Grove St. Inn

They say you can’t believe everything you read on open container speedWay. Actually I said that. You can’t believe everything you read here on open container speedWay.

That’s a fact.

George McGovern, the one-time Democratic nominee for the presidency, also said that you can’t believe everything you read on the speedWay. Actually that’s not true; but he would have if he ever happened to read this pile of blog doo.

George McGovern did —really — say that Hunter S. Thompson’s novel Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail was the “least factual, but most accurate” thing written about his doomed 1972 candidacy.

Thus the good Doctor achieved the highest journalistic ideal:

Clarity.

In the interest of clarity:

I did not email Clark Hoyt to demand immediate payment for One Stinking Dollar, or I would take my story elsewhere, thanks anyway dude. I thought about it though — big time. Everything I said in the email was true. I do direly need pay. And if another publication wants to buy that story I’ll owe it to myself to sell.

Because I really do need a place to live more than anything on Earth.

At the same time, Clark Hoyt says that, while he can not at this time guarantee Dollar will run in the NY Times Magazine, he assured my phenomenal new agent that it “looks promising.” For that reason I’ve chosen to let One Stinking Dollar run its’ course, deserved or no, on the Public Editor’s desk — a fine place for it to be.

So the email was never sent.

To solve my immediate cash flow catastrophe I’ve opted to pitch a different story to the Valley Advocate. While there’s more to tell — I hope they’ll let me double the word count — here is a brief-as-feasible synapse of the article I want the Advocate to buy instead:

In August, 2007 my friend Sophie and I approached a staff member at the Grove St. Inn. We have both been homeless – living in Sophie’s car mostly — in the Brattleboro area for 3+ years. A bit of bad luck — $100 worth of old parking fines which needed to be paid immediately to keep Sophie’s car out of impound – had recently stranded us in Northampton with no gas money.

Since we’d both long been fed up with our prospects for self-betterment in Brattleboro, we decided to see what Northampton had to offer the homeless. I used my one worldly possession – my laptop – to locate the [local homeless shelter] Grove St. Inn.

We were greeted coldly at first; Sophie & I were turned away before we even got out of the car. We drove off. I got angry. We drove back. I went into the shelter and politely asked the woman who had just turned us away if there was a waiting list we could sign on to. She said yes. And then, as we spoke face to face rather than through the window of an obviously lived-in car, the woman warmed up to me.

She listened while I explained we were not on drugs. That we were both survivors of childhood sexual trauma and our lives were messed up from it. I grew misty-eyed then – no longer angry but profoundly sad.

“We just need some help.” I pleaded.

And she – it seemed miraculously – agreed to take us in.

We would sleep on the homeless shelter’s couches. Wonderful! There is a “Home Sweet Home” sign hung above the Inn’s front door. After 3 years sleeping in a car…what a gigantic relief.

This was on a Friday. The woman did our intake and told us to relax; we were in a safe place now. We did our laundry & showered & stretched our legs out the whole way on our couches. We were in a homeless shelter. It was awesome.

I checked out the Help Wanted section of the local paper, over the weekend, and was thrilled to see a far greater number of job opportunities than exist in Brattleboro. I resolved – aided by a roof to sleep beneath each night & a shower to take in the morning – to go out & find work first thing Monday.

But when Monday rolled around we were informed, to our utter shock & dismay – not to mention the shock & dismay of the Inn’s other guests – that our stay on the couches was only authorized for the weekend. There were no issues of misconduct. Nevertheless those couches at the homeless shelter remained empty once we were inexplicably booted back out in the street.

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