I had prayed and asked my friends on Facebook to pray that I would find specific people who live on the streets of Kensington and with whom I try to keep in close communication. I drove to a common corner, an intersection of two main streets, to find one who is from Delaware County.
Not there… I drove up one street, looped around, drove down that same street several blocks past the original point, looped around again and came back one block short of the common corner where I felt certain I'd find her.
Even though she was fully dressed for the winter cold and had her back to me, a tiny tuft of her curly hair with its uncommon shade announced her identify as would any "Hello, my name is…" sticker worn at so many social gatherings.
"Hi, Melanie," I called out as she stood on what I presume is her favorite corner when looking for a date. I'm permitted a bit to presume this. After all, it was on this corner where she took me on Friday, July 27, 2018 and I told you about in a blog titled Before The demon Came Calling... (The section of that blog that speaks specifically of this street starts out with: After dinner, as we drove, Melanie asked me to pull over on a side street…)
Today, as I parked my car on that same side street, I noticed that she was in no rush to greet me further. When I gingerly approached her, she looked sad and sick. Sniffles and her general appearance told me and she confirmed that she was fully dope sick and standing there trying to find a 'date' so as to fund her next injection of 'heroin' which is hardly heroin at all these days.
We chatted only for a bit. Before we parted, she was the first of this day to receive a care package that had been donated to me very recently by one of my former high school classmates years ago. This care package, and about 50 others, have been or will be distributed one by one in the very near future.
Melanie also told me that she needed a new pair of boots because the ones she had on were just about worn out. I still had a pair of boots in my car that had been given to me by a now-retired administrator at my former college - Eastern University. They fit her almost perfectly.
As we parted, Melanie reached out for a hug and did not let go for a while… And so, there I was… To the unknowing eye and stigma thinking brain of an out of town observer, I was hugging an addict, a prostitute, and I won't even utter the additionally derogatory terms often associated with women in her situation.
To anyone who has taken the time to get to know Melanie, you will know that I was hugging an orphaned former Delaware County resident who knows of Aston, Chichester and Glen Mills, Concord Road, Saint John's Episcopal Church, Elam United Methodist Church and all point in between and around.
Melanie is not any of the derogatory titles often applied to a person in such a situation. Melanie is not even part of "them" or "they." Melanie and the hundreds she represents on the streets of Kensington are no less than an extension of "us" and "we" and have every right to receive all of the dignities associated with such a classification.
Thank you for praying for Us.
My heart breaks for Melanie. We lost our sweet daughter 4 years ago to this demon addiction. She was from Delco as well, but was all too familiar with Kensington. She was a deans list graduate of Temple. She was an amazing person who was a champion for the homeless. She worked for a great center city company, but that just made her access to Kensington even easier. Our girl was lost to addiction from her first “taste” of heroin. She hated it, but became its victim. She fought valiantly to detox several times, but the monkey on her back would never go away. My heart breaks for Melanie, and I thank you for sharing her story. I will keep her in my thoughts and pray for a life saving miracle. 💜ReplyDelete