An elderly woman is evicted from her home when she goes bankrupt. She ends up living in a shelter until she gets a surprising call.
This is not how I imagined my life would play out. Homeless at 87, and living in a shelter, all that I owned in a carry bag. When you are young and life throws you a curve ball, it's different.
At my age, I knew I didn't have time to get back on my feet. I was knocked down, and out for the count. This is where I am going to die. I'll be buried in potter's field. I thought that no one would know or care. I was wrong.
Barbara and her husband had bought the house on their honeymoon. | Source: Unsplash
I had been living in that house for my entire married life. It was there that my daughter had been born and I thought I was going to die there. We'd bought that house as newlyweds, Hubert and I.
He'd said to me, "Barbie, the mortgage maybe be heavy, but it's also an investment in our future. This is our house and no one can take it away!"
No matter how much you love your children, you still need to look out for yourself.
How wrong he was! I'm sure that if Hubert had been alive, this would not have happened. Hubert was wiser than I. I had always been too soft on Jenny...
Jenny was one of those people who just turn out badly. I spent many sleepless nights wondering where I'd gone wrong with her, what I'd done too much of, what I hadn't given her.
My neighbor Sarah always said, "Barbara, with a sweet woman like you as a mother, Attila the Hun would have been a sweetheart! You mother this whole neighborhood and spoil us rotten!"
Barbara was the grandmother to the whole neighborhood. | Source: Unsplash
It was true. I lavished all the love Jenny refused on those around me, especially after Hubert passed away. He was just sixty-nine. The doctors told me it was a heart attack, but I think it was a broken heart.
That was when we finally realized what Jenny was. A liar, a con artist, unscrupulous and callous. And yet, when she came to me six months ago begging for help I didn't turn her away.
I didn't turn away even a beggar, how could I turn away my own daughter. "Mom," she'd said. "I've straightened out. I turned over a new leaf and I need your help."
She was a very different Jenny. She was growing old. I could see the hard lines around her mouth, the sagging lines of her throat. My beautiful Jenny was old before her time, aged by the life she led.
"I have the chance to open up a restaurant, mom," Jenny said. "Partnering up with a great chef. All I need is for you to guarantee my loan."
Barbara's daughter convinced her to sign a loan on her house. | Source: Pexels
"I can't do that!" I objected. "I don't have that kind of money in the bank!"
"But mom," Jenny said. "You own your house free and clear! You could use it as collateral. I promise you, mom, I'll pay every cent of that loan."
I signed the papers that made me homeless. It was my own fault. I had no right to feel shocked or betrayed when I was informed that Jenny had taken the money and run.
There was no restaurant, no partner. I had just supplied Jenny with getaway money. The bank foreclosed on my house and took my savings to pay off the interest. I was left with nothing.
I was too ashamed to tell Sarah that I had allowed my daughter to deceive me once again. I'd rather die than have the people who loved and respected me know what a fool I was.
Barbara was devastated by her daughter's betrayal. | Source: Pexels
I went to social services and they found me a place at a home for the homeless elderly. How I cried those first nights. I missed my home, and most of all, I missed my neighbors and my friends.
The people around me were lost in their own misery, some worse off than me. So I did my best to live from day to day. Hubert's pension was too small to pay rent but it allowed me a few luxuries, like my cell phone.
Not that I ever used it. I just liked to think that I could reach back into my old life. I never answered any calls from Sarah, but I listen to her loving, worried messages with tears in my eyes.
Then one day I saw a voice message from an anonymous caller. The voice said, "'I bought your house back for you, Barbara. Please come home!"
It was Sarah's voice! I took a bus and went back to my old neighborhood. Nothing had changed in the last six months except my house.
Sarah sent Barbara a voice message. | Source: Unsplash
There was a crew of men outside the house, painting it, fixing the roof... Was Sarah doing all this? For me? Then I saw her standing by the front gate with a huge smile on her face.
"Barbara!" she cried, waving at me. I ran to her and she put her arms around me and hugged me tightly. I couldn't stop crying so she led me into her house and gave me some tea.
"What did you do?" I asked.
"Well," Sarah said. "The bank put your house up for auction, so I bid on it and I won. I want you to come back home, Barbara. This is your house and you should never have left it."
"I...I couldn't deny my own daughter..." I whispered. "I was so ashamed when I realized she'd conned me. That's why I didn't tell you, why I didn't answer the phone."
Barbara was back among the people who loved her. | Source: Pexels
"I know," Sarah said gently. "But you see, I need you in my life more than I need the price of that house, Barbara. You've been the mother I never had and I couldn't have you living in a shelter."
The day I moved back into the neighborhood, they threw me a party. As I stood there, surrounded by loving faces, I realized I wouldn't die alone. I had a family.
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