Archive for July 15, 2014

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final 3

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Click the Following Link to Purchase:

http://www.amazon.com/Gotta-Find-Home-Conversations-Street/dp/0989931897/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

All proceeds go to those forced onto the streets.

 

Dennis…..

Book is brilliant.

Written in a manner that anyone, even a young adult could read and come away with a clear understanding of life on the streets.

I had seen a documentary about the homeless living underground in NYC and it was incredible. The characters, the sacrifice, the tragedies. It was called “Dark Days,” and it may still be on Netflix:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Days_(film)

I also passed homeless when I worked in downtown NYC. Every day at lunch I would pass this robust black woman with all her shopping carts stuffed with stuff. She was the happiest person I ever meet on the streets. Always a greeting, always a smile. One day she had all her stuff spread out on the sidewalk and I asked her what was wrong? She smiled and said she was spring cleaning. Reminded me that even in her state of life she needed to be organized and rid herself of the unnecessary. A policeman walked by, he didn’t really hassle her but he said it was illegal to set up a flea market on the street. She responded that there was no sign saying this was a flea market. He added that no yard sales or garage sales were permitted. She said “are you kidding? Does this look like my backyard? Does this look like a garage? This is a sidewalk sale…and they have those up and down Seventh Avenue all day with their tables set up with books and art.” The policeman smiled, “you got me there. Just don’t block the walk way.” I thought he was done with her but just as he started to walk away he said “you just never know what you can find at a side walk sale,” and he dropped a ten-dollar bill on her blanket. After a few minutes of silence, she said to me that the cop who just came by wasn’t a full-time cop…he was an angel. Told me he brought her coffee every morning when he was on duty and talked to her. This is why I
can’t tolerate it when they bad mouth policemen. They don’t know the whole story. The relationship they have with the street. This homeless woman was also not stupid. She had a stash of books and she would be seen seated on a fireplug that comes out of a building wall and she’s be reading Hemingway. And I knew she could because she would engage me in conversations about literature. But like you mentioned in your book, I didn’t ask her where she came from. But she was educated.

LIFE Magazine did an article on a bag lady who was found dead on a 1960 subway system platform. She had two shopping carts filled with junk. It was springtime and she was wrapped in three coats, a sweater and a scarf. When the detectives finished fishing through her personal items they found three bank books that added up to over $235,000. Her ID gave her last residence and name. It turns out that she was once a very beautiful, highly paid executive secretary at EXXON. When they went to EXXON people who remembered her said she had gone to lunch one day and never
returned. Never went home. She was reported missing by her boss. She was unmarried. The pictures of her that LIFE Magazine was able to get were astonishing. She was beautiful. They think she may have had amnesia, or a psychotic event. She had been on the streets for over a decade. I’ll never forget that story.

Me? A vagabond of a man (I don’t like to call them bums) in Port Authority approached me and asked me for money or a cigarette. I ignored him. But then, while waiting for my late bus, I went over to the newspaper stand and bought some magazines, candy, cigars and lots of stuff I really didn’t need. A saint must have tapped me on the shoulder as I turned to walk away because I realized I spent over $12 on junk after refusing a homeless man. But, my Uncle always told me not to give them money because they would only buy alcohol. Instead, I bought a pack of cigarettes, a container of coffee, a Coke, and container of soup and a kaiser roll and a donut. I waited for the police to not be looking and as I passed him seated in an alcove I said hello again. A police man did walk over but I cut him off by showing him my WABC-TV identification card — I told him I was interviewing this homeless man and to allow us 15 minutes. He said ok. I gave all the stuff to him, then just as I was about to leave I gave him a cigar for a special day. He never stopped telling me how he was going to share this stuff with his buddies. That’s all that mattered to him. Sharing it. Was he sincere? He was weeping. Every time I saw that man from that day on, I would slip him a coffee, or a pack of cigarettes (that was like money on the streets). He was the most polite person I ever met. Turns out….he was a WWII veteran. The humor? He told me not to get him cold soda — hurts his teeth. This will probably be the only thing I ever did that will help me get into Heaven. Though today, because I am still unemployed in my profession, I work with Special Needs Children. That’s a story in itself.

At the end of my long poem posted here on Writing.com called “Cradle of the Infidels,” I quote a Canadian homeless man who was interviewed by a Canadian reporter in 1983 and asked him why he was the way he was, and why others like him were as well. His response was: With all their education and diplomas, current psychiatry will always fail because doctors are unable to help us forget the past 

I never forgot that.

I loved your book Dennis, the art work, the language. Great piece of work.

Good luck with it. God bless the people who are in it.

John Apice