Friday, March 20, 2009
Message: Hi David,
I like your website. It's interesting how the Universal Mind guides us in life. I was once homeless in Reno, Nevada when I was 19. Although my mother came to my rescue after I tried to do everything in my power to survive on my own as I did not want to be a burden to her. She raised me and four other siblings on her own after my father died in an accident. I was abused as a child as well and didn't even know it until many years later as an adult.
I have always tried to help the homeless in this way or that. One day, I came across a lovely old lady in Redondo Beach, California an area close to where I live. I saw her and realized that she was at least around my own mother's age. I stopped and asked her if she would take some money. She refused. So I asked her in her caution of me, if we could just talk. Initially she was standoffish, which I totally understood. I noticed that she had hands that were deformed. Although that did not bother me and certainly it seemed to not bother her as she was obviously born that way.
She asked me why I was interested in her. I told her that when I saw her, that she reminded me of my mother. And that I wondered how it was that a woman of her age had come to live on the streets. She told me that she had been living this lifestyle (her words) since the late 1940's. She said she used to be one of the original Pismo Beach Beatniks that decided to live outside of what mainstream society had created for itself.
I had told her a little about my street experience. She wasn't shocked or surprised of course. She was 73 years old and had been living her way for about 56 years. She said that she had had a family, but that she was always the outsider. She never mentioned anything about her hands in that regard. But people were even harsher in the '40's and '50's towards people with deformities and mental handicaps.
I thanked her for sharing her story with me and asked her once again if I could offer her any money to help her out even just a little bit. She eventually agreed to take some money but I think she only did so because I seemed a bit melancholy as I had told her that my mother was only a year or so younger than her and yet, she was wasting away in an Alzheimer's care facility in Colorado near my hometown of Aspen. My older brother and youngest sister look after her.
My wife and I worry a lot lately as we barely pay our rent and other bills. I have two children from a previous marriage who live in my neighborhood where we moved to after living 30 miles away for about four years and I was traveling three to four days a week to see my kids and also on the weekends. I had always sworn to myself that I would never abandon my children no matter what, especially after losing my father when I was seven years old. It devastated me and it took me until I was about 19 to stop crying. Losing a parent is tough when you are that young. Although it must be tougher when they are alive, but never really there for you.
My ex-wife has custody, even though she is abusive to my children, the Los Angeles County Department of Family and Child (Services?) granted her full custody even after she had been reported for abusing my son and daughter. Bureaucracy always amazes me. The abuse of my children from when they were infants is another story all together.
I would send you a few bucks, but I would need an actual mailing address as I do not have a credit card. ( got rid of it a few years ago after maxing it out trying to pay my massive child support payments). That's what's killing me. Having to pay my ex-wife for abusing my children. It enrages me. My wife and I have been trying to deal with the fascist state bureaucracy for the last five years. We are presently waiting to hear back from Child Support (Services?) about a court date to reduce my garnishments. I lose more than half of my measly paycheck to my ex-wife every week. I have had such a hard time just giving my kids the simple little things they ask for. We don't even take them to breakfast or out to dinner anymore. That's how tight our money is.
So you see, my fear is ending up on the streets again. I have even thought about talking to my wife about getting a divorce so I will not be a burden on her. My other fear is ending up with Alzheimer's like my mother. I can't live on the street with a disease like that.
It's interesting how we are all just trying to survive. I give thanks everyday for the wonderful woman who thought so much of me that she would be willing to take on my children AND my ex-wife. My children say that they love my wife more than their own mother. That's a sad thing to hear when your children say something so profound that they would rather be with us than their own mother. I have already warned my ex-wife that her children are already moving away from her, distancing themselves from her.
I have a good family and a few good friends and that's all one can ask for in life.
I hope you keep up your blogs and your stories.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Sunday, December 21, 2008 at 1:43PM
O and I had taken over the front room on the first floor, it made it easier to monitor who came and went out the front door- who was trying to get in. It was late one night, and there before us was our gathered loot. (We had ways of getting food that required no money). Chicken and rice from Benny’s, macaroni and
cheese and sweet potatoes from Mama’s, maybe some random groceries from Diane’s line. We had some dumstered bagels and fruit. We reveled in our ability to turn cast off of this society into our nourishment. O had bought cigarettes. I think that night I had found some cds in someone’s garbage and had sold them for 4 dollars apiece so we had cash, and to top it all off we could’ve bought some vodka or been given some weed. It was the epitome of what Dos Blocos stood for, really you didn’t have to go more than two blocks or so to get what you needed then.
