Sunday, November 4, 2007

Edited version of letter sent to adam while "homeless" in 11/95

(federal govt definition of homeless is "lack of fixed nightime residence")

11/7/95 dark at 4:30 p.m. now!


Dear Adam,

I'm a nervous wreck right now, an aimless leaf in the wind. You would not (or maybe you would) believe the mess I'm in.

The last time I talked to you I was staying @"Sandy's" house and working p/t for Goodwill. I stayed with Sandy until the end of September. The conditions at Goodwill were crazy! I had four supervisors in 2.5 weeks! There were more people working there under "alternative sentencing" than there were paid employees!

The mall that the Goodwill is in is usually deserted. The poor arrangement of Goodwill made us a prime target for hold ups. Many customers seemed shady.

I put an ad up @Village Market health food store seeking a barter for rent situation (due to my poverty) No one answered for 6 weeks. By the third week of September I received some calls. One call was from a man named "Ralph" (a Sufi-Muslim) who was married to a woman named Sarah. They had a baby as well as 2 non-related adult female boarders living in their home. They lived in a very dangerous section of Baltimore called Windsor Hills. (Technically, Windsor Hills itself is an elite, historic enclave surrounded by very high crime neighborhoods) While staying there I heard gunfire on a nightly basis.

Ralph, about 50 y.o. had a shelf full of books on white supremacy. He looked @ me in a weird seductive sort of way when Sarah wasn't around. Sarah, 40, was a stressed out new mother, subjugated by Ralph. Sarah was controlling and disrespectul of me.

I loved her 22 month old, Maya, who was highly intelligent and perceptive. So much so that she screamed when forced to stay with her father! I helped care for Maya and another baby while doing some housework in exchange for rent. Not paying rent really sets one up for exploitation. My room was in the basement. It was not unusual for them to have company. I'd typically retreat to the basement, not feeling welcome.

I kept my p.t job @ Goodwill, coming at the price of a four hour round trip bus commute.

When I got my job offer from "Hell's Bell's" (you don't think a.c. d.c. will sue me for this name change do you?!) an organization serving the developmentally disabled) I left Ralph and Sarah's place accepting a full time live in position out of desperation for an income. I couldn't get any of the other social work positions that I applied for because I didn't have a car.

My new live in job is on the border of Pikesville and Randallstwon, a 10 minute walk from the subway station. I was a house manager for 3 developmentally disabled adults with major behavioral problems. One was mentallly ill with retardation, one had an organic anxiety disorder with obsessive compulsive behavior and the third was severely mentally retarded and yelled alot.

The job was supposed to be 40 hours a week but ended up averaging 70 to 100 hours a week! It was highly stressful and very exploitative. I got no sleep and always felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack, nervous breakdown or both.

Hell's Bell's asked me to sign a contract. It promised me 30 days written notice before dismissing me; yet the idiots put me out on the street on the morning of Weds. Nov. 1 with no notice (making me homeless yet again) Thank goodness I was able to call Sandy and she picked me up again! I'm a genuine bag lady! S. let me stay at her house for one night and then I was forced to call Samson (an Orthodox Jew in Randallstwon who was a history of mental illness) for housing!

I moved in with him on the night of Thursday Nov. 2nd. He's really controlling too. He has no job and sits around telling me bad jokes all day. He has all of these strange rules for the kitchen like keeping his own brand of Kosher and Veganism. I can't bring ANYTHING into his house which even remotely contains animal or dairy products! Needless to say, I AM going hungry.

He is totally overbearing and critical of everyone and everything. Yet, he likes me so much that he is willing to take me around on interviews-etc. etc. I asked him if he could take me to a meeting tonight and he said yes; then he changed his mind! That made me really angry because I'm so socially isolated and I was trying to get to a support group. He brought me to the library tonight, but decided to stay here with me! So, I'm hiding in an aisle writing you this letter!

I feel I've been imprisoned for the past 2 years since the hardest part of the poverty hit. Without a car, I'm like a prisoner.

The library closes in 6 minutes, I'll try to finish in that time but if I can't I'll continue the letter at "home." Adam it doesn't make sense for me stay in slimy Baltimore with no job.

11/8/95 Weds. 2:55 p.m.

I am at Owings Mills Mall. I just had an interview with American Eagle Outfitters. (My interviewer was very sweet, very beautiful, about 25, from West Virginia) I was honest with her about having been fired from Hell's Bells. She appreciated my honesty. I applied for a stocking position because I can't handle the fast pace of customer service. She said she'll call my references and then get back to me. Since I don't want to sit around Samson's house all day and have him constantly demanding my attention, this would get me out of the house.

It's kind of weird that out of one side of Samson's mouth he says that he'd really like to see me move forward in life and wants me to live in his house as long as possible; yet he nitpicks (like obsessive compulsve cleanliness) to no end. He says that he'll be a reference for me as his "live-in social worker" even though I never agreed to be that to him! He claims that I'm one of the most special people he's ever met and that I'm a real mensch who has a therapeutic effect on him, but he makes me a nervous wreck! He tells me that no one in the Jewish community or anywhere else for that matter,likes him.

He's fighting a legal battle over his mother's house and he's trying to get me totally involved. He hates his sister who came to his deceased mother's house and according to him STOLE furniture, a computer and more. He says there is a chance that we could both get evicted with no notice! I can never count on ANY security in my life!

I'd like to move somewhere warm, not hot or cold. I have no strong ties here in Baltimore. Samson is giving me "free" rent. I'd really like to go west. I'd like to spend about 1 week in Lafayette.

I have only made it to church 2 times in 5 months because of having no transportation. I've made practically no new friends.

I'm 32 and and my life is passing me by. I need to find a reason to go on living. There is so much hatred and killing here in Baltimore that it gives me no faith in the human race.



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