Thanks to Shannon who recommended this memoir about connection, resilience and love in contrast to terrible life circumstances, poverty and despair. It is the story of a young, female advertising executive who walks by a poor boy who is panhandling. The decision she makes has lasting impact on them both.
Laura and Maurice were “destined to meet on the corner of 52nd and Broadway” in New York. Instead of walking by or just giving him spare change, she took the boy to McDonald’s and fed him dinner and learned a little about him. This began a pattern of Monday night meet ups and over time, they helped each other and they built a loving relationship.
Maurice had been living in a series of rooms with his drug addicted mother, grandmother, sisters and various uncles who were in trouble with drugs and the law. Sometimes he did not have food. He showed up to school late, in dirty clothes and was fighting with others. He had no supervision and spent much of his time on the streets.
Laura had grown up in a large family. Her father had abused her mother when he was under the influence of alcohol. The family were afraid of him but they would just clean up the messes and move on with the next day. From her difficult childhood she set a goal to get married and have a loving family of her own. She struggled with relationships. She ignored red flags and ended up two marriages that ended in divorce and never had biological children of her own.
Maurice and Laura became like family. He thought of her as his mom after his own mother cleaned herself up only to die of a stroke. She was a role model and taught him simple things like how to set a table, to do laundry, to work hard and to go to school without fighting. Maurice became her family. He spent holidays with her and later shared his own family with her making her proud of the man that he had become.
This was a book that I listened to in the car. I was not a huge fan of the narration but the story was inspiring and makes one think about the small choices we make every day and the impact that those decisions can have on ourselves and others.