Well the street kid part is fairly uncomplicated, a problem child from a broken home subjected to what we’ll call mild emotional abuse. A child of parents who had both remarried and had become so consumed with their new lives that I had become very much in the way; add to this my behavioural issues and I could easily be reclassed from “unproductive” to “counterproductive” in their eyes. The prospect of leaving home , dropping out of school and living on my $3.45 per hour local hamburger shop wage seemed like my only option; so with little to any resistance I did just that. Some 28 years later I am now clear it was just that…my only option.
I landed a bachelor apartment with a shared bathroom in a boarding house with 3 other people who had just moved to town from Newfoundland, Canada. We were a random cast of characters with very little in common other than the need of a cheap place to stay. The building itself had 7 other units with transient drug addicts, thieves, felons, and alcoholics all well represented.
Without any input, my new roommates called home to Newfoundland and had convinced their friends to hitchhike down to Ontario and stay with us until they found jobs and got on their feet. New faces showed up daily; needless to say no one go on their feet, and pretty soon we had 10 people living in a 300 sq ft space. I quickly became the outsider in my newly found home. There was no privacy, no personal space and anything of value left unnattended was taken and sold for drugs.
Our arrangement did not last long; 3 months at most. The collective rent we were all contrubuting to the one individual had somehow never found it’s way to the landlord and we were all evicted. I was 16, about 140 lbs, 2 full years from hitting puberty, scared and way out of my element and now homeless…