A Conversation with Mike
About a year ago on a rainy day, Mike, recently homeless, arrived in Nashua by bus looking to find shelter. He was cold, in severe pain, and didn't know his way around town. He managed to get to the CVS on Main Street where a kind woman called an ambulance for him. The ambulance arrived and drove him through the parking lot and across the street to Southern NH Hospital. "I could have walked there," he said, laughing, "but I didn't know my way around."
A few years before that, Mike was a master mechanic earning $70,000 a year. He had worked for Caterpillar and was a journeyman under the union for twenty years. Life was good in his $250,000 home with his wife and children. But that all changed. While working in a gravel pit with a two-ton winch, he ruptured a disc in his back. The union gave him an honorable withdrawal and Mike began regular visits to chiropractors and physical therapists for his pain.
Then his wife divorced him. They sold the house, split the proceeds, and he took his portion of goods to an apartment. She wouldn't allow the children to stay with him, however. Eventually his money ran out and he fell behind on his rent. His landlord worked with city welfare to evict him and wouldn't let Mike take his things. He lost everything, including his car.
Mike does not drink alcohol or do drugs. During the summer months, he sleeps wherever the cops let him and he recently acquired a tent. He has no income, was denied disability, and has not contacted his children because he doesn't want them to see him homeless.
Recently Mike started working with the Department of Education to get a total physical and psychological evaluation in hopes of getting a job. With his Associates degree in Applied Science and competent computer skills, he'd like to get a desk job; or because he has his license, he could do something that involves driving.
What he misses most are showers and a place to wash clothing. He sometimes rinses his shirts in a stream. In the meantime, he's grateful for Café Agapé where he can hang out, and he appreciates the warm jackets and socks we gave him over the winter. -submitted by Mary Marchese
Post a Comment
Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.