All in all, I had a ball

I remember the name of that town next to Newport News. It was Edisto Gardens, with the strip club, library and Greyhound bus terminal by the mall. Most of the temp work jobs were there but I somehow never qualified for a position with them. But I did end up meeting new friends in that area.

I don’t remember their names but one — “Bear the dog.” Now, I met Bear and his owners when I came across another church offering services. I also met a man named Marvin there. He was the audio-visual guy for this church and he would basically keep the peace between Bear’s owners and the kindly church crowd. I took notice of the place because of my interest in audio-visuals. Also, they had a displayed illustration of a guy so worn out by his job search and life that he wore a hole in the bottom of his shoe sole. It made me laugh cause I had done the same thing to my pair of shoes from Big and Tall that my friend Yusef had bought for me.

This was a church rather than state situation, as I pretty much had to navigate through the churches there for survival services and shelter. And this was my return to the church days.

This one place only gave you 30 days or so and then three on any further return there. That was hard luck because they were very religion-oriented. That’s where I met a guy I’d refer to as the “skinny Hulk Hogan” or Larry Hogan. He looked like him so much I had to ask if Hulk Hogan has a brother named Larry and why was he homeless?

I had a hard time using the word “homeless” to describe myself and my situation even though it was dead-on accurate. I would say I was “displaced” or “in-between” things.

As I wrote about in previous stories, everything was a competition with Yusef!

The church ran a program for sleeping overnight in churches around town. They do something similar up here in Northern Virginia. I was to receive a brand new pair of Timberlands through them but unfortunately never returned back out there. But I still needed state-provided services. That’s when I met Dee Swartz. She would later help me to secure an apartment I never went back to claim all those years later. She was feisty as I recall. I also ended up meeting someone named Barbara Harvey who was positioned in Norfolk near the Salvation Army that’d take in overnight sleepers. Harvey would be key and instrumental in providing the fare for my return home trip after a jail incident. She’s even bought a copy of my poetry book in a show of support.

Issues |Community|Housing|Jobs|Religion|Shelters

Region |Virginia

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