One spring evening as I’m reading in bed, Marly calls and tells me that there is a man sleeping on her porch. “I think he’s moved in, Mom. The couch on the porch is his new home base. He’s planning to stay.”
“How long has he been there?”
“Three nights and three days. He’s wandered off a few times, but he keeps coming back.”
“Where did he come from?”
“I don’t know. Most likely the shelter or the rehab place. Or maybe he used to live at the liquor store.”
The homeless shelter, the rehab center and the liquor store are all located near Madison Manor, a Victorian mansion in Grand Rapids whose three stories and carriage house have been carved up into sixteen apartments. Marly has the first floor apartment on the right and in the front—two small rooms plus a tiny kitchen; high ceilings with carved wooden moldings; three tall bay windows that look out onto the wide, rickety porch. All that lies between the liquor store and the manor’s porch is an alley and a parking lot, and the rehab center and the homeless shelter are just a few doors down the street. Because of this proximity, it isn’t rare for homeless or at least wandering, lost men to stumble around and even upon Madison Manor.