The Least Among Us: The Lives of Homeless Women in Springfield, Illinois
By: James Traveler
About the Book
In The Least Among Us, James Traveler shares the stories of six homeless women in order "to inject compassion into the numb consciences of those who would write them off." The featured stories are based on interviews with homeless women living on the streets of Springfield, Illinois. The author provides a platform for these women to tell their personal stories while offering a look into "a day in the life of a homeless woman." While this work will appeal to those in sociology or social work, there are vital lessons in empathy to be learned by everyone. The book contains an introduction by Dr. Kay Young McChesney, an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
From the Book
After her coffee arrived, I asked Alicia my last question. “You’ve told me more than once that what you’d really like is for someone to offer you a job. But what about your deepest desires. If you were an architect and could design the life of your dreams, what would it be like?”
“I’m still in a time of life where I’m seeking out a man,” she said. “I’m still in the game. I still try to be enticing. I want to let my special guy know that I’m still a lady. Right now, I might not look it, but underneath, that’s what I am.
“I may not have anything material to offer a guy, but I do have ideas, information, and know-how. I can run a household and hold a job to help with the bills. I’d like to have a garden and grow things for our table. And I know how to love.
“If I had a guy, I’d make him happy. I’d listen to him, pay attention, understand him, and I’d be patient. If he respected me, I’d respect him and help him prosper.”
I asked Alicia what she meant by “prosper.”
“If I loved a guy,” she said, “everything he did, everything we did together, would work out and bear fruit.”