Feb 19, 2009
A voice from the past
We received a Christmas card this past year with a black Santa on the front. I already knew who it was from by the return address. Someone I hadn't heard from in more than 25 years. When I first met Richard, he was about 9 years old and lived at the Children's Home in Summit County. I became his "big sister" and took him out for a fun time now and then, probably not as often as I could have. That lasted a couple years, time passed, we eventually lost contact. One day I got a call that he was now out on his own, and basically homeless. Children's Services does that to you when you turn 18, ready or not. We picked him up on a street corner with all his worldly possessions in a large trash bag, and he came to live with us for the next three months. Its a bit of a blur, what happened during that time. I do remember my husband sitting down with him every night and trying to explain the benefits of working. And how to go about getting a job. We also hooked him up with the food stamp agency, as well as a "happy" church. (his phrase) We did what we could I think. But Richard had lived most of his life in an environment where all his needs were provided by the Home. When he was forced to leave, he had no clue how the outside world worked. We began to fear this bird would never leave our fluffy little nest if we didn't give him a shove. So we set a deadline. He had to get a job and find a place to live at the end of the three months. Winter was coming. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do to another human being. Richard rose to the occasion and became some kind of apartment manager in an area of town where I'd never stepped foot, until he had us over for dinner. But it provided him a place to live as well as an income. That was his start. I know the church helped him a lot too, and he did something with the music soundboard. That was about the end of our contact with Richard until last Christmas. Fast forward and now he is 46 years old, living out west. We are all anxious to catch up with each other. About all I know right now is apparently he has "kept the faith". Does anything else really matter?