This is my story…

by Bill Matter IV
Published in Cincinnati Homeless Grapevine, a precursor to Streetvibes


About three years ago, I fell into an awful situation where I lost myself to an unforgettable ordeal. I found myself lost and confused over it. So I sank lower into a depressed stage. I couldn’t find a way to make it anymore.

I just wanted to die. So I found using drugs helped with the pain. I never used drugs or alcohol in my life before. I was 30 years old at that time when I started using.

So my marriage dissipated and I found myself without anything or anyone. One day I had to go to federal court for a trespassing charge. I had been caught hunting rattlesnakes a year before on the San Carlos Indian Reservation. I was on burial grounds. The judge offered probation for it. So I began the probation unsuccessfully. I was using cocaine and finally went to prison for 18 months. I was divorced in prison.

When I got to my institution, I found a pen pal. When I got out, I married her in Las Vegas. We fell into hard times there. We became homeless for a while. We would go and watch people put their money in the slots. They’d put their last dime in them unless a homeless newlywed couple–us–went and asked people if they could help us out with a little change. But they fed the slots, not the hungry.

We hitchhiked to Oregon. It was rough for us. We ate out of hamburger garbage cans for a while. Then we started to work and we became OK financially for a short time. We lost our jobs and I sent her back to her parents.

She was going to have our first child, so it was best for her to be with her family. I finally made it back to her, but her family dogged me and told me I wasn’t welcome. So she stayed with them and I was found in a real bad situation again…”

This is an excerpt from a story on Bill Matter IV and is from Home Words: Writings by Homeless People and those on the edge, a magazine produced by the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless.

For more information, contact the Coalition at: 117 E. 12th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202; (513)-421-7803

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