Thursday, June 18, 2015

My Son Joseph

Many of you do not know I have a homeless son. His name is Joseph Scott Rummerfield. He is 40 years old and is mentally ill and in this country, we cannot help someone who does not want to help themselves.

This is just an update of my son, I felt the need to share. I am not asking for anything from you, but if I make you think just once differently of the young person or old person you see that is homeless, I know Joseph would be proud~!

Update on my Son Joseph

Joseph with his nieces April 2014
I want all of you to know how important it is for us to see, recognize that homeless people have faces, they have families, they have feelings and while many of them have addictions, many do not and many are mentally ill and lost in a world where they do not fit in and where mental health services are continually cut to the bone.

In April, we took our family vacation and spent a day with Joseph and his amazing dog Hunter (Hunter's life expectancy is not much longer so please pray for Joseph, this loss will be a huge blow to him!).

The first thing we did was take him to get his ID card. Since it has been lost or stolen so many times, we took the original to a friends home and gave him a paper copy. Honestly, he was so drunk, I am surprised they took his picture, but the lady at the counter was very sweet.

Then we took him to Saturdays Hair Salon.
Saturday's is a very nice salon and Joseph wanted his hair and beard cut.  I was blown away, amazed and in tears before we left. 

Everyone knows him, everyone greeted him with smiles, the young lady that did his hair and beard treated him with care and compassion. It was an amazing experience for me! We walked out with me barely able to say thank you.

Since that day, I have an agreement with Saturday's. Anytime Joseph walks in for a hair cut or beard trim, they call me to ensure I can cover it and they give him a good shampoo, cut and trim. I have come to think of this salon as family!

After that, we took him to get a new hat. Funny, he wouldn't but his old one on his fresh wash and cut head, said it was stinky!!!

We had pre-arranged with several of his family members and my ex-in laws (aunts, uncles, sister-in-law, niece) to meet up with all of us at a local Mexican Food Restaurant and to my joy, they knew Joseph very well. So well in fact, they had to make sure he didn't take his beer bottle outside when he went to smoke.

Joseph has chosen the homeless lifestyle for many years. With the exception of his father, all of us have tried to get him help, paid for detox facilities, rescued his dog from the pound, picked him up from jail, etc.  I say this because so many times people think it is okay to go on the attack against me for him being homeless. We cannot control our children after they turn 18 and the law does not allow us to 'commit them!'

I say this because everyone in town seems to know him and while eating we had a young couple that glared for several minutes at us, up until the above picture was taken and I think what they saw was a man who is so loved by his family even though he had lost his way.

Fast forward to now:
  • Joseph had a dream one night, called his uncle the next day, entered a detox facility and has been sober for more than 4 months.
  • During his sobriety, he quit smoking cold turkey!
  • Joseph is still homeless, but working closely with a woman who has gotten him into see doctors and other professionals to get him the medical care he needs and to help him receive the benefits he needs. **Before you snarl and judge, Joseph is legally mentally ill, spent several years in group homes, has a technical certification in the cable business but due to a severe speech impediment, does not speak well!**
  • Joseph has numerous business owners who love him and will allow him to use his cell phone to call me or his aunt and uncle who live locally.
  • Joseph is my news son. While his older brother lives in town, it is Joseph who tells me when one of my ex-in-laws is sick or passes away and he will seek another street person out he knows has a computer to contact me. He just always keeps me posted!
  • Joseph has spent many years at the bottom of a bottle, he knows it, I don't need to tell him that, but his mind is like a well-oiled machine, he remembers dates, details and happenings, that most of us do NOT remember, it amazes us.
  • Joseph is homeless, but he is not uncaring. On Christmas day a local Hispanic family that brings him water, food, dog treats, etc. brought him a cooler full of Tamales. He shared one with his brother, he ate one and then put them away. His brother says about 15 minutes later, a man came by asking about Tamales and where he could find some. Joseph walked over and handed the man (in a Cadillac Escalade) the entire cooler and wished him Merry Christmas. When his brother asked him why, his reply was, 'I had one, I have no place to keep them, the man wanted some for his family.' No money was exchanged, just a homeless person blessing someone who wasn't homeless!
  • On Mother's Day, Joseph called me in tears because he couldn't send me flowers! I was crying and told him, the best gift he gave me was a phone call!
Yes, my son is still homeless, but what I want to let you know is he is sober, he is non-smoking, he has family who loves him, he has never been arrested for theft or drugs, only vagrancy and drunk in public. The judge saw him sober for the first time in years, saw his change and dropped the charges and told the officer, 'why do you keep bringing the homeless to me for these charges? You know they can't pay, can't make it to court, what is the point? Save the jails for criminals!!! AMEN!!!

