Shocking news about this beautiful woman

scenic hawaii 006-A

Hawaiian seascape.

I think that it is just wonderful that our Honolulu mayor has pledged to house the homeless before trying to wean them off drugs or start mental health treatment or even find them jobs.  Yes, by all means, get the homeless into homes first.  Above all, what they need is a place to sleep every night.  Imagine them being ousted from the beaches and sidewalks by the cops.  Where are they supposed to go?  It will be interesting to see if Mayor Caldwell is successful.  I wish him only the best.

Back in 2004, when I held a book signing event for my first book at Barnes & Noble, I was approached by a local man, who struck up a conversation.  Though he had not graduated from my high school, he seemed to know some of my classmates.  One classmate, in particular, had not turned out well, he said.  She’d had a nervous breakdown, and her family had kicked her out of the house.  She could be seen pushing a shopping cart in Chinatown.  This bit of information shocked me.  I couldn’t believe that this once beautiful and talented classmate had come to such a difficult end.  I wonder what has happened to her since 2004.

I am so grateful that I am not homeless.  Even when I was traveling around the world, I managed to find jobs as an English teacher and secretary to pay the rent and buy food.  I even owned a dog at one point, another mouth to feed, by golly.  Later, I had a child out of wedlock and was a single mother on welfare for almost two years.  But, never was I ever homeless.

All things considered, I am very lucky to be married to David, to be the mother of Maria and Lisa, and to be the grandmother of Julia and Rylan.

No one in my family is homeless.

14 Responses to “Shocking news about this beautiful woman”

  1. Linda Reeder Says:

    It’s frightening to think how close to homelessness many people are – just one paycheck away from disaster. Jobs are hard to come by now, and most are not very secure. Generation Xers, those mid 30’s to late 40’s, have very little put away for retirement years. They have been hit hardest by the housing crash, layoffs, and lower wages, and there are very few pension systems anymore. I don’t know how my son will manage in his “golden years”.

  2. Olga Says:

    I think your mayor has a good idea. Food and shelter are basic needs that need to be met before anyone can expect another to look for a job.

  3. Suzanne Says:

    I read “West of Then: A Mother, A Daughter, and a Journey Past Paradise”by Tara Bray Smith last year. It is about a daughter describing her mother’s fight with drug addiction. She grew up on Oahu. It is an interesting read. Drug addiction is a hard thing to overcome for people. The mayor has quite a challenge on his hands I think.

  4. SchmidleysScribbling Says:

    What an incredible tale. Most of my family lives in homes with others, but my poor brother, who dropped out in the 1960s was homeless last I heard. Alcohol and drugs ruin too many lives. Dianne

  5. Henry Hank Chapin Says:

    For quite a few years back in the day there was a neat, well-dressed woman who showed up at all kinds of meetings wherever refreshments were served such as the Historical Society, the Art Museum, Hawaii Pacific Unversity, and programs for college alumni from the Mainland. She seemed to be well informed. about events. Anyway, eventually it became clear she was homeless and she had figured out where she could eat. Actually, she was very good at what she did. I just remembered her because of your post. I too wonder what has become of this woman.

    • gigihawaii Says:

      I believe I know who you mean. There was a long obituary on her last year. Apparently, she was divorced from her husband, who was an attorney, and had lost custody of their son. They all lived in Hawaii but after the divorce the EX and the son moved to the mainland. She later died of cancer. My friend often saw her in the serials dept of the library and after work, she drove the woman with her belongings to the Chinatown area where she insisted on sleeping on the sidewalk, because she felt safer there (rather than at the homeless shelter).

  6. Denise Says:

    I never knew that about you Gigi and now I admire you more. I see a lot of homeless when I go into the city. I always wander what their story is. When they beg for money I always think that we’re only a few steps away from being in the same situation and that we should show compassion. Some of our family think we are idiots for giving them money, siting drink and drugs being there problem, but it’s not always the way. There’s mental illness and just downright bad luck.

  7. LC Says:

    I look forward to a followup on the mayor’s strategy and it’s effectiveness. And the glimpse of your personal history was impressive. What a talented and courageous woman you are.

  8. christine Says:

    Good mayor! I panicked this morning, your blog wasn’t coming up, I thought you had lost it!

  9. L...w Says:

    I’m still very doom and gloom. I believe the economy is not healing and needs to be artificially supported for a very long time. Debt has already been stretched for individuals and governments around the world, so what’s next? Central bank intervention to forestall the effects of demand destruction (why? lots of reasons besides too much debt). I was just telling husband that I think our best case scenario is zero interest rates for as far as the eye can see (rest of our lives) and the worst case scenario is total economic collapse because literally everything is hinged like a house of cards. Should interest rates normalize (despite central bank intervention) the house of cards will crash. Derivatives make the whole scenario unthinkable.

  10. Ana Says:

    the homeless woman’s story in the comment thread is so touching. I’ve heard of many people who felt the streets were safer than the shelter.

  11. Jan Mader Says:

    This is my first visit to your blog. I am so impressed by the depth of your post and saddened by the plight of the homeless. My sister-in-law has a blog that supports homeless here in Ohio. People from all over the world send crocheted and knitted items for the cold winters…

  12. Musings Says:

    Homelessness in Hawaii is so very sad. I’ve seen it in Chicago also and wondered how they coped when the temperatures dipped below freezing. I hope the Mayor can do something, but with the budget woes we have I wonder how he’s going to do it.

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