Saturday, January 01, 2005

Remembering Pete Kelley

I sent this email to friends on Monday, September 25, 2000:

"Sorry we couldn't reach you sooner but they wouldn't let us use the Internet at the library in Buffalo, New York. The librarians said we were non-residents and had to pay a dollar to use a computer. We didn't have a dollar. So they wouldn't let us go online.

We checked-out the missions in Buffalo and the men's was filled with really skanky characters and the women's shelter was full.

The Salvation Army provided us with food and a blanket but otherwise told us to hit the road.

Oh, they DID offer us two bicycles with flat tires. Yeah...FLAT TIRES!

We walked through the alleys and past all the cereal mills that night and ended up sleeping behind a concrete wall on the shore of Lake Erie. IT WAS REALLY COLD!

The next morning, we finally got some rides and ended up in Dunkirk, New York.

We stayed at a motel there after we were discovered sitting on our bags in a doorway. [There was no room in the homeless shelter.]

From there we went on to Canandigua, where we slept in a gazebo in a downtown park.

The next day we found the Community Action Agency and ended up in a Super 8 motel overnight.

New York State has been a real trip!

On our way into Buffalo we got caught in a harsh, blinding rainstorm overnight and called 911 from a closed gas station in Cheek which is located just outside of Buffalo.

The 911 dispatcher told me: "We arrest hitchhikers, we don't help them."

Then he hung up.

We were soaked to the skin and turning blue and then Pete got an idea.

He said, "Let's go behind that Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall and change into dry clothes and then stay under the building's overhang until daylight."

Last night we walked into the village of Brocton where the Baptist Church let us sleep in their building overnight. We ate in a little cafe this morning and now I am typing this to you from Westfield.

We should be leaving New York State today.

I will fight tooth-and-nail to keep in contact with you. Things are getting tougher and colder out here now. And we have already been alerted to the fact that the shelter in Erie, PA has no place for me to stay.

We are hoping that the Salvation Army will respond there. But so far they haven't offered too much in the way of assistance.

Please tell Teena and everybody to hang in there and keep an ear to the rail for us. I have a feeling that the toughest part of this journey is about to begin. It does our hearts good to know that you care.

Your Friends On The Road, Ruthie and Pete."

[UPDATE 2008: Pete Kelley disappeared when we reached Erie, Pennsylvania. I now understand that he is in the Boise, Idaho area. I have not seen or heard from him since the day after the above email was sent.]

[UPDATE 2013: Rest In Peace, Pete. *click*]

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