I had stuck it out to my junior year in college, financially, but things had gotten tougher. On campus housing was not available, and so I had to find another place to live.
Despite having a half scholarship, student loans (I was so broke I qualified for everything!) and two part time jobs (I was a waitress at a college hang out and cashiered at a shoe store), I could not afford an apartment. I found a family that was renting out a room near campus. They live in a slightly run down area and were apparently just making ends meet themselves. But the price was right, $100.00 a month. I had to share a bathroom and eat on campus but it was livable. I figured I would be at school or work most of the time anyway so I would only be using it to sleep. The couple, Joe and Beth, were in there late thirties. They had two children, Joe Jr who was 16 and Gillian who was 14. Joe worked as a beer deliveryman and looked like he sampled his wares often (big gut). He was big (6’ 4″} all over and quite loud and cocky. Beth was in sharp contrast to her husband, small and frail looking almost anemic. She was quiet and meek always deferring to Joe. The kids fit much the same pattern with Joe Jr being a smaller replica of his father (loud and boisterous) and Gillian being slight and quiet. I must admit that Joe scared me little bit and it disturbed me the way Joe Jr. looked at me and seemed to hang around me a lot. The fall semester past and I did not have any troubles at the house. As I expected, I spent little time during the day there, usually leaving by eight in the morning and rarely returning before ten at night. I only seemed to see the family during the weekends between working my jobs. My troubles started in late December. With final exams, I had to cut back on my work. Because I was under so much stress with exams, I caught a flu bug that kept me in bed for two weeks after exams were finished. Then, one of my student loan grants was late so I had to pay the bill myself until the grant would arrive (it turned out it arrived the second week in February!). My meager resources had been stretched beyond the breaking point. I did not have enough money to buy books for my classes or to pay the rent. I talked with the Financial Aid office but they could not help me as I already had every loan and grant that I qualified for. I thought I might be able to get enough to pay for my books by getting an advance from my jobs. I would just have to get an extension on paying my rent. Joe was up that evening when I got home from the shoe store at 10:00 pm(He usually went to bed early as he had to start work at 5:00 AM but Thursday night was his bowling night).