ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Short Stories: The Strawberry Shortcake: A Story about Homelessness

Updated on July 26, 2012

I gave him a strawberry shortcake from Lucky's and he acted like I'd given him a four-star dinner. I'd often seen his type on the corners, looking pathetic, signs reading "Homeless, can you help?". Different faces but all looking the same - dirty, stringy, ragged with worn-out clothes.

But this man looked different. His eyes resembled my fathers eyes. The same color blue, the same wrinkles at the corners. Everything else looked like those street people though - unclean, long nails, the far-away look, here but not here.

I realized that by inviting this man into my life that I'd given him much more than a strawberry shortcake. I'd given him a little piece of his dignity back. Have you ever stopped to look at those street people? I mean, really look? Or do your hands recoil at the the thought of touching them? Or do your eyes look far-away from them, afraid to face their reality? Do you feel embarrassed by them?

This mans reality now stared me straight in the face. I wondered how many people even thought to themselves that these people had a mom, a brother, a sister or a child?

I knew that I had to do something different this time. 20 years of hospitals, 30 years of mental illness, a mind going in and out of the real and the unreal.

Everyone deserves dignity. No one can ever know what forces bring a person to the lowest type of despair - living on the streets. Do we blame ourselves, do we blame the system, or do we blame the homeless? Homelessness is troubling for all of us. Who knows what chance of fate could throw anyone of us into that place?

I want to give that man with the shortcake his dignity back. I want to see him stand tall and face the world again, broken once but whole again. I want to give that man with eyes like our fathers a better life. One filled with hope and excitement for the future.

After all, he is my brother.

@Copyright Dorsi Diaz 2011


My brother and I in July 1959

My brother was 11 and I was 1 when this picture was taken. My sister Sherry passed away shortly after this photo was taken. She was 13 when she died and her and my brother were very close. They were very close.
My brother was 11 and I was 1 when this picture was taken. My sister Sherry passed away shortly after this photo was taken. She was 13 when she died and her and my brother were very close. They were very close. | Source

More about the author

This is a true story. I wrote this in 2001, the last time I saw my brother in the hospital. He disappeared when I went on a business trip and I have not seen him since. He is now 63, 10 years older than me and my only surviving sibling. My brother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in his 20's and has been in and out of mental hospitals for the last 35 years. He was in the Navy twice and served during the Vietnam war. Our family struggled many years to help my brother and to this day still love and care about him. Mental illness can tear a family apart, and cause the sufferer to end upon the streets, desolate and alone. No one ever wanted this for my brother. We all tried very hard to help him but like Hillary Rodham Clinton says, "It takes a village to raise a child". The system has not been kind to our veterans nor has it been kind to those with mental illnesses. Families need to work together, not apart, to help someone navigate the system to get the help they need. I miss my brother and have heard that he is still alive as of last year. He sent our parents a postcard with a short note saying he was OK. I wrote him back but he did not reply to my letter. He had probably moved on - again. I hope to hear from him one day, to have him show up at our doorstep. He will always be a part of my heart, and as long as he is out there, I will always worry about him.


(Dorsi Diaz, the author, is a freelance writer, photographer and artist. Dorsi writes on a broad series of subjects and most of her work is non-fiction)

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

    Dorsi Diaz 

    6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

    @hello,hello) Thank-you. I do have hope that he will show up one day.

    @glassvisage) Thank you so much. I had written this many years ago and thought it would be a good story to tell and may help another family to know they are not alone.

  • glassvisage profile image

    glassvisage 

    6 years ago from Northern California

    This is beautiful and captivating to read. Everything about it is perfect, and I'm glad you provided the context to really make this more meaningful.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    6 years ago from London, UK

    Very well written but so sad. I am sorry to read this. I wish you al the best and hopefully one day soon you will find him.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)