People Who Have Lived at Our House
by Savanna Peterson
My mom is very caring and doesn’t have the heart to say no to old friends from her past, her birth father, or my brother’s friends. My mom has always let someone live with us, for some odd reason. That is just something I would not do. These people have either lost their homes or got kicked out of their house for drug use. People always come to my mom for help because they see that she made it out of the ‘ghetto’ apartments where we lived when I was younger. Mom provides a good home for us, but it’s hard when so many people eat our food and don’t pay rent.
My mom has three kids she has to pay for, and when more and more people come to her for help, it’s hard on us kids. Mom loves to help people, but every time she does, they don’t appreciate it. I don’t think there ever was a time when it was just me, my mom, my brother, and my little sister living in our house. There has always been someone living with us who doesn’t pay rent.
People Come and Go
Besides my little sister’s dad, who lived with us until Autumn was three, my mom let Jerome sleep on our couch because we only had a two-bedroom apartment. He would do dishes, clean up the house, and even babysit us. My mom kicked him out when she found out he did drugs. Then there was Mario, who always brought us new clothes, but we found out he was stealing suitcases from the airport and all the clothes were stolen. When my mom had a new fiancé, Brad, we moved into a new house. She let her friend Anita live downstairs. She would show up with random guys and rarely paid rent. Next, there was Pam. She was funny and always jumpy and hyper. My mom felt sorry for her because she lost her apartment and had to live in a motel. Mom said there was always a funny smell in the house, but figured it was some kind of perfume. I went through Pam’s stuff when I was little and found a pipe. My mom found out that she was smoking meth, and that she worked for an escort service. She was kicked out. Now I hear that she’s doing well and has become a police officer.
Then there was Steve, who lost his job and lived with us for free for a long time. He would eat all of our food and would always borrow money from us and hasn’t paid any of it back, to this day. Steve would sit on his butt and smoke weed all the time.
Ted Came to Live with Us
My mom found out that her fiancé had an addiction to pain pills. He quit his job and never looked for work. When Mom broke up with him, we moved into a house two blocks away. Ted, a good friend of our family, moved in to get away from drug problems at his own home and took care of us while my mom worked. Ted was never my mom’s boyfriend. He had a job and helped out by driving us to school and buying food. I have to admit, I was sad when Ted left.
All of my brother’s friends would sleep at our house a couple nights each week. None of them finished school, had jobs, or contributed to the household, but they did eat our food.
Granddad Came to Stay
Then my granddad came to stay. He hadn’t seen my mom for most of her life, but when he lost his job and driver’s license in another state, his brother gave him an airline ticket to come to Utah. Granddad is in his fifties, but he drinks all the time and sometimes acts like he’s sixteen. For a long time, he didn’t have a job, but he’s working now. He has been living with us for five years. He cleans the house and gives my mom money when he has a job.
Natalie Moved In
Before we moved into our next house, my mom’s old friend Natalie came along. She was always doing laundry. It’s like she was obsessed with laundry. My mom didn’t want her to move with us, but she packed her clothes in large garbage bags and stuck them in the moving truck. She put all her stuff in one of the bedrooms, before my little sister could move in. Natalie didn’t have a bed or any furniture, so she slept on the floor. When she got a job, she still didn’t pay rent. My mom told her to pay rent by the end of the month, or move out. One day, she just didn’t come back. It’s been over a year and she never came for her things. We found out that she’s doing meth, which is no surprise.
Lisa and the Needle
A few months ago, Lisa dumped all of her things in middle of our living room. She had a sad story about having her kids taken away from her and the last thing she remembers is waking up in a hospital and she had been beaten up. Lisa said she had a broken foot and had to take pain pills, and she’s diabetic and has to take insulin. She went into a panic, looking through her bags, trying to find her needles. My mom told her she needed to go. My granddad loaded all of her things into the car so he could drive her to her mother’s house. He got pulled over because the license plates were expired. When a cop searched the car, he found a needle under the seat. Lisa told the cop that the needle belonged to Granddad. He was about to be handcuffed and taken to jail when they found out that she had a record, and took her instead. The substance in the needle wasn’t insulin, but the cop was unsure what it was.
My mom has a friend named Amanda she’s known since junior high.
She told my mom she had nowhere to stay and asked if she could leave her things at our house for a few weeks. Her son Ryan, who is fourteen, came to stay with us for a few days, and he was in trouble because he missed a court date. Amanda showed up to get her son, but he didn’t want to go with her, because she was singing loudly and picking fights with everyone.
When Amanda went into the kitchen, my mom asked her what she was doing. “He won’t listen to me,” she said.
Next thing we knew, Amanda had a knife and tried to stab my brother in the chest. He backed up and she barely broke the skin. We all thought she was trying to stab her son, and got my brother instead. My brother’s friends snuck her son Ryan out the back door and got him into a car so his mom wouldn’t hurt him. Then Mom called the cops. Amanda was loudly singing Cherokee Nation while a cop handcuffed her and put her into his car. Another cop came into the house and asked us all to make a statement. I said, “Don’t you think you should give her a drug test?”
The cop said, “Oh, we already know she’s on something. There’s no need to do a drug test.”
When my mom went to apologize to the neighbors for the disturbance, she heard a strange story. The day before, when Amanda moved her things into our house, she went door-to-door introducing herself as their new neighbor. “Oh, you’re a friend of Katie’s then?” they asked.
“No, not really,” she told them.
My mom is just too kind to people, and they take advantage of her. It’s not my mom’s fault they can’t keep a job and they lost their homes because of drug use. Everyone comes to my mom for help. I do my part, of course. I make them feel as unwelcome as possible. I will do anything and everything to make them feel uncomfortable. I love doing that. They don’t deserve to feel at home.