Evil Church Folk

The next shelter operated under a church…The temperature’s generally cold in there so we stayed layered up with jackets. We all lived in a room right beside the church. They welcomed us to the deserted early morning service but nothing else. We were under strict orders not to talk to the congregation. We weren’t allowed to interact. In fact, we had to stay as far away from them as possible, especially during service. They were afraid of us. They were afraid of a bunch of homeless people wandering around their church. It made them nervous. They couldn’t tell the homeless people there were all families. They couldn’t distinguish between us and dirty vagabonds on the corner drinking and swearing…The shower wasn’t in the building where we slept, though. Some genius put it across the parking lot. We could only take showers at designated intervals, those slots mainly around service times where more staff could monitor us. To take a shower, we had to strip down to meager towels and walk across the parking lot to the shower building with everyone around watching. Without a doubt one of the most embarrassing things I had ever done. I couldn’t begin to describe the humiliation all those cold eyes feeling sympathetic toward us, glad we were unfortunate and not them, it made me feel so bad. It didn’t make sense to me why we had to strip down to our bare essentials. I think they said an incident had happened which made them have to create such an embarrassing ordeal. They moved out of our path, far enough so we couldn’t touch them, but hovered around us close enough to get a good view….They made the ordeal even worse. They just kept staring. No smiles, no friendly conversation, just relentless attention. They didn’t whisper about us, they just silently watched.

My Way Home: Growing Up Homeless in America by Michael Gaulden

From the preface:

This memoir covers the latter part of my homeless journey, ranging from age fourteen to seventeen, predominately my high school years. The horror of my homelessness is what I call it. Allow me to take you down my path and to walk in my footsteps along my own hellacious underground railroad. If you are reading this in the midst of your own overwhelmingly challenging journey, it is you for whom I write….It is you whom I urge not to quit. I know your pain and through my pain, I wish to give you strength. For everyone else reading this, please understand my story is only one of millions of other homeless people.

Thrill of Facing Fear

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I keep climbing, not only because I can’t back down without falling but because I feel so good all of a sudden. I faced my fears and won.

If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska by Heather Lende

Voices of Others: Dr. King’s Dream

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“…I swear there’s more but the homeless tend to disappear…domestic homelessness is lethal…did I just lose my home or my humanity?…It takes the community to change the community…”

  • Michael Gaulden – Home Page
  • Michael Gaulden – Facebook
  • Michael Gaulden – Biography:

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Just Watch The Dancers

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Listen to the land, listen to one another. Slow down and reach into the uncomfortable spaces ignored for centuries. Touch the wounds in our hearts and the earth. Show up with courage. Set down dominion. Step with kindness. It’s not complicated, really. Just watch the dancers. Follow the circle.

White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A Memoir by Nora Murphy

 

Listening, Learning and Pride

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Often, humor was the antidote to loss. The more I listened, the more I learned. Sometimes the lessons cost me my pride.

White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A Memoir by Nora Murphy

 

Crucial Storytelling

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We had been taught not to look back. We had been trained to disconnect from family and our homelands. We had swapped our stories for a dream. To survive we need to find, and then share, our interlinking stories.

White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A Memoir by Nora Murphy

 

Innocence is Precious

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To me, the longer a child believes in Santa Claus, the longer they hold on to their innocence, which is a very precious thing.

Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas by Sal Lizard, Jonathan P. Lane

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Wishes and Childhood

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Children want and need to believe that wishes can come true; that’s part of the joy of childhood.

Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas by Sal Lizard, Jonathan P. Lane

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Adults Love Santa Too

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I’ve never been able to explain the phenomenon of adults loving Santa, but I have a theory that seeing me jogs happy memories. I think a lot of us wish we could be children again, becoming breathless with Christmas excitement and believing with all our hearts that wishes can come true. I know I do! I think every grown-up wants to recapture that sense of wonder, even for a moment. And that’s exactly what Santa Claus allows them to do.

Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas by Sal Lizard, Jonathan P. Lane

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Children Are Important

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“Every child is special, every child is important, and every child deserves our respect. No child’s opinions or ideas should ever be stifled or ignored. Because ultimately, as Santa knows, the smallest among us can sometimes make the biggest difference.”

Being Santa Claus: What I Learned about the True Meaning of Christmas by Sal Lizard, Jonathan P. Lane