It didn’t take long to convince my mother that we had to let Dawn stay with us until her parents figured out what was going on with their living situation. We hauled the extra twin bed from the basement up to my room and rearranged the furniture to fit. We moved Dawn over to our house with one car trip on a Saturday. Her clothes, clock radio, bedding, her school supplies and some stuffed animals were all she planned on salvaging.

She didn’t say much as we set everything up in my room. We spent so much time at each other’s houses spending the night that it didn’t feel all that different to me, but I couldn’t imagine how crazy it all felt to her. When Dawn got upset about something, she grew very, very quiet. So I knew that all of the thoughts swirling around her head could not be good.

A few days later, the rest of her belongings and everything else in the house was put on the curb. Her parents had not boxed anything up or gotten a truck from a friend or anything. They finally contacted some family members and plucked out of the mass the things they felt were vitally important, leaving the rest there on the curb for the entire condo complex to see. They found a room at a hotel about twenty minutes away; one of those circa 1950s places that often doubles for low rent residences during transitions. The set up was clearly for them and them alone; they were happy to leave Dawn in her lodgings at our house.

My mother tried to do small things to help ease her worries and let her know she could stay as long as she needed to. It wasn’t the first time my mother had “taken in a stray” into her home. A friend of my sister’s from her work was holed up in my brother’s old room as well. Transitions were my mother’s specialty.


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