Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Do not know who coined the phrase: Home is where the heart is. I once had part of an ad pasted into a magnetic photo album with those words on it and an image of a nest ~ blue eggs I think, and maybe a boot was involved with the image. Back then I decided that my heart is inside of me, so where ever I went, I was home. The phrase came quickly to mind as I typed title of this post. Home is the latest Toni Morrison novel.

Lots of bits about homelessness in the short story.

Man was concerned about walking without shoes in winter time ~ a guaranteed arrest, held until he could be charged with vagrancy.

"Interesting law, vagrancy, meaning standing outside or walking without clear purpose anywhere."

Conversation with employees and customers at a friendly restaurant, someone said "We hid in an abadoned house for half a year." When asked what they were hiding from, said "The rent man." Saying that was in 1938 other people at the counter told there stories, which included: sleeping in a freight train for a month; a chicken coop that even chickens would not enter; an ice house; and "I slept on so many floors, first time I saw a bed I thought it was a coffin."

Family driven out of Texas fled to live with relatives, "....grandparents were doing them a big favor letting some homeless relatives live in their house...". Step-mother said of granddaughter: "Being born in the street--or gutter , as she usually put it--was a prelude to a sinful, worthless life."  Granny did not care that "...the homeless family was grateful, doing whatever she wished and never complaining."

Thinking about bad food he had eaten (jail, Korean hospital, garbage cans): "Nothing, however, compares to the leftovers at food pantries."

Frank was "Not totally homeless, but close." "...sleeping on the sofas of drinking buddies or outdoors..." He also "...spent a few nights on benches in the park until the cops ran me off."

Unrelated to homelessness:

Lily arrived home from work to see Frank sitting on a sofa staring at the floor. "One sock on, the other in his hand." Frank is a Korean war veteran. Novel does not term it such: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, nor mention "the thousand yard stare." I no longer do that ~ sit with one sock (and/or shoe) on, the other in hand, just staring and thinking. I used to want to grab my shoulders and give myself a good shake, get a move on, mama! Never understood how or why I picked up the habit, until I learned about that stare.

I adore Toni Morrison. She writes stuff like this:
"And time for old me to gather ouside a storefront and do nothing but watch their dreams go by....".

Yet did not like Home. It is a quick read, interesting tidbits, but lacked substance or something. I thought 11/22/63 was way too long. Perhaps Home was a bit too short to make it a more enjoyable read.

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