27 11 2013

I ran away.  That day I left, 3-3-’75  still being remembered and celebrated as my independance day.   Thus began my life of recurring homelessness.   In those years, even after being raped 4 times while on the streets, I still believed it to have been the better option than staying in the home that had been provided for me.

I only tell you these things to let you know that as a 16 year old girl, this was how I survived, without selling drugs or becoming a prostitute.  Even when I got a job I could only pay a night or two in a cheap hotel on the small amount I earned working part time at fast food.

Most most nights I would hang out with other young people who lived in Hollywood.  We would kill a lot of hours back then by going to the bars before 8pm because they didn’t start carding anyone till then and we would stay till they closed around 2:30 am.

After that you just had to keep moving.  People would leave you alone if they thought you were going somewhere. Staying in one place wasn’t an really an option till I found that the bushes alongside the off-ramp to the Hollywood Bowl were thick enough to provide shelter.  Not comfort, or warmth but a place to sit where I wouldn’t be bothered.

Often I would hitch hike somewhere just to be inside, warm and comfortable in a car for a while.  Most often people who picked me up would buy me something to eat.  Most days I would be out early and walk to the restroom of a gas station near by.  After washing my clothing in the sink, I would wash my hair and body with soap from their dispenser and put my clothing back on wet.  Most days I would walk from there to the North Hollywood Library.  I was usually dry by the time I got to the park near by where I would wait for the library to open and provide safe sanctuary for me to sleep.

The librarian kept a watchful eye on me while I rested but never asked me to leave.   There were no fences or spikes to keep me from places that provided me with a place to sit and have some measure of safety in the night.  No one stopped me from using the bathroom in 1975.  I thought the world a hard place then and yet so much harder now.

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