500 women over the age of 50 on the monterey bay peninsula are experiencing what I have as well as people across the country have been writing to me telling me their stories. Cici and I are overwhelmed with gratitude for the people who have sent me kind words, donations and offers to help us. A special thank you to Melody and Diane, two inspiring women who gave us hope and friendship on the road.
Thank you to Eleanor at Vox and Karen Turner for their kindness and assistance with this article.
We have been featured on some pretty high profile pages, see below.
We also love what our friend Wanda Sue wrote about us in this week’s Cedar Street Times:
Monterey Workshop addresses Affordable Housing Solutions
Ask yourself: Now what was that all about?
Reducing a speech, lecture, or event into a one-line summary isn’t easy, but you’ll be surprised what you discover by condensing a major phenomenon into ten words or less.
If interested, try this: Focus on one specific event, such as the first Presidential Debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump last Monday. Then ask: What was that all about?
When I did the exercise, fifteen hours of contemplation resulted in extracting a comment Hillary made at the opening of the debate. Paraphrased, the most-important message I culled from event was:
One out of two Americans lives paycheck to paycheck
Never mind the fact neither candidate mentioned the H word. Hillary’s statement implied poverty is already a national epidemic. Mass homelessness proportional to disenfranchised Americans of the Great Depression years seems imminent, even in a paradise like Monterey..
That not-too-distant future is now for CeliaSue Hecht, about whom you’ve read in this newspaper.
The former journalist who’s now homeless lives a nomadic life which is currently reminiscent of Biblical times.
Monterey’s rider on a horse with no name
CeliaSue is a stalwart symbol of bright, sober and mature homeless women with both courage and talent. She is a well-bred middle-class, college-educated former New Yorker, age 66, whom homelessness turned into a living example of the legendary person crossing the desert on a horse with no name. The steed in her case is a dusty white van shared with her dog Cici. It serves as the office from which she freelances as a writer and blogger.
During the six-months in which the City of Monterey was researching the feasibility of adopting five amendments to its Housing Element, each of which might hopefully ameliorate the affordable housing crisis in the city, CeliaSue Hecht went south to avoid becoming a starfish on another cold winter beach in Monterey.
Hoping to find a cozy room at an inn, she found instead, what I would succinctly define as a temporary oasis in The Promised Land for the Homeless, otherwise known as the desert near Giant Rock Airport.
The Promised Land for the Homeless?
CeliaSue has been sleeping in a trailer on a campsite where she helps tend a herd of thirty-plus goats. There is no running water or electricity, but a perk in this region noted for flying saucer sightings is an occasional anomaly above the yucca trees that could be a fortuitous sign or even revelation of future things to come.
Look at the photo and ask yourself: What is this streak all about? Then try to define it in ten words or less.
As a help, you might remember the most-beloved Bible story of them all, in which a bright star appears over the manger in which an infant sleeps while shepherds tend their flocks by night.
When I asked myself what this is all about, the answer was: History repeats itself.
If this goat could talk, it might reveal where the homeless go from here by baa-baa-baa-ing, “There’s lots of land in the Great American Southwest!