When I and my gang of traveling vagabonds left the hometown with just the clothing we wore plus a few other apparel choices, our 5-10 dogs, and panel truck to live in, plus enough weed and LSD to sink a military ship, we didn’t consider the Politics of our actions. We knew the US government had gone mad and the social norms based on accepted ways to live no longer meant anything to us, as if they ever did.
This was the end of the 1960’s, after all, and the Vietnam war was raging and all our beloved leaders had been shot down.
We were forced to live in the present moment.
No one wanted to put us up, so that winter, we lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, moved on to Velaca Lake in upper state New York, (strangely, I can’t find this lake in my google searches) and further on to the woods near Williams College in Massachusetts.
I remember when my down sleeping bag got wet and in attempting to dry it by an open fire, went up in flames. My only security–gone.
We picked up most of the down feathers, stuffed them back in the sleeping bag, and I sewed it up. Not quite as fluffy as before, but it worked.
A sewing kit is indispensable in the war chest of a homeless person.
My favorite memories were around a campfire at night telling stories, making each other laugh, staring into the hot coals, imagining dream shapes.
We didn’t drink alcohol in those days, but weed heightened our sensory perspectives.
I wrote a book on those days of homelessness. I am sure Nathan Monk whom I wrote about yesterday, would say we chose our homelessness experience. He was born into it. Because of his resilient spirit, he did not fall prey to the forces that could have destroyed him.
When I entered nursing school in 1980, I viewed that experience as a rehabilitation for my mind, body and spirit.