After work, Bruce takes a seat in the recliner of his apartment, his door wide open. From there he chats with his best friend across the hall, Robert, who also relaxes in his recliner after a hard day’s work. Sometimes they talk about their workday, or sing old songs together from their separate homes, like Elvis Presley’s “Jail House Rock,” both their doors wide open to hear one another. When Robert’s not around, Bruce will put on his headphones and sing out-loud to the music. Through all this, you can always hear his police scanner droning in the background.
Bruce has lived in the Thomas Flynn Coop Apartments for 20-plus years, where 14 individuals reside, some in two bedroom units. Both men work during the day at Blue Q, where they prepare trinkets and and small gifts for shipping.
Bruce and Robert travel to work together, spend time at work, then come home together. After decompressing in their separate apartments, they head downstairs to the common room, to hang around with the BCArc staff and other residents to talk, sing, and relax.
“They are typically the first ones down in the afternoon,” says Joy Marino, who manages the co-ops. “Even on their days off from work, they are the first ones downstairs. They are very social.”
Bruce has three sisters and a brother, also a BCArc resident, whom he often has lunch with on his days off.
Despite his large presence–broad shouldered and more than six feet tall—the co-op staff describe him as a “big teddy bear.” In his younger days he skied and golfed often. He has traveled to Hawaii, the Bahamas, and California through tour companies that cater to individuals with disabilities.
“I have always worked,” Bruce says. “And I have always saved my money.” He gets holiday bonuses from Blue Q, which he uses for his trips.
His recreation today is largely limited to painting, arts and crafts, and other more sedate activity. “He may do less extravagant things now that he’s older,” says Joy, “but he’s very active and happy here at the Coop.”