It's 5:30 A.M.: Do You Know Where Your Children Will Live?

Post-Racial America

We are in Long Beach, California, parked in our Wonkebago out front of an old pal's house, with our candy-striped extension cord stretched across the busy sidewalk. Old Dad is in the comfy RV bedroom; Donna sleeps on the table that magic-presto's into a bed; Shy and I are packed tightly next to each other on the foldout couch that's narrower than we thought. We are traveling for several weeks, seeing old friends and new Wonkers (Long Beach, come out and see us tonight!), camping in beautiful mountains and working along the way. We are eating well in our little kitchen things like "diced fresh pineapple cooked in the tacos because I may have forgotten a taco spice packet but I always have a whole, graying pineapple that needs to be cut open NOW." And it was freaking DELICIOUS.

This is the neighborhood I used to live in with my son when he was small. It's a poor neighborhood, packed with immigrants and their American kids, and when my boy would leave his toys in the front yard of our cheap and lovely home, the children up the street wouldn't steal them; they would just break them and move on, and I would feel so sad that they had so much anger. Once, a neighbor child was in huge-eyed disbelief that my son Jimmy and I were so rich we each had our own room! He had never considered such wealth! I felt guilty until I reminded myself there was nothing obscene about a middle-class income (and Social Security survivors benefits from my son's first mom) that allowed me, a single mother, to pay $900 in rent.

We're on the West Coast working on East Coast time, so at 5:30 this morning, I was standing next to the Wonkebago, having poured my first cup of coffee, trying not to look shady in the dark. And that's when a mom, maybe a dad (I wasn't staring) and three children, aged sixish to 14 or so, filed silently out of the apartment building next door. Each child had only a backpack; the mom had a white plastic garbage bag. They turned the corner and walked into the night.

When I told Shy about it when he got up, he assured me they were off to school early because the mom had to go early to work. But I know a family leaving silently on the fifth of the month, ahead of the rent, when I see them. My dad, as always, agrees with me (and, also as always, disagrees with Shy). The baby's never been evicted, so she has no opinion.

I don't know where that family will go, which family member's living room, how far away from the children's schools. I do know that even with our middle class income, again we manage to live the high life and travel. We don't deny ourselves very many of the things that we want. We eat nice ribeyes and drink California wines, and buy you beer and pizza. We have a home, a lovely home, across the street from a lake. Our daughter has TWO swing sets, because the neighbor gave one away. When winter lasts too long, we drive 1200 miles for some sunshine and friends. And people we've never even met send us presents in the mail.

When money gets low for us, and it does every month, I have stopped worrying about where our payroll (and our mortgage) will come from. Consider the lilies of the field. They neither sow nor reap but even Solomon in all his splendor is not arrayed as one of these. God and the Wonkers will provide.

Thank you, readers and beloveds. Thank you for supporting us for almost six years now, with gifts big and small and heartfelt. Thank you for letting us live a safe life, more than two steps ahead of the law. Thank you for letting us keep yelling at you every day about the sorry shape of the world, and for letting us hire good people to yell at you for us, when we are busy being gobsmacked by all that is in it. We are the luckiest people in this crazy world in which we live in (grammatical error courtesy of Paul McCartney, NOT ME).

I am still sad though. Let's, just today, be kind.

Rebecca Schoenkopf

Rebecca Schoenkopf is the owner, publisher, and editrix of Wonkette. She is a nice lady, SHUT UP YUH HUH. She is very tired with this fucking nonsense all of the time, and it would be terrific if you sent money to keep this bitch afloat. She is on maternity leave until 2033.


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