Lucy Perillo Buttermark to Present Her Memoir MY ANGEL WITHOUT WINGS, 3/16

Related: Lucy Perillo Buttermark, Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
Lucy Perillo Buttermark to Present Her Memoir MY ANGEL WITHOUT WINGS, 3/16

On Sunday, March 16 at 2 p.m. author and founder of Eden II?School for Autistic Children, Lucy Perillo Buttermark, will discuss her heartwarming memoir, "My Angel Without Wings," and autograph copies of her book.

"My Angel Without Wings" tells the story of her son, Johnny, who was expelled from school at age 5 due to his hyperactive nature and autism. Advised by a doctor in the 1960s to put her son in Willowbrook State School, Mrs. Buttermark decided instead to school Johnny herself. After a year of seemingly futile struggle, her tutelage began to pay off, and Johnny began to learn. Believing she could better help him reach his full potential by enrolling him in a school for autistic children, Mrs. Buttermark searched in vain for such a school. She reached out to other families with the same problem, and realized that, in order to send her son to such a school, she'd have to create it herself. When Johnny was 15 she and her husband, along with five other couples, founded the Eden II?School for Autistic Children in Mariners Harbor. Beginning with just six children, this first special needs school in New York City today serves more than 400 students.

The book is filled with uplifting as well as humorous anecdotes. One day before Thanksgiving Mrs. Buttermark was busy with preparations for the next day's feast when Johnny insisted she come upstairs to look at his pet fish, Charlie. She told him she'd be up later, and shortly thereafter an ambulance arrived and the Emergency Medical Technicians rushed in asking, "Where's Charlie?"

Through it all, Mrs. Buttermark's message to other parents of children with developmental disabilities is that they should "never, ever, EVER give up on your child." She hopes her inspirational tale, chronicling Johnny's journey to unprecedented heights in sports and life, will prove to all that no disability-whether mental, physical or both-should prevent anyone from achieving success.

Admission of $10 includes a light reception. Books will be available for sale for the author to sign. The author's brother, renowned artist Gregory Perillo, designed the book cover and will also be on hand to autograph it.

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum was the home of Antonio Meucci, the true inventor of the telephone, and a refuge to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the legendary hero who championed the unification of Italy. For over 50 years the museum has fulfilled its mission to preserve the legacies of these great men, and to promote understanding of the Italian-American heritage through cultural, artistic and educational programs and classes. The historic Italian landmark on Staten Island, the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is owned by the Sons of Italy Foundation and administered by the NYSOSIA?GMM?Board of Commissioners.

Regular museum hours are 1 p.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 per person, members and children under 10 are free. Call ahead for groups of 10 or more. The first floor of the museum is wheelchair accessible, but the restroom is on the second floor. At press time, program funding has been provided through the Order Sons of Italy in America; by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Richmond County Savings Foundation; Northfield Bank Foundation; Coccia Foundation; JP Morgan Chase Regrant in partnership with the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI); The Staten Island Foundation; The Lois and Richard Nicotra Foundation and by grants allocated by New York City Council members Vincent Ignizio and James Oddo.

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