The Astor Blog

Author: Harry Brown

Astor Memories: Connecting Our Past with Our Future

Do people my age self analyze their past and their future, while applying present circumstances, and ever feel completely satisfied?

Mr. Harry Brown

My answer is of course we do—constantly!
Personally, I find most things in my present and future connect to the past. Over time, I have experienced how these connections make themselves known, how as they unfold or envelope the present and reveal just who I am now.

I was only slightly aware of my self-worth at age eight, when I arrived at Astor, but I was quite aware of whom I was when I left! My youthful confusions gave way to education, my experiences secured my confidence, and my accomplishments validated my self-worth.

Keeping my emotions aside, I can connect each high and low stage to my past because I have always kept Astor as a touchstone in almost every moment of my best achievements and joy, as well as …

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Astor Memories: How Astor Services Shaped My Working Life

The most influential and inspiring messages, with the greatest impact on my life, have always been something spoken quietly to me.Thinking back on the people and staff of Astor always made me wonder about their work and how I can now appreciate what they do. Out of these thoughts came ideas regarding good-works vs. work, career vs. job, calling vs. transitional employment.

Today, I am writing about my working life.

Although absolutely necessary, having and holding employment was never difficult to obtain and manage. Often I found it fun with so many choices. Eventually over my working lifetime I explored five long-term careers, working each of them for 1, 2, 11, 11 and  20 years, respectively. And in pursuit of these professions I did other work: I was a street sweeper, taxi driver, bartender, warehouseman, substitute teacher, roughneck, turkey farmhand, messenger, photographer, waiter, dishwasher, house painter, and a two-time on-screen film extra; I …

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An Astonishing Gift: Christmas Memories from Harry Brown

One Christmas morning at Astor, I was opening gifts retrospectively, donations that included a baseball mitt, model car, model plane, paint by numbers, etc. Nice things! I opened yet another gift box and found an unbelievable treasure.

Inside this Christmas present was a book, a fountain pen and a Timex watch that glowed in the dark (the book remains my singular reminder of this moment in my life at Astor). Also there was a card with a very long letter written inside; my mother introduced me to my family!


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Tools I Learned At Astor

Life Lessons Learned At Astor Still Resonate

More than fifty years have passed since I was a boy residing at Astor Home. The tools I learned and that have been with me throughout my journey since I left Astor have provided me with support, resource and a moral code to live by.

These tools included: patience, practice and a love for learning. The same tools it takes to master many subject areas and to become master in a profession (i.e., Astronaut, Doctor, Engineer, etc.). I became confident, open to learning, open to new things and respectful of wisdom.

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Life Lessons Learned At Astor: Exercise Patience

I Learned Appropriate Responses To My Emotions
While I Was A Young Student At Astor.

While at Astor, I learned a lot of lessons and skills that have served me well over the past several decades since I was a student in the residential program. One lesson that I thought appropriate to write about today, especially in light of the infamous shooting death of a young Black man in Florida, has to do with reactions and how we should control them as individuals and as a group.

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