Facets: Meet William. It would be awfully nice if he didn't have to worry about his next meal.

Submitted 7 months ago
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Worth Knowing

Meet William. It would be awfully nice if he didn't have to worry about his next meal.  

William was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He grew up there with 3 sisters and a brother. He was an avid athlete in high school. He played basketball and ran track. When he graduated from high school, he went right into the "service." The U.S. was fighting a war in Vietnam. William joined the Air Force. He did 2 tours of duty before returning home. It was the early 1970's, but not so early in the war that people weren't pretty darn unpleasant to returning veterans. It was hard to get work. A lot of people had a low opinion of returning soldiers.

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So William went West. He became an "oil bum" and worked in Texas and Wyoming. He made a good living. In the 1980's, William started to work as a carpenter and did some forestry work. More recently, he hitched east and worked for a timber company in Maine. His boss stiffed him for a month's pay. William has pretty much been on the road since then.

William has mostly been able to earn a wage to make ends meet. He's only asked for help a few times. He's never actually walked up to anyone to ask for a handout. Instead, he'll find a location with decent traffic flow and make a cardboard sign asking for help. People can stop or keep going. He would never get in anyone's face. People are mostly nice or leave him alone altogether. A couple of times in Maine when he was quietly asking for donations people yelled at him to get a job. He doesn't receive any kind of government assistance, social security or veterans' benefits. And he has no savings.

William is staying in a motel in White River Junction. He paid up there for a week. Although the week's just about up, he's hoping to raise enough money to be able to spend a few more days there until the weather is better before he starts hitchhiking towards Nebraska. He's got friends there. They know he's coming. William is 70.

A simple wish: a day when he doesn't have to try to figure out how to eat

Favorite holiday: Easter

You’re reading Facets, a blog that features brief portraits of the people and the places that collectively comprise the Upper Valley. Each one of these people and places is a facet of the Upper Valley. If you'd like to read about more facets, subscribe here.

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