Subject: What if you're 74 and broke?

Bart, Marc Perkel wrote:

>"gotta love those Republicans'

> The U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut $700 million dollars from 
> the food stamp program cutting off 235,000 people who will now go hungry.

Dear Bart,
You hear from people all over the world from many walks of life.  Now here is one older lady's 
story from right here in the USA, who has worked all her life since childhood.
I am a small Senior lady of 74 & 1/2 years on a small SS and SSI income.  They are barely enough 
to get by on but not enough to cover expensive emergencies.  Every month my income buys less and less.  
Two months ago my hot water heater broke and flooded my house and I have not been able to afford to replace it. 
BB (before Bush) in the event of such an expensive problem (refrigerator, cook stove, heat stove or water heater 
going out) we low income Seniors could turn to a number of agencies that could grant us help in replacing them.   
Two months when I tried to get in touch with several of them I found that 'Special Circumstances' had been shut 
down and the others were out of money, having had their funding cut severely by the 'VALUES' people in office. 
It really is miserable having to heat water to do dishes and bathe in a bucket, especially in the cold winter weather.  
Heating oil has nearly tripled in price so I only keep the temperature set to 66 degrees and the bathroom never gets that warm.  
I save my grocery money up and go 100 miles round trip every three to four months to town to fill up my freezer and pantry, 
buying only the absolute necessities.  Last week when I made the trip to stock up for the winter my old 1972 Ford broke down 
and I had to be towed to a mechanic and spend a goodly portion of my grocery money for it.  By the time it was fixed it was 
too late to shop for groceries and I had to get home before dark, (can't see very well after dark, part of getting older).  

There is NO transportation to anyplace from here and I have no family so I am completely on my own.  I can't get food stamps 
because I can't afford $35 for gas to go to the town they said I had to go and apply in person and be fingerprinted.  There is no 
guarantee I would get them anyway even though according to the government website form I qualify, because the final decision is 
at the whim of the employee who takes your application and what ever mood she is in at the moment.  Since I have to make 
another trip now to get my groceries I had to cancel a doctors appointment (that's another $35 worth of gas to get there and back) 
as I need that money for the grocery run.
Last Friday I searched the internet again hoping for any assistance for Seniors and low income people that might be available.  
Most were scams that you had to pay to get the information.  Nothing like a vulture scamming the elderly and low income 
needy out of what little they have when they are desperate.  I finally called some numbers from a government website.  
Several only had answering machines and no one has ever called me back from them although I clearly left my name and number.  
I finally got in touch with a fellow who gave me 5 sources to call.  When I called each of them their answering machines referred 
me to other numbers whose answering machines referred me to other numbers whose answering machines referred me to other 
numbers until I was back to the original number I began with!  Five hours later, all 5 sources were basically in the same circle with 
the same numbers, just in different order and I never got to speak to anyone.  Talk about an exercise in futility!  AArrrrrrgggghhh!
Now I am a patient and persistent little old lady and none of that got me down.   What did get me down was what happened next.
I called the fellow back who had given me the 5 source numbers to let him know what happened so he wouldn't waste someone
else's time and money with long distance calls.  I use a computer phone program for only 2 cents a minute so I don't have to have 
and pay for an expensive long distance server.  Although I was very nice the man seemed very upset with me.  He told me first to 
get some of my relatives to help me.  When I told him I have no family he said to get some friends to do it.  When I told him what 
few elderly friends I have are pretty much in the same boat except they have grown kids and grandchildren to help them, NOT ME!   

Then he suggested I ask my church.... when I told him I didn't go to church his reply, in a stern, somewhat angry voice 
more of a command than a suggestion was, "Well you had better start!"
All of a sudden I felt the same panic I had felt in Sunday School as a small child when I was lectured on sin, 
eternal punishment and "The Mark Of The Beast " 
EXCERPT FROM  The Mark Of The Beast  (Rev. 13:16-18).
"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark 
on his right hand or on his forehead so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark,
Shades of "I Love A Mystery"!  I'm living in the twilight zone!!!
I knew it wouldn't do any good for me to approach the godly church ladies here where I live.  For years I had been going to 
their yearly rummage sale and was always invited to their homes to help myself to the fruit of their very productive apple and plum trees. 
They all had big pictures of our idiot-in-chief hung prominintly in their kitchens so I avoided any mention of politics.  I would make 
my own cider, vinegar, applesauce and everything one can make out of apples and plums and keep a bushel or two cool in the 
garage to use all winter.  I would also take a lot of apples to the Senior Center and around to Seniors who couldn't get out and 
go pick the apples themselves an a lot to low income families with children.  I did it even though I was very tired from climbing 
in the trees, picking and hauling.   No easy job at my age but I hated to waste the apples when someone needy could use them.
Last election two of the church ladies did volunteer work at the polling place when I went to vote and found out I WAS NOT 
A REPUBLICAN and since then they have told me their apple trees didn't produce this year.  When I drove past their homes 
the trees were laden and the ground beneath was covered with fruit going to waste.  So much for FAITH BASED CHARITY 
and their CHRISTIAN FAMILY VALUES toward non-republicans!  Guess I missed that commandment, "Love thy neighbors 
The internet and my computer are my only entertainment and connection with non-republican people so you know how much 
I love, enjoy and appreciate your website.  I was a member of a political forum and referring everyone to you until I couldn't 
tolerate the ignorance, superstition and meanspirited tirades of the radcon fundies any longer.  Dittoheads all and willfully ignorant.
I'm not as strong as I used to be and can no longer work outside the home to bring in extra income.  I am still quite resourceful 
though with a keen mind and have been working on some projects on my computer to improve my lot if I can just manage to 
survive another year to complete them and get them going.   Other seniors I know are not as resourceful and I think many of them 
will die this winter without heat, enough food or medicine.  For my whole life I have never turned my back on someone in need 
without finding them help or making sure they were taken care of when their needs were beyond my means.  Now for the first 
time I am frightened and no place to turn.  If I am frightened one can only imagine the terror felt by those lone seniors who have
no families and no hope for developing a project for a better life like I am working on.  I sadly suspect that many will end their 
own lives this winter to be released from an intolerable existence. 
Alas Dear Bart, if the price of my survival, with heat, hot water and full tummy is to be a born again fundie republican hypocrite
.... THE PRICE IS TOO HIGH!    I'm afraid I will have to go on to my just rewards as a barefaced, unrepentant, anti-war, 
pro choice, egalitarian, non-religious LIBERAL with my honor, integrity and morals intact and not for sale AT ANY PRICE.

Kerry, I don't think I ever got a letter like yours before.
I hope you answer my e-mail.

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