What are People Like Today?
Matthew 25:35” For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
1997. We befriended a family, a mother and four children in Gainesville, FL. The children were fun and one particular relationship was with their oldest son. I became somewhat of a mentor we would venture out to The University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and run up and down the stands to get us in shape. Empty during the week, we had the entire stadium to ourselves. We started a trend there actually. It is now a common practice at the stadium. The four children were good students, impressive and smart talking. Their mother [Ms. Diana C.’s had done them right. In fact, she always tried to do the best for them. Small problems arose however. Shortly after the children’s visits to our home, small items and cash started to disappear. We overlooked it and in spite of it all were glad we got to be friends.
After a year there, with little opportunity for employment in Gainesville, we decided to move to the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul where I used to live. I described to Ms. C. one day before leaving what it was like there and the Minnesota culture of social justice concerns. Besides the cold and snow, Minnesota shows much concern for the poor, the disenfranchised, and the alienated. Dorothy Day Residence Shelter for the Homeless is one such institution there which exemplifies their action, not just lip service. Food banks, free medical clinics, homeless shelters, donation programs of all kinds are common in the area.
We left in September. On December 24, 1997 Christmas Eve, we received a phone call. “Michael, it‘s Diana. We arrived with our furniture. Can you help us unload our moving van into a storage facility? We were given a month’s voucher in a local hotel from ‘Mary’s Place’ and Catholic Charities until the shelter has a place for us.” Sarah and I were shocked. As she explained later, she researched the opportunities for families in her situation in the Twin Cities on the internet and followed us up here. These things just do not exist in Central Florida - no jobs, not much welfare to speak of. She planned it all out, how I do not know.
During the 2,000-mile trip she shared driving responsibilities with her associate friend while her 4 children sat in the towed car. I don’t think that is legal, not sure.
So, Ms. C. unattached her car to the truck, we unloaded it all, and she then took off with her children and associate. He then disappeared never to be seen again.
What a nice Best Western hotel Catholic Charities put her family up in and along with additional food vouchers. After a month they moved into a very small apartment at the homeless shelter. Comfortable accommodations, they settled in. One morning, a reporter from the Minneapolis Tribute ventured onto the Mary’s Place facilities. By chance she ran into Ms. C and her four children. Let me remind you they are very impressive, good looking, intelligent and well-spoken without the often times Afro American dialect. She was drawn to them and decided to interview them and wrote an article that was published in the Tribune. Suddenly, there it was one Sunday, front page.
“Wow, look at this! A three-page article full of photos of Diana and her kids.” I exclaimed to my wife, Sarah. What an impressive article, detailing her background, her personal struggles, her ordeal in coming to Minneapolis, her children. “How terrific.” I thought. Mary’s place had soon after found them an apartment in section 8 housing in a Minneapolis suburb. No sooner had they moved in, their apartment was filled with gifts from all throughout the state of Minnesota. The citizenry of Minnesota was taken aghast by her story of struggle. They felt so much sympathy and compassion that from Winona to Rochester, Moorhead to Bimidji, St. Paul to Mankato, International Falls to Duluth, their new home now had furniture, TVs, food, toys, clothing and gifts of all kinds. And they continued to receive gifts for over a year. “Oh! I should’ve mentioned I needed a car in that interview.” she shouted as more gifts arrived one day. Except for the gifts, Ms. C. planned it all. Truth is, she kept every bit of it. The graciousness of Minnesotans granted, they were hoodwinked and bamboozled. Gracious yet naive, they were purposely taken advantage of. Probably two or three years later, now she owned a home in North Minneapolis. How was that?! Mrs. C. knew how to milk the system. She hadn’t worked a day ever since I met her, as intelligent as she is. Minnesota is now populated by many domestic immigrants from Chicago, doing the same - copy cats. Minnesota is now populated by many an illegal immigrant doing the same. One of the highest taxed states in the union, Minnesota was way ahead of the federal government with all its social welfare programs. President Biden’s administration is fulfilling that same agenda nationwide with the illegals. People aren’t stupid. If it is there, take it. Taking it is easy along with a naive populace that encourages it. Welfare of course exists to help families and individuals emerge from their dire conditions in life. But the same old lesson returns, it breeds a culture of non-productivity and leeching. Those who want to take rather than contribute.
As for Ms. C’s children, they are grown now, and have families of their own. I guess she did well for her children again. I don’t know about the subsequent domestic and illegal immigrants. I don’t know them personally. We still keep in touch with the older son and daughter, with phone calls but mostly on Facebook. Their children are all school aged, ready to face the world. Minnesota and especially Minneapolis is not the same as before the 1990s. Riots and extreme ideological propaganda have helped deteriorate this once relatively crime free and Christian culture. God be with them.
Baglino, Michael J. “Homelessness and Naivete.” www.Catholic365.com