Friday, November 17, 2017


I had so hoped Napoleon, Caleb and Randi* were happy, safe and warm, living indoors in Cleveland. Caleb and I had said our goodbyes week of 11/6, and at that time he told me the kind of embarrassing, personal things that are easier to share with someone you're never going to see again. Now I know how he became homeless. It's a story I'll post someday. Or not. It's very depressing.

Anyway, he was hopeful and enthusiastic about a fresh start with a steady job in Cleveland. Randi was going to take her boards and resume working as a hair stylist. Napoleon would live indoors for the first time in his life. It was all going to be good.

Today, unfortunately, I saw Caleb and Napoleon on their usual corner again. Napoleon was delighted to see me, climbing up my leg and wanting to play. Caleb had the blues ... bad.

It seems that the company that had trained him and made him an offer to be a window washer rescinded it. It was taking him "too long" to make his way out to Cleveland. They had wanted him to start sometime in October and now here it was, November, and there were still obstacles and so basically they said, "don't bother."

This little family had been counting on this! Caleb blames the bad news for Randi's chest cold, thinking it's a psychosomatic manifestation of her depression. I don't know ... it's also flu season. But still, I can imagine how devastating this news was for them. He said she resting in their tent this afternoon while he tried to raise the funds ($46) for them to sleep indoors tonight. I put $6 in his cup but had to run to the bank and then back to the office.

Meanwhile, we had a Friendsgiving gettogether at the office. Everyone brought something -- I brought Frango mints -- and there was a ton of food leftover. I ran back outside with a plate of turkey for Caleb, a little extra gravy for Napoleon and donuts and the zinc lozenges from my last cold for Randi.

He mentioned that he was going to apply for jobs as a forklift driver and as a seasonal helper at the USPS, but that it's hard to be considered when you don't have a permanent address. I mentioned to him that soon Christmas tree vendors would need part time help and that's when he said he'd forgotten how soon Thanksgiving would be here. Now that the job has fallen though, he tends to forget the day and date. That made me sad.

I told him I had a warm coat I'd try to bring for Randi and he thanked me, saying he also hopes I'll bring him some books so we can discuss them. He likes talking books. Then I went back to the office.

What will happen to these two now? Funny, but I no longer worry so much about Napoleon. He's so happy, knowing he's loved, and he has so much food donated by passersby, and a clean box. He doesn't understand how close he was to life as an indoor cat, so he's not sad about the lost opportunity. But Caleb is heartbroken about the setback and now Randi is sick.

I am nagged by realization that there are approximately 2000 "unsheltered" homeless people in The Loop. Caleb and Randi (and Napoleon) just make it more real to me.

*Why can I never remember her name? It's Randi!