Monday, July 29, 2019

HOMELESS IN MIAMI (Part Two.) Jack Blanchard's Column


(Part Two)

We parked in front of the Intercity Finance office and went in.
The woman behind the counter took our car payment money and gave us a receipt.
Just as we were about to leave she asked:
"Why do you have the car packed with clothing and bags?"
I was still young and honest, so I said,
"It was a choice between our rent and the car payment. We decided to pay you".

She asked us to please wait for a moment, and went into the back somewhere.
She came back and said their legal department ruled that without an address,
we couldn't keep the car.
We told her we had just given her all our money, but she wouldn't return it.

This was the help she gave us:
She would allow us to keep our things locked in the car, at her office,
until Monday, when they would reopen.
If we had an address by then we could have the car.
We were broke, homeless, and with no transportation,
facing the long weekend ahead.

We didn't know which way to turn as we went out into the late afternoon heat.
For some reason we hitchhiked to Hollywood.
Maybe because we had worked around there,
and might run into somebody we knew.
The sun went down fast, the way it does in south Florida, and we got hungry.
I knew the family that owned Jimmy's Italian Restaurant.
The son was sort of a friend of mine.
He gave us dinner and we promised to pay later.

Midnight came and went and we were still walking.
No luck anywhere.
We were sitting on a bench in the big circle in the center of town.
Directly in front of us was the old Hollywood Hotel,
a castle left over from the Al Capone days.
I remembered that I'd met somebody who told me he was the night clerk there.

We went in and I asked the guy if he had a place we could sleep for free.
He said "Well it's now 3 AM, the day clerk doesn't come on till seven,
so I can let you sleep in a room for four hours."
We took the deal.

Somehow we got through it,
but things didn't get much better for a long time.
We didn't know that we would eventually have hit records.

Part Two.

After being homeless on the street for several days, broke and without a car,
we got the car back from the finance company.
It died and we left it on a street and told the finance people where it was.

My mother didn't have money but she drove us around to find a place to live
and gave us a few dollars to get a room by the week
in the worst dump ever, on a slum street.
An old dark green window shade, a single bare light bulb hanging on a wire.
Shared bathroom down a creepy hallway.
No food allowed in the room.
When we were out looking for gigs they locked us out of the room with our stuff in it.
We got a junk car from some crooks with no money down, and on and on.

It took a couple of more years to get a normal old car
and an efficiency apartment in a motel.
Eventually we fought our way out of the poverty,
and bought a new three bedroom home on a VA loan.
Naturally we lost the home after about a year, but things were looking up.
We went to Key West, got signed to a four song recording contract.
and our career started.

(Note: This will probably be the first chapter in our book.}

Jack Blanchard

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
Home Page:
Billboard Duet of the Year, Grammy and CMA Finalists

Jack Blanchard, 2019

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