Today’s story reminds us all to be grateful for the blessings in our lives and to have hope for the future when times are hard. This story comes from Tom who used to lived in San Francisco. He experienced the traumatic loss of his mother at an early age followed by homelessness but he still made it out of those dark times to lead a successful life. We are thankful that he shared his story with us at rtor.org. —Veronique Hoebeke, Associate Editor
I’m 74 and married for 51 years. As you grow older you begin to notice that others complain about their early years growing up even when they had a family to live with. I had no such upbringing. I lived with my mom for the first 11 years until one day I went to wake up my mom and she had died in her sleep during the night. I was totally very close to my mom. I lived with her husband along with my sister at his house. I never got along with him but I was always in trouble at school and he did not like that and he of course didn’t take to me. After one month after my mom died I left the house and lived homeless down at the park across the street from the Police station. Anyway I didn’t have anyone—although my Dad once in a while gave me some money to live on for food. He was ok but he had another life and didn’t spend much time for me but I still loved him.
To hear other people talk how they didn’t get along with their parents—they still had a place to sleep and had all their meals. See, I remember in those days I remember Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving—I had no place to go . One Thanksgiving I did take the bus to Neilson’s Cafeteria and met my Dad for a Turkey dinner and got to stay at his one room apartment but then had to leave the next morning. My cousins when I saw them would complain about their mom and dad—they seemed like brats to me. I was not close to any of them. I was on my own since I was 12 and indeed I would have my clothes washed at the laundry mat when my dad gave me money. I lived in a tree grove with 5 other homeless people and I was the only young person. EVERY Saturday I would take the bus and visit my mom’s grave for about an hour then come back to the tree grove. I tell ya, it was very sad for me and very lonely. I didn’t bother my sister since she was married with a child and I didn’t want to infringe.
Fast forward—I went in to the Army for two years in 1960 then I signed a professional baseball contract and played 4 years in Major Leagues with 2 different organizations. I was successful. After leaving baseball I stayed in it for three different Major Leagues as a Head Scout and in the executive office for 3 years. But while in the service and the baseball years I always remembered those homeless years. I don’t feel sorry for myself at all—but I often wondered why do people who have everything cry about their families when they were given everything. I won’t go into my life anymore but I just wanted to tell you my story —I had no help both financially, no room and board and mostly no family love (which kids often complain about) but I still made a successful life for myself.
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