The loot sparkled and I remember looking at O knowing we’d have our stomachs contented, be a little high or warm and would then have fun playing with each other, all for free, in our free squat, we were sitting like bandits awaiting the cops but knowing we had the higher power of our barricades and friends at the ready. We were waiting for the fight but knew probably they would come not that night. We were bandits, thieves, connivers and here was our loot, here was our castle. And I said this to O, we relished and named all the good things with flourish, our plans for the big man, how we can get food for tomorrow, all the good stuff we had now, getting excited by our ingenuity. And when that reached a head,
sharing a cigarette.
I went down to go pee in the bucket in the corner, flashlights in my battery fading, I looked up at O struggling with the candles, at the walls of graffiti and posters and all the crap we brought in to put against the walls and windows and to weld together for barricades. Thinking about what this place was, what it meant to me... how I danced in the next room, made a lot of love and lots more friends in the apartments upstairs, of laughing down at stupid cops from the roof and watching their helicopters the next day. Knowing that if it wasn’t their plan to evict us, my daughter and I would have a chance, someplace to live. But we were already defeated. The apartment was in shambles now, going and coming from this building was far more sketchy because of the potential inevitable eviction than it ever was with the junkies that lived here, and I had to send my daughter away while I kept up the fight for this
building and hoped for the best.
I came back up the rickety ladder of a loft someone else built, and we both laughed, looked around us at the ridiculousness at what we were saying- went back on what we said..
‘actually, this place smells like shit. You know, really like someone shit in here...
And we are eating garbage.’
‘and soon we won’t even have a place to live ‘
‘yeah, and we’ll probably be in jail by the end of the week’
I curled up with him, in the echoing dripping space that was someone’s room but was actually used to be a store front long, long ago, and listened to the city outside, I remember seeing my incredibly dirty hand with its rolled cigarette moments before the candle went out and we were left in darkness.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Message: Hello, I happened on your web page through a link you placed in a response to an article in the Florence Times newspaper. I share some experience and beliefs with you. I believe that we are all indeed part of God as God is and that indeed we are the way that the universe is able to be aware of it's own existance. I too have had some really quirky ups and downs and my travels have carried me coast to coast and to 3 continents. I have been everything from an RV park survivor to a fairly successful businessman and back again. I have seen barefoot folks in one room shantys in the Carribean and South America that had much more love in their hearts than our contemporaries here in the US. I have been blessed to have a little bit to give from time to time and looking back on it being able to give a pair of good jeans to a Jamaican or a pair of boots to a barefoot person in Paraguay are two of the best highpoints in my life. Another experience I had that meant a lot to me was giving a bottle of wine to an alcoholic in Nashville after holding him hostage in a Waffle House in downtown. I told him he had to eat and listen to me talk a bit before I paid for it and he took me up on that. I told him that even if he had no desire at all to quit drinking that the AA meeting was just around the corner and that at least it was a warm place to sit and that there were people there that would help him survive the cold of winter to live and fight out another year. I was at one of my low ebbs at the time and not long after that my life improved considerably. I have always wondered what happened to these folks and others like them I met in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. I am now right at 50 years old. I'm lucky at the moment that I have a friend that I helped years ago that is one of the few that bothers to remember a good turn done as he enables me to keep my RV here and draw my unemployment during this, yet again another hard time in my life. The thing I find impressive about your website is the respect you are paying to folks that are down and out and I totally agree with you when you point out that their situations do indeed keep them from getting enough better to get better. I have fear in my heart that as I grow older and less desireable as an employee due to age that I may loose my lucky charm that has seen me through some of the harder times of my life. I'm thankful that I did a couple of tours in the Army and that I can be stoic in the face of it all most of the time. At any rate I wanted you to know that there are indeed others of us out here that can see something of value in someone that is down on their luck or addicted or whatever it is that has them in a pinch where the die hard capitolists have no further use for them. I think from looking at your website and reading your words that you are one of a rare breed of us that doesn't have to gain in money to gain in valuable insight or find value in your fellow man. I hope beyond all hope that after the holiday season is past that I can find a job that will allow me to again earn my living while doing a needed service for just such folks as you pointed out or helping people with mental health or similar issues. Kudos on posting it up there and if ya have the time drop me an email back as I think I would certainly enjoy a chance to chat with a like minded person. Again thanks for making the effort to show you care. Have a good holiday season. Frank