“This is free?” “This is for me?” “She’s giving us this book?”
Fourteen women walk into the room with backpacks and sleeping bags.
Every week between eight and twenty homeless women meet in a safe place to talk about their ups and downs on the street. Tales of rape and abuse abound. A church lets them use a room each week and serves coffee and pastries. The table has stacks of books on it as they enter. Kaze and Amy greet each woman as they enter and hand them a copy of A Pioneer Love Story, the Letters of Minnie Hobart. They take the books with caution.
Kaze explains, “My friend, Priscilla heard about this group and sent a book for each one of you. She autographed it for you. It’s about her grandmother, a brave woman who was brave enough to be a pioneer. Starting in 1888 Priscilla’s grandmother wrote letters for twenty years from Texas to her mother in Vermont about her experiences. ”
They sit down and flip through the book. Some read it during the group meeting. Others just pat it or turn it over like they can’t believe it.
During their time on the street they have been given many things, like socks, gloves, food and toiletries. But they have never received an autographed book before. This becomes a special moment.
Several comments and questions continue to fill the air: “Was this really about her grandmother or was it made up?” “Why would she give us this?” “Did her grandmother really move away from her family to do something different?” “This is the best gift I ever got.”