I will be the first to say I don't give money to most people asking for it. I recently saw a homeless vet that lost his leg and while I had no money, I told him thank you for your service, he cried!

I recently walked out of a business and saw a young man sitting on a bench, he took his shoes off which were well worn and was putting on new socks. He looked up at me, he smiled and never said a word...I gave him the last $5 my husband had and told him, 'I know you didn't ask for this, but I feel I needed to give it to you.' 

With huge tears in his eyes, he whispered, 'Thank you, God Bless You!' 

Joseph told me during our last phone conversation. 'Mom, all the drunk and druggie homeless want me to start drinking again. I now know why. When I am drunk, the steal my stuff. Now that I am sober, they can't take anything from me and they are jealous because they know I am getting better.'

He stays in the shadows as most homeless do, in doorways of closed businesses, he stays where the police can see him when they patrol (they have asked him to, so they can check on him), he stays to himself...but they come...NOT the people who could offer him help, not the people who sit in pews and act so holy on Sunday's, not the man he gave the Tamales to, no, none of them come to offer him a cool drink of water, but they do offer him comments that are hurtful.

The others, the come to. The drunks and druggies come to harass him and he walks away with Hunter his trusted friend and companion for so many years that is getting older and one day will cross over the Rainbow bridge. The family that brings him fresh cool water each day, those that buy him his favorite Subway sandwich, the aunts, uncles, cousins who bring him fresh clothes and take the dirty ones to wash.

Joseph will make it, because Joseph has family who cares. Family who love him and while we cannot control his life, we are thankful he is with us.

Please, I am not seeking pity from anyone or condemnation, I am just letting you know the next time you see a homeless person, think of Joseph and if you do nothing more than reach out to say hello, well, sometimes that is all they need, is someone to acknowledge they are not invisible!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Cherry Fabric Needed to Finish Border

If anyone has any of this cherry fabric from JoAnn's they are not needing, one of my local postal clerks under estimated her border and needs some to finish a quilt.

It was sold at JoAnn's, she purchased it several months ago and now they no longer carry it.

I am sure she would be willing to pay for it and the postage. Contact me if you can help this quilter out!

Monday, June 15, 2015

More and More Quilts For our Shelves

From Karen in Arkansas
From Karen in Arkansas

From Myra in Bellingham

From Adele in LA

I did NOT it was possible to have a never ending cough, but I am beginning to believe I have exactly that. I have been battling an upper respiratory infection/virus/whatever it is off and on since February and I cannot seem to shake it. It goes incognito for a week or two and comes back with a vengence.

I am still opening, photographing, logging quilts in from last week. So if you do not see yours yet, I will get to it over the next few days I promise!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Yesterday's Mail Call

These came in yesterday...the large box on the right? Well, that came to the wrong place and so we delivered it back to the post office!
From Selina of Port St. Lucie
From Adele in LA
From Jeanna of FL
From Sherry of IA
From Sherry of IA

From Carol E. of St. Paul, MN

The beautiful, bright and sunny yellow quilt is heading off to Texas to bless a 911 dispatcher (there were quite a few) who lost her home to the floods.

We also received a huge thanks from the Tonasket, WA fire department for the 5 quilts we sent to the fire fighters that lost homes in the Carlton Complex Fire last year.

Slowly, but surely, we are catching up!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Beautiful Quilt Story

An Unknown History Makes For a Great Future For This Quilt
The above quilt is just gorgeous. It screams sunshine and summer to me and it is amazing in its size and up close is all hand pieced.

What makes this quilt so special? Because it was discovered by Alex of San Francisco who is a new resident of the United States from England at a place called SCRAP.

From what I read, SCRAP (Scroungers Center for Reusable Arts Parts) is truly an artists paradise with all kinds of amazing things that have been recycled from fabric to paper to wood, etc.

Alex was wandering through SCRAP one day and stumbled upon this quilt top buried under some 'stuff,' she carefully uncovered it and told me she just could not allow it to sit there and go to waste.

Alex brought it home, washed it, adding batting, backing and binding and shipped it out to Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 via the H2H Charity Quilt drive of 2015.

We have been blessed this year to be one of the accepted charities and while I have received a few already this year, I have only received two that have come with a story.  

When the recipient for this one is chosen, they will receive a copy of the letter Alex sent to me outlining the history of this quilt. It will have quite a story to tell!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Three Beauties

From Lisa in KY

From Laurie in VA

From Lisa In Ky

These 3 quilts all came in this week via the H2H 2015 charity quilt drive.  Of course, I have a few more to get pictures of, but will get them posted hopefully tomorrow.

Lisa, sent quilts to us because of our support of VA Tech during the shooting years ago and I sent quilts out to their 911 center.
So nice to hear why someone chose our organization.

It appears that I probably need to permanently hand the camera over to 12 year old Diva Girl because she does such a good job!