Vol. 15


A Day in Whale’s Tale

1992; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

You may have thought some of your ancestors had it hard, but I bet it is nothing compared to what my mom went through. My mom was homeless on the streets of Pittsburgh as a teenager. You can’t imagine what she went through before that. This is her story.


I walk down the street and count my earnings — $23.78. Another day of being homeless is not another day you want to live — at least not in Whale’s Tale in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. I am a homeless teenager in Pittsburgh. My money might not even be enough to get dinner. When you’re homeless, every day is a struggle, a fight for survival.

My friend Crosby’s parents should be picking me up soon though. They had let me live with them for a bit, but they couldn’t keep me. They said they would try to find a charity for me. I miss living with them. Every day with them I had a place to live. I wish I still had a home.

I see a car coming down the road. I think it’s Crosby. I wave and run over, but I realize it’s the wrong car, and a person spits at my feet. Hunger claws at my stomach. I almost want to yell after them. This is my life. It isn’t fun being homeless.

I see Crosby’s parents driving down the street. I wave. Crosby waves back, and I get in the car. I ask where we are going.

“It’s a surprise,” says Crosby’s mom.

I can’t wait to know where I’m going. I’m afraid I might be disappointed, so I try guessing a bit. “Is it a charity?”

“Not quite,” whispers Crosby’s mom.

My friend and I talk in the back while the parents drive.

As we arrive, I see a sign saying Homeless Center for Teens, and I know for once I have a place to stay. That’s a feeling I haven’t had before. It feels nice to have a home.

Clive Besen; Colorado, USA



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


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