UU Class Conversations – We Are Thankful for You - Archived

Fall 2022 Fall Edition 
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  • Blog: Homeless at the Piano by Andy Pope
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Andy Pope, a musical prodigy with an amazing creativity and passion for the performance arts has been a performer and composer since he was a child. A costly medical misdiagnosis led to a health crisis resulting in a decade of homelessness. He shares an account of his undeterred pursuit of that passion that created Eden in Babylon currently under development  at the Regional Theater of the Palouse slated for production Summer 2023. Learn more.

Homeless at the Piano 

When I was homeless, I would wake up on a couple pieces of cardboard, sometimes set over dirt. Sometimes I slept on a ramp on the side of a Catholic church. I would wake when the sky was getting light, then wander into a nearby A.A. fellowship. There I would hit the bathroom for a quick clean-up before grabbing a cup of coffee.

Make that three cups. The coffeemaker there was a homeless lady with 30+ years of sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous. I remember her commenting how I would sit at the meeting and appear to be calmer and calmer, the more coffee I drank.

There was a none-too-pretty picture of the self-serving homeless person, who would come into the Berkeley Fellowship, grab a cup of coffee intended for an A.A. member, and then leave the premises. I did not want to conform to that picture.

So I sat for an hour, listened and occasionally spoke. I heard many wise sayings in that room, from people who had effectively found recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse. Inwardly however, I knew I was mostly in it for the coffee.

There were also a few other ways for me to find a morning cup of coffee. Sometimes I would sleep in an illegal spot on campus near to a Starbucks. I’d have saved a buck and change from the previous night, and then I would get to sit in the Starbucks with a newspaper–almost looking like a “normal” person.

The Men’s Shelter had excellent Peet’s coffee along with oatmeal, eggs, bread, peanut butter and all kinds of morning goodies. This was also an option. But my favorite coffee was the Kirkland Columbian they served at the North Berkeley Senior Center.

And it was only 40 cents. Read more

Homeless at the Piano
© 2022 Andy Pope

UU  Class Conversations educates Unitarian Universalists about class awareness and inclusion – empowering our religious movement to dismantle classism within our congregations and communities.  Our volunteer Steering Committee is seeking to hire a paid Coordinator who will work to create and oversee our Working Class Caucuses.

These caucuses, meeting from January – June 2023 will focus on those who identify as working-class and will generate recommendations for UU congregations and our larger association on ways that their policies and procedures can become more welcoming for people with more limited class advantage. This is a stipended position.

Learn more.

Be a UU-CC Volunteer

UU-CC needs volunteers for a variety of activities and responsibilities –ranging from one-time projects like udating a list of newsletter recipients to more sustained projects like serving on an advisory committee.

Specific areas in need of volunteers include design work, writing/editing, fundraising, social media support, making calls and helping obtain permissions for posting class materials from writers.

If you are interested in volunteering, you can reach us at info@uuclassconversations.org.

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