Friday, August 10, 2012

George 'the homeless guy'

George walks pushing a wheelchair. He doesn't need the wheelchair. He uses it to carry his stuff, whatever that may be. Some days the wheelchair appears empty, other days, like today, there was a bundle of fabric, rolled into a hobo-like-knap-sack on the seat.

I don't know how long he may have been at the door before he knocked this afternoon. He got up quickly from his place on the top step of the porch when oldest answered the door. He handed him two spiral notebooks, "Maybe you can use these," and rushed off.

"Ask him if he wants some cold water," I told oldest.
He was already to the side walk by the time I stepped out on the porch.
"Do you want some cold water to take with you?"
"Oh, no. I don't know if you can use those," he said over his shoulder. He was wearing his blue jeans again, even though it was pretty hot.

As I turned to go back into the house, I noticed a box of envelopes in front of the doorway, five of them standing up sideways in the box. On the outside of the box was written: This is what my mother gave to me to save money. 

Each envelope that was standing up was marked with a 'bill' like, utilities, food, utilities II (phone), entertainment & misc, rent. A few of the envelopes had amounts and other writing/instructions like the rent envelope also said: try not to put off. The food envelope: must have. Utilities II (phone) had: is a phone a luxury.

This is a well-known budgeting system called 'the envelope system'.

The two spiral notebooks were covered in writing on each front and back covers and many pages inside. It appears to be, at least in part, the story of his life. I corrected the spelling in my transcription but  not the grammar, there was very little, if any punctuation. This is what I could decipher.

Written on the front cover:
I'll try to put it down much better.
As I remember my wife has refused to take the birth control pill and we used each form for birth control.
Rene was a baby at 140 S Home St
Long Beach
Jimmy was our landlord
18 Dapley st
62.50 a mo was our rent.
I had telling to Betty Hoffman on the phone (over)

{writing continues on inside of front cover}
and was in great difficulty in marriage.
My mother tried to save our marriage she said come over to 5402 Pennswood and I will show you how to budget your money.
I went over to Betty marie Hoffman house. My mother and she took out envelopes like this and said divide your money and put them into these envelopes and pay your bills with money order there {illegible} buy.
I did that (back)

{writing continues on outside of back cover}
I was working at Westing-house Electric in Compton as Electric motor repair.
I made $2.86 an hr
90 clear 

I claimed 0 exemptions on file C {illegible} $200.00 back on tax return short form
I worked there for over a year did not {illegible} a check
{illegible} check from Westinghouse {illegible}

On the front cover of the next notebook:
I eventually bought a new 1968 Honda 90CC motor cycle on Atlantic 1/4 mile south of cherry pch
The salesman told me the world might end tomorrow 
the bomb so I bought against better judgment
Later me and Betty separated over a Perty oil man Jim {illegible} (over)

{writing continues on inside of front cover}
I was homeless for awhile and lived at {illegible} mitzer apartment with dirty denise her girl friend on welfare dept {illegible}
I left the motor cycle at steve's and was told {illegible} is at {illegible}
blew it up
Steve repaired it but it never idled ever again
It was stolen from {illegible} home at Larry Smith {illegible} years left

{On the first page of this notebook is written;}
It seems like a million years ago
But I will remember it like yesterday.
I had talked to Betty Hoffman my mother
And as I remember she showed concern about my marriage to my wife and my daughter Rene Austin
Maybe she wanted to help save my marriage
I had many problems at that time
And was very {illegible} with my marriage

{next page}
she told me to come over and she would show me how to budget better {illegible} and my money
I was over and she took out envelopes and said this is how {illegible} it with George T {illegible Hoffman?}

{there is a diagram of envelopes each with a label and amounts}
I made $287 at westinghouse Electric

{next page}
I claimed 0 exemptions on income taxes and got 1 or two checks back from state and federal government and a good way to save {illegible}
I worked for westinghouse for over a year. and my wife cheated with Jim Horwood
so I lost my Id {?}
I had three uncashed checks from westinghouse electric I did not need to cash

{next page}
Me and my wife bought a 1968 Honda 90 {?} motor cycle that I drove to westinghouse electric.
The total cost of the honda 90cc motor cycle was $900.00 {?}
I bought it at a Honda dealer on Atlantic Ave in Long Beach by {illegible} pch
1/4 mile north of cherry

{next page}
I was the first credit I applied for and was accepted by Commercial CREDIT CORPORATION
I have separated from Betty Austin over a pirty oil man Jim Horwood about 1968 {?}
I left it at steve mitzer and leland lightfoot told me steve took it to Hecutt {?}

{next page blank, written on page after}
And raced it and blew it up and it caught on fire
I eventually got it back from steve repair but it never again would idle
maybe over heated
it was taken 
put on a truck 
when me and Betty
lived in Larry Smith apartment

{next page blank, written on page after}
Larry Smith dad worked as a custodian for Long Beach unified school District and I worked at Jordan High as a janitor
I had the key and
locked the wheel to the 
motor cycle and it was 
missing in the morning
{illegible} lot {illegible}
back of {illegible}
{there are numbers and equations after this}
Across the first paragraph is written in large letters: WIFE GO TO WORK?

There is no more writing in either of the notebooks.


  1. Anonymous10:31 PM

    Interesting....things we talked about today....

  2. Wow. What a look into the mumblings of George. He just keeps playing these things over and over in his mind. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing!


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