Sunday, November 28, 2010

I wandered around thumbing and walking until I got to upstate New York from Massachusetts. It was September and I was livingout of a tent most of the time. Then I found a place where I could pick apples and still live in the tent in the woods just outside the orchard. I would get up in the morning and make breakfast from a cookstove I carried with me and go to the orchard and start picking apples. At the end of the day the owner of the trees would count the bins of apples I picked and I would get paid by the bin. Now this is really hard work lugging a ladder around and climbing the apple trees with a bucket around your shoulders. But I seemed to need to hurt as much on the outside as I did on the inside to be able to stand the emotional pain I was experiencing at the time. My body got really tough by the time November came around(Irented a room by then and was out of the tent) and decided to follow the Jamaicans(the migrant workers who were picking with me) south to Florida to pick oranges. There was an orange bus in Florida that anyone could get on who wanted to pick oranges. I was the only white person on the bus but for once I wasn't the only female. The driver was this big black lady named Sally Mae and one of the pickers was a girl also. After she found out how well I picked fruit, Sally Mae took me under her wing and became my surrogate mother. She got me a place to stay and yelled at anyone who gave me a hard time. I remember her saying to everyone on the bus that I was one of them even if I was white. I really loved her. Sometimes we would stop at a place to pick up a picker and the picker wouldn't come out of his house because he was too hung over and Sally would send a couple of guys from the bus to drag him out of the house. I stayed with them until May when I got back in touch with my mom and she wanted me back on the farm to help with the cows.

Leaving Sally was hard and we hugged and cried a lot and promised to do it again but it just wasn’t meant to be.


  1. I really like this! In fact I love it. It sounds like a really good idea for a book, well a book that I would read anyway. Honestly lovely, that is an experience. And good on you for working hard to get out of homelessness, rather than being a defeatist! :)

  2. Hey guy, Thanks for the great comment. I just wanted to say that homelessness can be overcome if your mind is in the right place. Unfortuately, our culture gives the heaviest burdens to the weaker minds. We seem to have an understanding here.