by Bob Boclear
I was born in Granada, Mississippi, in 1951. I moved to Cleveland in 1960. I completed the twelfth grade through GED. My occupation is a tractor-trailer driver. I was married, had children and now have grandchildren. I was divorced after 20 years of marriage.
I lived what’s considered to be a normal, decent life. You know: job, family, community involvement. For many years, things were good. Then, things began to change.
My marriage started going bad, and my job moved out of state. I began drinking more and started doing drugs. Divorce occurred, and my children left. I really began not to care. I lost my respect, self-esteem and whatever else you can lose when you’re failing. Anyway, I became homeless and for a good while I wallowed in my sorrow and pity. There were times when I asked for food, and what was said to me was, “Get a job you damn bum!” More often than not, we are treated as the worst.
Further down the road, I met people who cared and were concerned. I gave me hope and a desire to help myself. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not easy coming up and I’m not out of this yet. But at least now I’m giving myself the chance.
Before I end my article, I would like to thank NEOCH and its staff for what I call CURE: caring, understanding, respect and encouragement. Thank you NEOCH, and may God bless you.
This was originally published in the Homeless Grapevine and NEOCH, Issue 5, Cleveland Ohio February 1994