Cynthia gives her mother a special recording.
But give her some time and I bet she'd go out with you," Helen said after he asked her opinion.
Elizabeth, it's time to change your life and do what's best for your kids. She thought to herself as she searched the want ads for a reasonable job that wouldn't interfere with Jeremy and Madison's upbringing. She counted on Helen a lot and eventually her mother to watch the kids occasionally if she'd had a late interview.
Three days after her search began, Elizabeth was hired in as a waitress at a neighborhood diner. She had gotten "stuck" as she put it, with the dinner crowd. The patrons, most of them elderly, lived on a fixed income. At best, she'd only bring home meager tips, inappreciative of her hard work and pleasant personality.
"This just isn't going to work for me," she told her boss when she turned in her two-week notice. During those weeks she searched once again for a job with a better wage.
Jobs came and jobs went; throughout all that, Elizabeth lost her apartment. She no longer had enough money to put a security deposit on the apartment she'd had her eye on and thus settled for one a few blocks away. To top it all off, the dire need for major repairs put her car out of commission from her inability to pay. She resorted to public transportation as a means to get her children to school and herself to work.
The children loved the bus ride and argued daily to sit by the window. Helen, when available, picked the kids up and took them back to her house. She gave them dinner and helped with homework until Elizabeth called then Helen drove them back home.
Another six months had passed. After an additional move to a cheaper dwelling, Elizabeth found herself behind on the rent for the second time. "If you don't pay what you owe by the end of the week I'm gonna have to evict you, lady!" the landlord shouted through the locked door to her apartment.
She applied for assistance at the nearest Family Independence Agency. The social worker she'd been assigned to seemed unmotivated in helping with Elizabeth's current situation. "Let me tell ya, you gotta learn to live within your means. Stop gittin' that junk for your kids, walk instead of taking the bus, shop at the dollar store instead of K-Mart."
Elizabeth could hardly believe the way the social worker had spoken to her. She'd made it sound as if Elizabeth was living high-on-the-hog so to speak.
"You gotta learn how ta save your money, girl. According to your last check, you made plenty of money to get food and pay rent. You just gotta look in the right places. I can get information about gittin your kids' daddy to pay up that support he owes you," the woman said as she chewed the end of her pen and tapped her lavishly painted fingernails on her desk.
"I knew this would be a waste of time, but thanks for your trouble."
"But miss. Miss? You forgot your information packet." The woman yelled across the noisy office, still in her chair.
"I don't want anything from that man, not that he'd pay anyway. Besides if I can't get help with rent or food for my children who's going to pay for the lawyer? I know those services aren't free," she replied sharply. The door slammed against the wall when Elizabeth pushed it open. She was angry and it showed.
Elizabeth never dreamed her life would be this difficult. She sobbed nightly for her children, as well as herself. The next morning, after she'd gotten the kids to school, she pounded the pavement once again in search of a low-income apartment.
Would this be her lucky day? The second apartment complex she'd come to had several one and two bedroom apartments available and at a price she just couldn't turn down. "I'll take the one bedroom, Mr. Stone."
"Great, you can move in whenever you want after you pay first and last month's rent sweetheart," the landlord said then gave a wink before Elizabeth turned to leave his office.
Helen's assistance with packing and unpacking, afforded Elizabeth a smooth transition. She'd uprooted her family for the third time since her divorce.