I've mentioned in previous writings about losing my home in 2006 and eventually renting an old farmhouse out in the country. But I haven't mentioned that there was a seven month period in between the two. During that time, I was as close to homeless as you can be without literally sleeping in the woods. Brace yourself for some more twists and turns on this winding road life seems to be. Follow closely now!
When I saw that I was not going to be able to save my home, I started thinking (not necessarily clearly or logically, but thinking) about what I wanted to do. I had already lost my mother, my boyfriend, my car, and my mind. And now I was losing my home too. So the way I saw it, I had nothing left to lose. I didn't particularly like the housecleaning business at the time and didn't mind losing that too. I had always wanted to just get out there on the road and just go and explore and see what else was out there. I decided that this was my cue to go!
So I started looking around for a camper to travel with. I had managed to buy another vehicle and it had a trailer hitch. But I knew I could only pull a very small camper, that meant it had to be a pop up! And I didn't have very much money either. So it had to be lightweight and cheap! Well, one day I saw one on ebay for $1500 and I placed a bid on it. After placing my bid, I laid down to take a nap. When I woke back up, I checked email and had one from ebay. Having already been outbid on several campers, I assumed this was another outbid notice. But, much to my surprise, it was a YOU WON notice! I sat there in disbelief that I had actually purchased this camper!!! AND that I had to drive across three states to pick it up!!!! I paid for the camper via paypal, emailed with the seller and got directions to his home and that weekend I headed out for my journey to pick up my new little home on wheels.
When I got to Indiana to pick it up, the guy opened it up to show it to me and, even though it was about 20 years old, it looked brand new inside...like it had never been used. Then he told me the story about how he got it. It turned out that he worked for the city landfill and one day he was filling in at a dump site for another employee when this man came in pulling this camper. The man got out and said he and his wife had been fighting over the camper for months and he just wanted to get rid of it so she'd leave him alone about it. So my seller asked if he could have it, and the guy said sure, he didn't care. So the seller in Indiana posted it on Ebay, and a soon-to-be homeless person in North Carolina bought it. That would be me.
OK. Fast forward a few weeks. There is a website called Freecycle.org where people give things away or if there's something you need, you can post it and someone may have it to give. One day, a woman named Leslie posted that she needed some plastic nursery pots. I happened to have a gazillion of them because I had been learning to propagate plants. But I knew I was losing my home and wouldn't need them so I gave them to Leslie. After that, we kinda sorta stayed in touch. We exchanged occasional emails to catch up and we went to a couple movies together. But we didn't get what I'd call close. Now put Leslie on the back burner for a minute.
After I bought the camper and some supplies and kept the lights on in the house while I was still there, I realized I no longer had enough money to go out on the road. (Like I said, I wasn't thinking very clearly or logically. Just running scared.) So I decided I'd keep my housecleaning business going for a while and park the camper at a campground and live there until I had enough money to go. Unfortunately, because of the depression, I wasn't able to work enough to make any extra money. Only enough to survive. So for about four months, I lived in the camper which I had to move from one campground to another every couple weeks because that's only how long they'd let you stay. It was kind of tough but kind of neat at the same time. I liked being in those campgrounds out in the country. It's what made be realize I'd like to live in the country.
Now back to Leslie. One day we were chatting on the phone and I told her I just didn't know what to do. I felt really stuck because every dime I made went to pay for campground rental, gas and food. I wasn't making any progress. Much to my surprise, she suddenly blurted out "Why don't you park your camper in our yard and live in it so you won't have to pay campground rent?" I was shocked! Remember, we really weren't that close and didn't really know each other that well. I had given her some flower pots, that's all. And here she was offering to let a stranger live in her yard? I said "Are you sure?" and she said she'd clear it with her husband and call me back. He approved and for the next three months, I lived in her yard in my little pop up. And that's how I was able to save up some money.
Not done yet. Keep following me. Enter Hank! Way back in the summer, when I first lost my house and first started living in the camper, I did a cleaning job for Hank. He owns rental properties and had called me to clean an empty house for him. I hadn't thought any more about him. Well, it was the end of November and it was getting too cold for me to live in the camper. The last night I stayed in it, it got down to 54 degrees INSIDE the camper with the heat on. I promptly checked into a Motel 6 the next day. (They're pet friendly. I had my dog living in that camper with me. I wasn't about to get rid of him.) Well, a couple days after I checked into the hotel, Hank called me. He left me a message reminding me who he was and said that he was wondering if I was still living in the camper. He said it was getting too cold to live in a camper and if I needed a place to stay, he had an old house I could rent on a week to week basis. The house was going to be torn down but I could stay in it till it was time for the demolition. I was VERY grateful and I ended up staying in that old house through June when I moved into the farmhouse. It's still incredible to me that he remembered me after all those months and cared. Again, someone cared about another human being who was struggling.
Just like my story about when my ABS went out on my car, there's no way I could have orchestrated all these events. The guy who was fighting with his wife about the camper, the landfill employee who didn't show up for work that day, the ebay seller who filled in for him and got the camper, Leslie, Hank. All of them are on my angel list. And when I'm feeling kind of like nobody cares, I have to look back over my life at those people who helped me when I needed it most. And interestingly, they were ALL strangers or at least people I didn't know well. Wait, I forgot somebody. The nagging wife who made her husband give a way the camper! Who knows what might have happened to me without her? LOL!
All good things come to those who believe. Believe in the good. Look for the good. Comments or questions welcome.