teacher recalls homeless youth, living in car with 5 siblings,

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 29 Nov 1998 03:24:27 -0400


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http://www.expressnews.com/pantheon/news-bus/metro/2801bkoc.shtml
=46WD  San Antonio [Texas] Express-News - Friday, November 27, 1998

S.A. TEACHER RECALLS DAYS OF HOMELESSNESS

By Lucy Hood
Express-News Staff Writer

At the age of 12, Ronald Foster was living with his five siblings and his
mother in a station wagon in Portland, Maine.

The homeless period lasted about 2 1/2 weeks, but Foster said it seemed a
lot longer.

Now, at the age of 32, Foster is in his third year of teaching at Truman
Middle School in the Edgewood School District.

He and his wife Stan=E9 live in a two bedroom apartment in Northwest San
Antonio.

But it's been a long and circuitous route from those bleak days in Maine to
=46oster's comfortable lifestyle in Texas.

=46oster remembers waiting in the car while his mother was turned away
repeatedly by homeowners who did want to rent to a single mother with six
children.

"She'd come back and slump down in the front seat of the car," he said.

" 'I can't get rid of my kids, what do they expect me to do?' " he said,
recalling her words.

=46oster's father was in the military and the family had lived in five state=
s
by the time Foster was 12.

The family was living in Tennessee when his parents separated and his
mother, Jeanne Huff, took her children to Maine to be near her family.

But none of Huff's seven brothers and sisters offered to take the family
in, and homeowners would not accept her with six children, so she put a
sign in the car window soliciting a place to live.

The sign caught the attention of a local reporter and a story ran in the
Portland Press-Herald, which prompted a deluge of responses from people
offering to help.

The family ended up living in a large, three-story house for a minimal
rent, but the harsh winters of the Northeast ultimately convinced Foster's
mother to seek a milder climate. She moved her children to Corpus Christi,
where the family had once lived at the naval air station.

Huff and her children received a warmer welcome in Corpus Christi. Old
friends offered them a place to stay until they were able to find their
own, and little by little the family prevailed.

=46oster went to work at the age of 14, first at an ice cream parlor, then a
convenience store and finally at a Dairy Queen.

He had been managing the Dairy Queen for five years and wanted to go to
college but was intimidated by the prospect.

"I was very afraid of going to school," he said.

A supervisor who saw his promise finally convinced him to enroll at Del Mar
College where he studied for two years before going to Texas A&M in Corpus
Christi.

=46oster graduated in December 1995.

"It took me seven years to get a four-year degree," he said.

By that time, Foster was married, and his wife's work brought the couple to
San Antonio. Foster said he submitted applications to 14 school districts,
but found that many of them wanted him to be a coach as well as a social
studies teacher.

His refusal to coach, however, was not a problem for Truman Principal Karen
Hartmann.

"She was willing to give me a chance without any coaching," he said.

Hartmann said hiring Foster is one of the best personnel decisions she has
ever made.

"Since he's been here, he's been wonderful. He's real active with the
student council. He's an excellent teacher. He's very motivational. He
tries to bring a lot of real life into his teaching. The kids love him,"
she said.

Now, 20 years after his brush with homelessness, Foster seems to have found
his calling, one that his mother said he has had in him all along.

He was the one, she said by phone from her Corpus Christi home, who was in
her corner, who believed things would get better.

She said she would tell him, "Ronnie, I feel like you're going to be able
to teach others who go through difficult times in their lives. You will be
able to show others what you've been through."

END FORWARD
** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

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=46WD  San Antonio [Texas] Express-News - Friday, November 27, 1998


<paraindent><param>right,left</param>S.A. TEACHER RECALLS DAYS OF
HOMELESSNESS=20


By Lucy Hood

Express-News Staff Writer=20

</paraindent>

At the age of 12, Ronald Foster was living with his five siblings and
his mother in a station wagon in Portland, Maine.=20


The homeless period lasted about 2 1/2 weeks, but Foster said it seemed
a lot longer.=20


Now, at the age of 32, Foster is in his third year of teaching at
Truman Middle School in the Edgewood School District.=20


He and his wife Stan=E9 live in a two bedroom apartment in Northwest San
Antonio.=20


But it's been a long and circuitous route from those bleak days in
Maine to Foster's comfortable lifestyle in Texas.=20


=46oster remembers waiting in the car while his mother was turned away
repeatedly by homeowners who did want to rent to a single mother with
six children.=20


"She'd come back and slump down in the front seat of the car," he said.



" 'I can't get rid of my kids, what do they expect me to do?' " he
said, recalling her words.=20


=46oster's father was in the military and the family had lived in five
states by the time Foster was 12.=20


The family was living in Tennessee when his parents separated and his
mother, Jeanne Huff, took her children to Maine to be near her family.



But none of Huff's seven brothers and sisters offered to take the
family in, and homeowners would not accept her with six children, so
she put a sign in the car window soliciting a place to live.=20


The sign caught the attention of a local reporter and a story ran in
the Portland Press-Herald, which prompted a deluge of responses from
people offering to help.=20


The family ended up living in a large, three-story house for a minimal
rent, but the harsh winters of the Northeast ultimately convinced
=46oster's mother to seek a milder climate. She moved her children to
Corpus Christi, where the family had once lived at the naval air
station.=20


Huff and her children received a warmer welcome in Corpus Christi. Old
friends offered them a place to stay until they were able to find their
own, and little by little the family prevailed.=20


=46oster went to work at the age of 14, first at an ice cream parlor,
then a convenience store and finally at a Dairy Queen.=20


He had been managing the Dairy Queen for five years and wanted to go to
college but was intimidated by the prospect.=20


"I was very afraid of going to school," he said.=20


A supervisor who saw his promise finally convinced him to enroll at Del
Mar College where he studied for two years before going to Texas A&M in
Corpus Christi.=20


=46oster graduated in December 1995.=20


"It took me seven years to get a four-year degree," he said.=20


By that time, Foster was married, and his wife's work brought the
couple to San Antonio. Foster said he submitted applications to 14
school districts, but found that many of them wanted him to be a coach
as well as a social studies teacher.=20


His refusal to coach, however, was not a problem for Truman Principal
Karen Hartmann.=20


"She was willing to give me a chance without any coaching," he said.=20


Hartmann said hiring Foster is one of the best personnel decisions she
has ever made.=20


"Since he's been here, he's been wonderful. He's real active with the
student council. He's an excellent teacher. He's very motivational. He
tries to bring a lot of real life into his teaching. The kids love
him," she said.=20


Now, 20 years after his brush with homelessness, Foster seems to have
found his calling, one that his mother said he has had in him all
along.=20


He was the one, she said by phone from her Corpus Christi home, who was
in her corner, who believed things would get better.=20


She said she would tell him, "Ronnie, I feel like you're going to be
able to teach others who go through difficult times in their lives. You
will be able to show others what you've been through."


END FORWARD

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is=
 distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in=
 receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. *=
*


HOMELESS PEOPLE'S NETWORK  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/>  Home Page

ARCHIVES  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/archives.html>  read posts to HPN

TO JOIN  <<http://aspin.asu.edu/hpn/join.html> or email Tom <<wgcp@earthlink=
=2Enet>

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