can fail so many people."

April 26, 2019

1/2 - "At school while we were waiting for the buses, the kid threw a rock at me while saying homophobic slurs. My little sister saw, freaked out and took me to the nurse’s office. The nurse said, ‘are you sure? It doesn’t sound like anyone would do this.’ She tried to send me on the bus. My little sister called my mom. My mom came and picked us up. I was hysterically crying. They didn’t call the principal or administrator until my mom came … I had incidences where people were calling me homophobic names… these violent kids slammed me into a locker and I went home, my head hurting really bad. My parents called the school, and they said they were nice boys. They wouldn’t do this. No consequences. I missed 35, 40 days of school."

April 12, 2019

"Everybody has problems. Rich. Poor. Everybody has different problems. You never really know what goes on behind closed doors. So, if you think that some people don’t have problems... they all do. In EMS, you’re coming into people’s houses on short notice, and you see what’s going on in their lives. If you understand that, when you look at your own issues and think they’re insurmountable, everyone else out there, people you'd think would never have problems, they do. They all have problems. Quirkiness. Whatever you want to call it. And the best thing you can do is come in and treat everybody with respect."

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Bittker 4 Bedford