Life after the store closing was not good. John and Sarah were flat broke. This was before his dumpster diving days, so their food choices were very limited.

John was in a deep depression, and rightly so. He had took early retirement from the job he had for twenty five years, and spent his entire retirement and 401k (about 150 grand) on a failed idea.  He sat in the truck for two weeks, only coming in the house occasionally.  He didn’t bother to take a lot of things into the house from the store. Sarah and John Jr carried in what they could. The rest, including a nice desk, display cases, merchandise, an industrial serger, a floor loom, and a table his father built, remain out in the yard to this day.

Just coming home was a shock to Sarah, as it had been about three months since she had been to the house.  She was greeted at the door by a long haired gray cat. It had been a scrawny kitten the last time she had seen it. There was trash everywhere and the house was (and still is) in terrible disrepair.  There was no running water inside. It was a truly awful place. Cats and a raccoon were coming in through the large holes in the den floor. There was no heat downstairs and the electricity was supplied by illegally placed jumper cables.

On top of everything, John was demanding Sarah to smoke again. Sarah said no, but he was pressuring her so much that she agreed to smoke an e cigarette. She didn’t mind it as much because, instead of having to hide or throw anything away, she could just not do it when he wasn’t around. He still pressured her to smoke real cigarettes, but she stood her ground. Eventually, she stopped puffing on the e cig.

After much begging, John finally got a job as a cashier in a grocery store.  Sarah’s mother paid to have the two well pumps and the hot water heater replaced. 

During this hardship, Sarah’s poetic talents flourished.  The next post will highlight some of the poems from this time.