I went to the library and was surprised to see so many people on the internet and sitting around at tables tapping away on laptops or listening to music. I noticed a lot of younger people here, not kids out of school but young adults. I have never seen the library so full before and I think I’ll check the other library in Kent tomorrow to see if it’s packed too. Are these people the newly jobless? Two years ago, there weren’t this many patrons hanging around. I intend to talk to those who are homeless and see if they will tell me their story of how long they have been living this way.
Every so often I drive past Federal Way to see if “M” is still living out of her motor home. She raised two boys out of it and I’d like to see if she’s ok. She was one of my mentors along with a group of others that spent nights in the same parking lots. If it hadn’t been for her and the others, I wouldn’t have known which parking lots were unsafe to spend the night in. I can still remember the look on their faces when I first pulled up to a Wal-Mart parking lot with my 8-year-old and my 2-year-old. One summer, we met another family with kids the same age as mine and they played together in the grassy lot next to the parking lot. I discovered that this family had come down from Alaska to find work but like me, it wasn’t that easy. We lost contact with that family but “M” and a few old timers are still around.
I might even find “A”, an older middle-aged man who befriended us one Christmas in Renton. He is nuttier than a fruitcake but has a heart of gold and he would look out for us while we slept since he stayed up most of the night. One time I was taking a nap and heard gun shots. I sat up and looked through the windshield of the rv to see what was going on but all I could see in the distance near the freeway were several red and blue flashing lights from police cars that were blocking the road ahead. “A” tapped on the driver’s side window and asked if we were alright. I nodded and he told me that the police had chased some guy down the street and from what he could gather, they were telling the guy to get out of the car with his hands up then the guy started shooting at the police. Then an officer shot the rear window out of the car with a shot-gun. I stared ahead and could hear the officers talking to the man through a megaphone telling him to put the gun down. The man who was in the vehicle somehow got out and ran but a few days later, they got him.
“A’s” two constant companions are a dog and a cat and he has been living out of his rusty motor home longer than we have. I admired him for volunteering every holiday season to cook at soup kitchens because he actually trained as a chef. I haven’t seen him in a while and I do worry about him because the last time I saw him, he was recovering from a heart attack. He made me cry once because he worked for the Salvation Army one Christmas and took some of the money he made to buy my daughters a gift each then he pulled a miniature battery operated Christmas tree from behind him and handed it to me. I couldn’t stop staring at the little blinking lights while he told me that he doesn’t talk to too many other homeless people in the area because a lot of the ones he’s met were cooking meth in their rv’s and he didn’t want to be around that but he could see we were just down on our luck and that I was doing the best I could. I do hope I find him soon.