If you come across a serious accident the first thing to do is stop the bleeding. With homelessness, it’s pretty obvious what the equivalent of bleeding is. At present, we have a serious …
If you come across a serious accident the first thing to do is stop the bleeding. With homelessness, it’s pretty obvious what the equivalent of bleeding is. At present, we have a serious homeless problem centered in part at the local fairgrounds and money seems the obvious form of first aid.
I am fortunate enough not to be homeless, but I’m aged and unfit enough not to be able to check out the situation “on the ground” or aid much other than financially. I will take the word of others that the homeless problem today is pretty desperate but still better coordinated and supported than it has ever been. Those interested in aiding financially should contact Oly/Cap, St. Vincent DePaul, Bayside Housing, etc. One of my main information sources is highly-successful Habitat for Humanity with which my wife Jean has been actively associated since its inception many years ago.
The year is still young, with the various benign institutions still trying out the wings that are parts of their newly reorganized federal and state administrations — groups that are banding together to provide food, shelter and mental health care.
I see about 18 or so full pages (25 comments) on an April 22 letter herein dealing with homelessness. It doesn’t take much of that space by Marge Samuelson, Douglas Edelstein and David Thielk to describe the painful, harsh reality of the situation — and to plead the case for empathy. Most of the space, however, is devoted to endless anonymous ravings that apparently view empathy as a social disease. They remind me a lot of Donald Trump and I don’t linger long over the individual anonymous words and phrases.
Rather than wading into this morass, I have chosen to recall when the town was young. Port Townsend and environs used to be more of a refuge and I was the little kid accompanying his father in leading the family cow a mile or so down San Juan Ave. to visit the Hansens' bull.
Little things meant a lot when I was growing up in Port Townsend in the 1930s — a time ever since known as the "Great Depression." But Port Townsend, fortunately, had a new paper mill; and my father worked there. Still, out of necessity, the town grew more out of function than beauty. We fortunately had an army post to help sustain us during the pre-war Depression years.
My grandfather Ernie helped build the mill around 1927-'28. My father became one of the first employees about the spring of '29. Ernie spent his younger adult years as a homesteader in Michigan, South Dakota, and mainly Alberta. It was in the semi-wilderness of Alberta (near the one-horse town of Edenville/Meeting Creek) that most of his 10 children were born including my father in 1907. (See overstuffed cabin photo above). Which probably explains why we paid for indoor plumbing with space back in the mid-late '30s.
My three younger brothers and I were crammed into one small bedroom, in bunk beds. But the long outside walk to the outhouse on chilly evenings became a thing of the past for my sainted mother. I shared a bed with a younger brother, who wet same. Another bedroom in our new house would have been nice. However, my father spent' his childhood in Alberta (see above) and had a different conception of space. And despite the empathy that accompanied his financing when he built his house, he also had to provide facilities for the milk cow and calf, pig , chickens . . .
No, he'd never done any of this before. The house is still occupied after some 85 years and he built another 10 years later.
That first time around, my father combined early years of thrift and hard work with receiving one of the first home-construction loans following the bank failures of the early ‘30s. When that proved insufficient, he was given a “Pay me when you can” line of credit from Tony DeLeo, who ran the town’s building supply business.
While born under Herbert Hoover, whose contribution to American society was the Great Depression, I spent nearly all of my childhood during the three-plus recovery terms of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the empathetic young adulthood of Port Townsend.