It Was Frightening

Gay Pride

A group advocating AIDS research marches down Fifth Avenue during the 14th annual Lesbian and Gay Pride parade in New York, June 27, 1983. This year’s parade is dedicated to victims of the incurable disease AIDS which primarily afflicts homosexual men. (AP Photo/Mario Suriani)

It was the 80’s and I was a teenager. All of eighteen when I learned of AIDS. I know it had been around before that but as a teenager who ran fast with a fast crowd we didn’t exactly pay attention to the news. In 1988 I was working full time for an upscale auto collision shop in New Jersey. More and more AIDS was being brought to the forefront as was the hysteria surrounding it and in all honesty , it was frightening. At the time I didn’t know anyone who had AIDS but that was about to change. 

One day a customer came in who happened to be the daughter of one of our biggest accounts. She had an auto wreck and needed her car fixed she also, had AIDS. Thats when the AIDS fear entered my life. No one in the shop would get in her car to get her insurance information out of it because she had bled in the car and everyone was afraid. I admit, at first I was a bit afraid myself but that night I went home and decided to do some research and learn more and so I did.. 

Next morning I tried in vain to educate everyone in the office and the shop that they had nothing to fear that once “it dries it dies” but my words fell on deaf ears. Finally I got so angry I called every male in the place (I worked with 15 men) a pansy ass and went into the car and got the information myself. Well, you would have thought I was going into an unknown world. They all stared at me like I was insane.. To their surprise. I survived, the car was fixed and me and Doretta (yes that was her name) became friends. 

Fast Forward a few years and I got sick with Lyme Disease. By 1994 I was too sick to work but I was also full of anxiety and frustrated to no end sitting home all the time sick and in pain just staring at the TV. Someone suggested that I should try volunteering to see what I could actually get my body to do. I did just that and I picked a soup kitchen dedicated to AIDS patients at a church about twenty minutes from my home. I went two times a week for about a month when my body decided it had enough.

I will tell you though, those two months were the most rewarding two months of my life. I got to meet these people that others were so afraid of. Turns out with education and compassion there is nothing to be afraid of. I got to see life through their eyes. I remember a woman who would come twice a week on my days and she was very sick. She didn’t have long to live. I would arrive and there she’d be sitting in her chair with her IV pole  usually alone reading a book. We would exchange a smile or two when I served her a meal and finally one day I sat down and we began to talk. I never asked her how she contracted AIDS because it didn’t matter.. She was no different from me except that she was dying faster than I.  I don’t know if I brought anything to the days she had left but she had given me a gift that has lasted these twenty some odd years and will until its my time to leave this earth. She allowed me to know her, to be kind to her and to be a friend to her. I will never forget her or her beautiful smile.

I will be forever grateful for my time in that soup kitchen and if I am ever able to volunteer again  I would do it all over the same way.

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The Saga Continues..

That would be, the saga which is my life. Thought I’d post an update on our move. I think in my last update I told you about a home in Pennsylvania in a town called East Stroudsburg. We had the lease signed, the check for the first months rent and security were all sitting in the hands of my family in NJ. The last bit to pull together was meeting with the owner of the home whom we’ve been talking with by phone for three months, take some more photos of the home, my family to check out the house, the area etc and if all was well, hand over the lease and the check. We were to be PA bound.

All of this came to a screeching halt 72 hours before the above was too happen. I got a frantic phone call from my sister in law telling me that my brother who works with a guy that happens to live in the area of where the house we are to rent is, told my brother this morning after he learned what area we were moving to, that this particular area is not only drug infested but also violent crime and gang infested.  Yep, we’re talking Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings etc. I immediately called the PA state police to ask about all this and was told that the area I live in is not a “hot bed” but below me, meaning 15 minutes away where I would do my shopping and above me are hot beds..Lovely..so NOT what I needed to hear.

My husband then called the man who owns the home right away to ask him about this and why didn’t he tell us this when it was one of THE first questions I had asked way back when. His reply was that he didn’t know it was that bad. He said there were problems a few years ago with all the foreclosed homes but they had cleaned the area up and even had built up our area with more grocery shopping, malls etc. I thought o myself well thats nice. So I have grocery shopping and a mall near me but if I want to venture out anywhere past my area I’m in a war zone? No thanks.

I can’t figure out if this guy was for real when he said he really didn’t know the area was still that bad or if he omitted the truth because he wanted to rent the home and we had also talked about buying down the line. I mean seriously? How do you NOT know the area’s around a home you OWN? I hate to accuse him of something I am not 100% sure on but common sense would tell me otherwise. Because I have no other choice I will give him the benefit of ignorance but we will NOT be moving to this area. When I left NJ these gangs were just beginning to infiltrate and I was glad to leave it all behind. I’m not going back to it no matter how much I need and want to get back North.

So once again, we are starting all over with looking for a house up North. We have two pretty good leads right now but I will say no more about those until I know they are a sure thing.

My neighbor said to me the other day , he knows I pray a lot and put everything in my life in God’s hands and usually don’t make a move until I see which way the Lord is leading us. He said maybe this is God’s way of telling  you you’re not supposed to move back up North? Three deals have fallen through right when you’re supposed to sign a lease so maybe HE is giving you the answer you’re looking for.

I would tend to agree with my friend but it doesn’t make sense in my head. We can’t afford to stay in the home we’re in now. We need money for health care that we have no insurance for and the doctors I’ve seen down here don’t seem to be able to help me with my conditions. I miss my family so much it tares my heart out almost every day for the last twelve years so how could God want me to stay here?

Then again I know as well as most, God’s ways are not our ways and God’s timing is not my timing. Maybe HE’s trying to teach me to trust in HIS timing and ways. Maybe HE’s trying to give me a lesson in patience in the Lord. I’m not sure.

The only thing I am sure about is God and so we wait, we wait patiently as we can..

Until I have more news………

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