Happy To Stay Home

Fabio was famous as a model for the covers of romance novels. He had the gorgeous long, blond hair and muscular physique typical of a bodice-ripping hero. He's since become a romance novel himself and is still seen on commercials and in cameo roles on TV and film. CBS

CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman regularly demonstrates that everybody has a story worth telling, and he does it by throwing a dart at a map and going to the place on the map where the dart lands.

This time, the random throw of a dart pointed him to a woman whose story is tightly bound to that of a son who is facing an uncertain future in a cold world.



When you travel America at the mercy of a dart, you realize something's terribly wrong with this country, especially at wintertime. For one thing, Hawaii isn't big enough. Hitting it with a dart would require one really bad throw.

This time, the throw landed Hartman in Benton, Illinois, where Carmine Lampley answered the phone. She's 67, and has raised enough kids to darn near make a baseball team.

"Eight is enough," she said.

But her story centers on just one of her children. Rusty Lampley came into this world looking like any other baby, but a few days after he was born, doctors noticed something unusual in the palm of his hand.

"His line goes straight across. They say it's one of the signs of Down syndrome," Carmine Lampley said.

Tests showed it was quite severe. Doctors suggested putting him in an institution, but Carmine said no.

"I said he didn't ask to be brought into this world and I said I'm going to take him home and treat him just like a regular kid," Carmine said

Her decision was part of a huge trend in the early '70s, when parents started bringing kids like Rusty home with them.

Twenty-seven years later, her decision seems to have done him well. His passions include "The King," Elvis Presley, and steamy soap operas. Yet even though he's now considered high-functioning, one thing you won't find him doing is work.

"I hate that! Yes, I do," he said.

"He's a very functional human being who should be out having a life of his own," said Karen Furlow.

Track Hartman's travels via the Everybody Has A Story archive.
Furlow was Rusty's special education teacher. She worries that his lack of a job hurts him. She asked, "How good can you feel about yourself when you've done nothing all day long?"

Furlow says the vast majority of people with Down syndrome who could support themselves aren't doing it. Not just because employers won't give them a chance — although that certainly is a problem — but because often their own parents won' either.

"They don't want to leave the kids. They don't want to send 'em out. They're scared for them," Furlow said not unsympathetically.

"I'm afraid people will take advantage of him," Carmine explained.
There's a rub to those good intentions, and even Rusty knows it. He knows that his parents aren't going to be around forever, and it worries him.

Soon people like Rusty and their aging parents will be forced to find solutions. The good news, for Rusty at least, is that he has a whole baseball team on deck. That said, Carmine's not going let him go anytime soon. You don't need to be a palm reader to see that.

  • Nick Sambides

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