Monday, June 28, 2004

Street Legal Part II

A few years ago, we received a phone call from my brother-in-law. He told us that his daughter Sally had just left the house and was on her way to the big city. She was hitchhiking with a friend and expected to be in the city in about 3 days. She promised to keep in tough with her parents and call us when she arrived. Her plan was to live like a street person and see what life was all about. Her father asked us to be supportive if possible, but try not to get too close as that would probably push her away from the family. We said we would do our best and she was welcome in our home.
Sally did call her parents from time to time so they knew that she was alive. We didn't hear from her for about 3 weeks. One morning, very early, maybe about 6 am, we received a call from her. She needed help. She was hungry and needed food. Would we please buy food for her and the people she was living with? And oh yes, include some milk and baby food in the order as there was a small baby living there and she wanted to do something for him. Sally gave us an address and said the door would be open so we could go right in. I asked her what she wanted and she said regular nutritious food, things like toothpaste, toilet paper etc. and a box of Count Chocula, and maybe some chocolate as it has been a long time since she tasted any of these favorites. She then hung up the phone.
Naturally, we were concerned about her health. What was one to do? We called Sally's parents. Sally's mother was not the kind of mother most of us would have like to have, but she loved her children and never abused them physically. Mentally, now that could be debatable. Sally's father always tried to do the right thing, but he himself needed to be taken care of. That's not a bad thing, many men are like that and their women do look after them. These two were both needy so it was not a good situation for a stable marriage and raising kids. I digress. Sally's father said that we shouldn't believe her and we shouldn't buy the groceries. Maybe give her $20.00 but that's all. I found that to be somewhat cold hearted, and I rejected his counsel. So I went shopping with my daughter who was about 14 at the time. It was an interesting experience. My daughter wanted to purchase all kinds of sugary cereals as they were "nutritious" as well as tasty. Lots of chocolate, cheese, fruit, some vegetables, and toiletries. When we were finished we had spent close to $300.00.
We transported all this food to an address in a seedy part of the city. Indeed the door was open. A long set of stairs immediately went up to an apartment. The smell was atrocious and got worse as we made our way up the stairs. We didn't want to believe that Sally was really living there but she was of course. There is no need to paint a picture of what we found, you can imagine it and it would be correct. What we did find were 2 huge Dobermans, very scary but they didn't hurt us, a tiny kitchen, very dirty, dirty baby bottles, everything dirty dirty dirty. I won't discuss the bathroom. One bedroomn with piles of clothes and sleeping bags covering the floor. It seemed like about 10 people all slept there together. We quickly put the food away and left. The smell clung to our clothes and made our eyes water. Looking back, all I can say is I am glad my daughter accompanied me. She saw a side of life that she would remember for a long time. She would need that picture in her mind for later years, when her own behavior became unruly. Thank you for reading and I will tell more of this unfortunate story later.


At 2:08 PM, Blogger AJ said...

Wow...that's some powerful stuff there Maddy. Thanks for sharing it. Your sister-in-law reminds me a lot of someone else I knew... :)

Keep up the great work! This is a fascinating story. I'm anxious to hear the angle involving your duaghter, if you choose to share it.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Chuck said...

Awesome post. I myself have always been interested in the "nomad lifestyle", but it sounds like she's on the worst end. I hope this girl makes it back home soon. Can't wait to read more.

At 6:27 AM, Blogger jakethelad said...

Hey Maddy, what do we do? Man!! Sometimes it's really hard to know what to do. How to help someone like that. Thanks.


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