Where Has America Gone?

Where Has America Gone?

A Story by PurpleMuse

Where Has America Gone?

 

                For every childhood memory filled with pretty red velvet dresses and glittering golden bows, I have also memories of watching homeless mothers beg on the side of the road.


As a Millennial, my joy in the holiday season has always come from the anticipation of gifts I would not otherwise have attained--the high-tech bits of plastic and steel that would make me the envy of my peers; creams, sprays and glosses to beautify the looks those peers said were so important. But the holiday shopping bustle that swirled around me as a little girl, like bright fairy lights, too often came to a screeching halt, catching like a stubbed toe, at the sight of the homeless, foodless, shoeless children I drove by.


I would ask myself, even then, why everyone around me seemed so perfectly alright with walking on by these bleak souls--empty of food, brotherly love or hope. At first, I tried to give food from my lunch box. I quickly rolled down my backseat window and offered the apple I probably wasn’t going to eat anyway. This was discouraged by my mother, undoubtedly due to the fact that it was her hard-earned money that bought my food. Next, I tried earning a little cash on my own, only to be warned against giving cash to the dirty man who smelled like nothing my cat would have ever wanted to drag into our three-story house.


I have learned wiser ways since those first apple-offering days. Now, having nursed my dearest friend back from an eleven-year heroine addiction, I know there is no shame in turning to drugs or drink because you cannot face the terrors of the streets at night where you sleep. Facing my own fears and walking through the homeless camps myself has taught me that the movies, social media and tv give the homeless a far more frightening and terrible name than they deserve. I saw for myself how the many who exist on the streets are preyed upon by the few who frighten off decent homeowning folks.


My car is filled now with little gift bags of dollar-store socks, facial tissues, wet-wipes and a copy of Street Roots (if you don’t recognize the name, please bother to educate yourself). I hand them out, on sunny days, to the grateful beggars who smile and look longingly at my shiny car and neat clothes as I drive by.


It is not childish foolishness to want to help Mankind. It is not only little children who still believe that underneath the buttoned-up blouse or three-piece suit lies a superhero in all of us.


I believe in human rights. No matter your religion, your race, culture or creed, the origins of the holiday season are based in the same goodness as the great American dream--not just a dream of homeownership, but one nation founded on the ideal of equal rights.


I challenge you, America. I challenge the idea that giving to the homeless is wrong. I challenge you to come up with a system to lend support to those who have given up all hope. Who stand at the side of the road and beg. Who hide their children because our foster care system is so corrupted, so drug-infested and so terrible, that sleeping with their children tucked between them on the streets is the better and more loving alternative.


I challenge you, my fellow Millennials, to set aside your cute shoes and your phones for one day of this year. Put on some sneakers, leave your phone at home and go out on the streets this winter. Meet a stranger and tell them that you care by giving, just a little, of the privilege that you have lived in your entire life. I challenge you to make a difference.


As someone who has lived in Hollywood, CA, I have seen how much we Millennials love to wait until someone else has shown the way before we walk, to ensure the road will be smooth enough not to upset our rickety high-heeled shoes. This road has not been paved as of yet. But I will take the first step myself.









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© 2018 PurpleMuse


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Thank you for this. Your opening was so beautiful; I'm always struck in large cities by the way that such poverty can exist side by side with the super rich. I don't understand how we've learned to walk by these people; they don't just not exist.
Recently I've asked my friends to stop and give change to people on the side of the road; so far it really doesn't hurt anything. These people we help are not so scary, and I can't imagine being in their well-worn shoes.
Your writing inspired me; why not go and pick up some small goods at the dollar store to give out? Why not just take that extra step to be kind? I already have more than I need and family and loving friends.
Thank you so much for your powerful, inspiring words!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

Thanks, WChild. Yes, it is the attitude of uncaring that I am "rallying" against, more than anything.. read more



Reviews

Thank you for this. How I tire of the materialistic frenzy that marks the holidays. Your story is like balm to my heart & it's similar to many of my own true stories, trying to use examples from my life to show people different ways to live a more caring life. You've done that here too. What makes your advice palatable is becuz you start out by being brutally honest in painting your own materialistic beginnings. This gives you authenticity as you do a little "rah! rah!" number toward the end. I have to say, however, that I see younger generations as more caring than my own older generation (I'm 62). There's widespread bias against even everyday living & working poor, not just the dire homeless! I am deeply disappointed in a wide swath of America, yet I also believe there are many pockets of caring people too. We just have to keep spreading the word with excellent anecdotal pep talks like this! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

