Archive for July 30, 2014

$2.97 download. Proceeds go to people forced onto the streets. R2R

5.0 out of 5 stars: Very Well Written and Enlightening, July 29, 2014
By Irish Times (Chicago, Illinois)

This review is from: Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People (Kindle Edition)

I walk past homeless people as I leave the train station and head to my office every single day. Over time I have come to not even see them anymore. It is as if they are no different than the trash that litters the sidewalk. This book opened my eyes. The writing was superb and the author did a good job telling these people’s tales. It was at times heart wrenching but yet still uplifting to see that despite their lot in life most seem to still have a good outlook on life. Some of those stories were pretty funny too, nice to see that they can still see the humor in things.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to not know where your next meal is coming from or where I am going to sleep. This book brings back their humanity to people like me and hopefully I am a better person for it.

 

Writing about the homeless and helping the homeless, has given my life a purpose that it didn’t have before. Documenting their stories will, I hope, introduce them to the public in a non-threatening way. Some panhandlers look intimidating, but…

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30 July 2014

Chuck was bundled in his raincoat with his hood pulled over his cap. He had to keep readjusting his hood so it wouldn’t slip over his eyes. “Hi Chuck”, I said, “are you managing to keep dry?”

“Yeah, it’s not too bad now. When it rained heavily I took shelter. I always keep a plastic bag to put over the hand controls so they don’t short-circuit.”

I asked, “Have you heard that Joy’s in hospital.”

“That’s too bad. What’s she in for.”

“It’s her fibromyalgia, she wasn’t able to get out of bed yesterday. Her legs were too weak to stand and her arms were weak.”

“I feel bad now criticizing her for not being down here. I hate hospitals. Did you hear about the daughter who came from another country to visit her parents in hospital? They couldn’t find them.  How disorganized can they be. Did you see that movie with a similar theme?”

“I don’t think so. Who was in it?”

“It was that Canadian guy. The movie was filmed in one of the hospitals here.”

I asked, “The actor, is he an old guy?”

“Well, he is now. He has sort of a deep voice.”

“Donald Sutherland?”

“Yeah, that’s him. I had a close friend who went to hospital. I don’t know if it was the meds he was on, but when I visited he didn’t recognize me.”

“Perhaps it was dementia.”

“I don’t know. For some reason his mind was all scrambled. It reminds me of another guy who lived in the same rooming house as I did. It was in a rough area.  He became an alcoholic, lost his business, his family. He just fell to pieces. When he was in hospital his wife came to visit. She told him that if he quit drinking, she’d consider letting him return to living in their home. Things were going well, six months past and he hadn’t had a drink. She invited him over for Christmas. Everything was fine. After about eighteen months sober they were invited to a party. She ordered a drink, he drank soda water. She said, ‘I can’t spend time with you, because my boyfriend’s here. The guy, Suitcase Henry, went straight to the bar and got wasted. Eighteen months down the drain.

I asked, “Is it difficult to get into a rehab program?”

“It’s easy to get into rehab. Getting into a program can take months. I don’t have very much faith in those programs. They’re all basically twelve step programs. There’s a lot of chatting back and forth. Some people find there’s too much religion involved. It’s hard, once you’re an alcoholic, you’re always an alcoholic. Sometimes when I’m with my sons, they’ll offer me a drink. I think about it, but drinking makes your mind go crazy. If I had a drink, I’d want a smoke. They just go together. If I had a smoke, I’d die.”

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