Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Escaping Homelessness March 10, 1999 to October 4, 1999: "Free At Last What A Gas!" I Rent My Own Apartment And Find A Great Job

Escaping Homelessness: March 10, 1999 to October 4, 1999: “Free At Last What A Gas!” I Rent My Own Apartment And Find A Great Job

The morning of March 10, 1999, I awakened at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles around 05:00. I was anxious. There was a rumor of another contempt of court citation floating around. It would have meant another 9 months in jail. When I read my morning Bible verse, I knew that I was going home that day. After breakfast, I was taken to receiving and discharge.

They interviewed me to make sure that I was the proper person. I was given some awful street clothes and over $200 to cover my travel costs. I was escorted to the ground floor and released. Oh how good it felt! I walked the streets of Los Angeles for a long time. I went past places where I had lived and worked from 1988-1990. I read about a new South American restaurant that had just opened called Ciudad. I had lunch there. I tried to find old friends but they had vanished. I went to the Greyhound Bus Station later in the afternoon. I bought my ticket to San Jose and waited to catch the bus.

During my time in custody some wonderful people helped me to keep my life going as follows:
Jack and Sacha Stel: They continued to pay me commissions on the new business that I had developed for the travel agency. They also wrote positive letters to my judge.
Joao and Djenane Santos: They took over my personal affairs. They collected most of my possessions and kept my cars registered and running.
Jimmy Martin: He was a retired US Marshal who stored my bicycle and other personal possessions.
Lovern Costner who wrote letters to my judge and advocated for my speedy release.
Tom Miller, Attorney: He kept a lot of money that I had received from the employer paying $100 per hour. He also made court appearances for me.

I rode the Greyhound bus all night long from Los Angeles to San Jose. I arrived at 05:00. I called Joao Santos and awakened him. He came with one of my cars and some clothes. I thanked him. I rode around San Jose and had breakfast at an old hangout. I went to Oakland and met Tom Miller in his office. He gave me a nice check from the second employer. I thanked him and got the check cashed. I had enough money to rent an apartment. But I had no job or stability in life. I decided to wait until I had a job before taking this step. I rejected renting a room again because of all my bad experiences with renting rooms.

I went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant. I enjoyed my first Margarita in months. I saw a woman friend from Malaysia. We spent some very pleasant time together. I stayed in a motel on the first night of my freedom. I enjoyed clean sheets, air conditioning, cable television, etc.

On the following morning, I went to Inn Visions homeless shelter and got back in the rotating church program. I started a job search. I went out working construction to get back into good physical condition and get a decent tan.
When my old cars would not run, I had to quit construction and go back to exploitation jobs. For four hours in the morning I worked for LPL Financial. This was a nice company that helped people to manage their retirement. From 4:00 PM until 10:00 PM I worked at Celebrity Prime Foods selling food on the telephone.

I got approved for a two-bedroom apartment at the Glen Willows Apartments. I got approved. Rebecca Darr helped me to pay the damage deposit. On July 4, 1999, I put all my possessions in the back of a pick-up truck. I was driven from a church to my new apartment. I moved in. At first I was sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. It didn’t matter I had my own home. The following week the Catholic Church and another aid agency contributed enough furniture to furnish the apartment.

My rent on the apartment was over $1,200 per month. I decided to rent out the other bedroom. Thanks to Craigslist, I found an excellent tenant who stayed with me for a long time. Her name was Jacqui Kwon. She was from Pusan, South Korea. She paid half the rent of the apartment.

My job search continued. I know people love all these computer websites to find a job. A lot of people talk about networking and friends. I have had the most incredible good luck just using the old-fashioned help wanted ads in the classified section of newspapers. I September of 1999, I found a help-wanted ad for an international salesman. I called and made an appointment for an interview. Both of my prospective bosses were older than me. My age would not be an issue. I passed the interviews and got a job offer. It was with Telewave, Inc. My starting salary would be $38,000 per year. To me this was a fortune. On October 4, 1999, I reported for work at 07:00.This would be my job for the next eight years.

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