Pettegrew: Words give homelessness a deeper meaning

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 9:34AM

In 1998, an outreach worker in Manchester was interested in the stories of the men and women who were homeless in that area. One of the men liked to write and she asked him to encourage his friends and family to put their thoughts down on paper.

Eventually, “Under the Bridge” is a booklet that was published with those stories and poems. While they are by people who experienced homelessness in Manchester, they might be reflections of a homeless person anywhere.

This book offers a peak into the thoughts and lives of our disenfranchised population. Here are some examples of their writings:

How much is your home worth? Everything. It’s where life happens.

They call me homeless. Do they really know? My heart is my home, so I live alone.

I sleep – alone under the bridge, snuggled against steel beams, my cardboard bed, my pillow of cold air. ...it takes only one emergency to make someone homeless. It can happen to anyone and it’s a long way back ... it is hard to imagine not having a place to live unless it happens to you...

I dream of a time, when all this is done, and I can relax and sit in the sun. It’s a good thought and I like it because it’s a dream caught. Something to be accomplished, like going out and catching a fish. It’s all in making that first wish, because whatever you wish for you can make come true, as long as you believe in you.

Being homeless has taught us how to pray. Having housing has taught us how to pray with gratitude.

As you hide your skeletons in the closet, your home is where you feel secure and safe. Your home is untainted and pure. A kiss from the wind chills your bones; these streets are so cold and no matter who you’re with, you’re always alone.

With thanks to the outreach worker who made this book possible, but most of all, I thank the people whose pieces are printed here for their remarkable and enlightening words.

The Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter in Peterborough helps people in our immediate area find their way back to a secure life.

Our Wish LIST this month includes: a reliable car for a new guest; Pampers, sizes 1 to 4 plus wipes; gift cards to local stores for our guests to use for supplies they cannot buy with food stamps. To donate these items or other things, please call the MATS office: 924-5033 and leave a message for Susan. Or mail an item to P. O. Box 3053 in Peterborough.

Hope Pettegrew is a volunteer at Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter.