THIS WAS WRITTEN WHEN I BELONGED TO A WRITING GROUP AT GATHER.COM. I HAD FORGOTTEN IT IN A DUSTY OLD FILE.
People on the street called her Raggy Maggie for obvious reasons. She was the consummate street person complete with shopping cart and collection of stuff she found in dumpsters. It was getting to be too cold to sleep outside and she needed to find shelter. The woman at the Good Shepherd center directed her towards grandma Sheffield’s rooming house and even called ahead to make sure grandma had a bed for her.
Mags didn’t talk much but thanked the social worker for getting her a roof. The only stipulation she had for this was to get Mags into a shower and clean her up a tad. Yes Maggie was a marginalized member of society and had few opportunities to clean up and feel good even for a few days. It was doubtful that Mags ever had a chance at a shower and as grandma housed so many people that she would see much bathing time while living there.
As far as money to pay grandma, grandma stated she would take what social services could offer in Maggie’s case.
Maggie was happy for the chance to wash her hair and change out of her clothes into some clean ones. The good Shepherd had donations for their clients to use and to get rid of the old holey smelly garments that should have been dispensed with eons ago. Maggie was like a new person and fit for a meeting with her new landlord. Nicole at the centre gave her a coffee and a free meal and escorted her to the rooming house lest Maggie had a change of heart and would rabbit out of sheer panic.
Once Grandma got a good look at Mags she knew the lady was just perfect for her home and thanked Nicole for the referral. Mags was feeling so confident that she came out of her shell and offered to help grandma feed the boys and helped clean as a way of saying thanks. There weren’t many women at Grandma’s house so the older woman was also glad for the female company. Maggie ended up being grandma’s greatest asset amongst the riffraff she housed. Maggie was given a private room with a bed and a dresser and a few grandmas hand me downs that had been donated or left behind.
©Copyright Karen Vaughan