Thank you, barleygirl!
Many things to repair my friend. USA is falling behind. Here in Detroit. Many kind people help the poor. Cold days mean, homeless need help. I believe USA need opportunity for some and some people have given-up. Powerful words shared.
Coyote


Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

Thank you, Coyote
Coyote Poetry

2 Years Ago

You are welcome my friend.
Preach it, sister! It's important to remember how lucky we are, even if we don't feel so lucky. And if some people out there don't like the word charity ("I ain't no charity case!" and so on) then just think of it as helping each other out. In these turbulent times, who knows if and when we'll end up on the needing end of the help spectrum. I think watching each other's backs is a great value to live by.
Us Millennials get picked on a lot for being shallow and materialistic, but really we're a lot more civic minded than the last few generations were at our age. If you buy into Strauss and Howe's generational cycle theory, Millennials are the current incarnation of the G.I. (or Greatest) Generation. We believe in a just and fair society and volunteer, innovate, and collaborate to create a better world. When we're in our golden years and we retire straight into an RV home ready to tour the country, we'll still be volunteering!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

Love that, Star! So true.
We all, each and every one of us, deserve the right to be. I was going to write be seen and heard, but be pretty much covers it.
Think back on all the priveleges we have in life, and now think of a moment a stranger surprised you with a kindness, and you will know which is cherished most. A smile, a hello, or someone paying for the next customers coffee, or a million other little things that can make a difference, that is what we remember.
So maybe that five dollar coffee tastes great, but does it mean so much if you have it every day, when that price of one cup can make a real difference to someone less fortunate.
If we all help a little it adds up to a lot.
A beautiful thought indeed. :)

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

Thanks Lorry!
I loved your strong voice reflected in this piece

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

Thanks Esther!
God bless you,Purplemuse. I have little, but do believe in giving to those who have even less. ANYTHING THAT CAN BE DONE, SHOULD BE DONE.
Love and decency demand it. If we all would do one thing, so much would be accomplished.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

So true! Thanks, angel
a rousing essay Purple! you seem to have a heavy heart for the poor ... i can't help wondering if you are in the right profession ;) "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me." Matthew 26:11 ... now Jesus said that in a different context .. but i believe by itself it is still true .. there will always be the poor ... and always we will have opportunity to express love (charity) .. i think it comes in many forms .. that of time .. money ... material goods .. educating .. listening ... sacrificial things that benefit someone else besides our selves ...i would challenge your view of our Nation tho ...a whole lot of help is given through our tax dollars ..our Churches give huge amounts of time, talents and money for the poor and needy ... can more be done? always! ... i love your practice of keeping those "survival" packages handy in your car .. i did travel Nursing in LA and know very well how many times the opportunity to give presented themselves ... at stop signs .. red lights .. boulevards ..etc. i read once that some of the panhandlers in LA earned 2-$500 in a day ... ;)
when discharged from the Navy ...loooooooooooooong time ago .. i hitch hiked and hopped trains for a year or so and ate stale sandwiches obtained from restaurants (provided by a hobo met at the "jungle") and very cheap wine obtained after begging for change until we had enough ... we sat well into the night after that "dinner" waiting for our "man" or train to come ... the hobo wanted to be there .. like many ... a chosen way of life ... what i am saying i guess is that i agree with all you say but the are some caveates to it ;) i had a friend (living in San Francisco in the late 60s) she allowed a homeless man to live in her garage ... after a couple weeks he murdered her in her own home ... there is danger out there as well ... i love your passion ... you "millennials" (includes my 4 children) do share that along with all the "necessary" gadgets ;))
E.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

Thanks Einstein for putting my words in perspective. The "p" word is always important, and every per.. read more
Einstein Noodle

2 Years Ago

;) .................
Thank you for this. Your opening was so beautiful; I'm always struck in large cities by the way that such poverty can exist side by side with the super rich. I don't understand how we've learned to walk by these people; they don't just not exist.
Recently I've asked my friends to stop and give change to people on the side of the road; so far it really doesn't hurt anything. These people we help are not so scary, and I can't imagine being in their well-worn shoes.
Your writing inspired me; why not go and pick up some small goods at the dollar store to give out? Why not just take that extra step to be kind? I already have more than I need and family and loving friends.
Thank you so much for your powerful, inspiring words!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

PurpleMuse

2 Years Ago

Thanks, WChild. Yes, it is the attitude of uncaring that I am "rallying" against, more than anything.. read more

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Added on November 20, 2018
Last Updated on November 20, 2018

Author

PurpleMuse
PurpleMuse

Portland, OR



About
I've been a member of WritersCafe since I was a teenager, dreaming of becoming a published author. Now, I'm a self-published author with three teen fantasy novels and an online bookstore that reac.. more..

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