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Home at last

Editor's note: F.B. Drake III has been a freelance writer for the Tidings since December. He became homeless the first week of February and is chronicling the challenges he faces in this daily series. At the end of last week, Drake was given the temporary use of a room in an Ashland home, and expects to move into a more permanent home this week. This is his final entry.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

I awoke at the Community House Shelter at 7:15 a.m. and was out by 7:45 a.m. I proceeded to go on my way; I hauled my gear and hopped on a bus to the Tidings. At the Tidings I was immediately assigned an article covering the Interstate 5 southbound closure due to a snow storm.

After finishing the article, I had a stir-fry and salad that someone brought to me at the Tidings. (Thank you very much, it was delicious!) I then went to the South Valley Community Health Services office in the Ashland Shopping Center, applied for, and received, food stamps. In the process, I met an acquaintance that informed me that a friend had a room I could temporarily stay in. I felt like everything really had changed.

I went back to the Tidings, sat back and let out a huge sigh of relief. I could now regroup and concentrate on getting back on my feet. Since I am no longer on the street, it is here that I must end this diary.

I will continue to face many issues, but I truly got what I needed.

11:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12

I am looking out a window, and it is snowing like a banshee. I'm glad I'm not out in it. I do feel for the ones who are. This past week has been a lesson in how fast one's situation can change and in appreciating many of the things I took for granted.

Ashlanders are the nicest and most generous people I have ever met in my life. I honestly don't think I've ever been in a town with this many wonderful people.

I want to personally thank some of the people and places that have helped me: Ron, Ruth Coulthard, Lenny, Mike, Gentry, Anne Bartlett, Trinity Episcopal Church, First Congregational Church, Ashland Christian Fellowship, the crew at Pangea (for the company), the Ashland Public Library and the Daily Tidings and those who brought things by the Tidings office. You know who you are. Your kindness will not be forgotten.

When approached to do this diary, I accepted the task with hopes that it would heighten awareness about what it is like to have nowhere to go. It was not intended to draw particular attention to myself. Being fortunate enough to have a voice in the media did do just that, but I believe the real reason for the series has been achieved, and for that, I am glad. Thank you.

Contact freelance writer F.B. Drake at drakerusty@gmail.com.