The Hobo Hacienda

Posted on Posted in Stories, The Younger Years

Who the homeless really are

I touched on this some in the last post, but I’d like to elaborate on how different the homeless really are compared to how most perceive them.

For several months we lived at an apartment complex in Las Vegas, NV that bordered several decent sized deserts. Being that we had basically no supervision, with my mom working to support four kids, we pretty much did what we wanted. In doing so, we spent a lot of time exploring the desert.

We caught snakes, tarantulas, scorpions and anything else that moved.

On one of our outings we found a little hut made of blankets and a small camp fire. Being kids we had to be nosy, naturally.


Image: via Flickr

We hadn’t really got into anything yet, when suddenly a man and women came out of the wooded area behind us. They smiled and asked, “what are you two doing out here?”. “Just exploring”, we replied.

I don’t know why we didn’t run, maybe is was the lack of fear with all the gang ridden areas and projects we had lived in. Maybe it was stupidity.

Before I knew it we were sitting on a couple buckets chatting and eating Chinese food they warmed up on the fire.

They told us that after a string of bad luck they both lost their jobs. Before they knew it, Joe and Lisa were evicted from their home. With nowhere to go and no family to help they lost all their belongings and ended up on the street. From what I remember they were in their late 50s and had no kids. I don’t know where their parents where.

The couple tried several times to get new jobs, but living in the desert with no phone or running water it was  quite the challenge. Would you hire a dirty, smelly, homeless person? Eventually after getting turned down and ridiculed for months they finally gave up and decided to make the best out of what they had. They collected what supplies they could, found a spot surrounded by some shade trees and constructed their blanket and tarp cabin.

If you’ve ever wondered why the homeless stay on the streets, this is why. It’s a never ending cycle and without help they couldn’t bounce back. We were lucky, because with kids you can get into a homeless shelter that helps you get back on your feet. Joe and Lisa weren’t so lucky.

Over the next month or so we spent a lot of time with them. What else are you going to do when you live in the ghetto? We chatted about everything from their former lives and how our things were going in ours. They never complained or blamed anyone for their problems. They were genuinely happy people and just made the best of what they had.

Sadly though, one day we went out to visit them and everything was burnt to the ground. We never did figure out what happened and never saw them again.

At this time the homeless couple had already been living there for over a year. If no one lent them a hand, they more than likely passed away in a dust covered hut somewhere. They had no chance.


Image: via Flickr

These were two great people that wanted to make an honest living. They wanted to go back to work, pay bills and eat a meal that wasn’t begged for on the street. Instead they met slammed doors and were laughed at and ridiculed along the way.

Think you could bounce back from that?

I’ll never forget that dinner we shared with those homeless people. At that age I didn’t realize how amazing it really was. Two people completely shit on by society, offering all they had, to complete strangers.

We could have also been killed and chopped up into their Chinese food. Luckily that didn’t happen. Skinny kids probably don’t taste very good anyway. 

 Joe and Lisa are the reason that I always looked for the positives. When I thought life couldn’t get any worse I always remembered them and how much better I had it. I truly wish I could thank them for that.

How hard is your life? Really?