S2: Episode 35 - Patty

Episode Information

[Intro Music]

Narrator:  Welcome to Hunger and Resilience, narrative histories about the complexity and experiences of hunger. A traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by the San Antonio Food Bank, Eric Cooper, executive director. We are grateful for the honesty and eloquence of every voice. Episode 35, Patty.

Patty:  There’s so many things I want to do that I haven’t gotten to do yet. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to or not. For some reason, I think a lot about Columbus. I, I don’t know why. I was just fascinated with his ships, like going around the world. I, I’ve had people tell me that I’d make a good detective because I’m so detailed. If it can be found, I’ll find it. The day that I got hit by my third husband, we was fighting over money. I had about $10 for food. He was trying to force me to give him the money. I, I went to the bathroom ’cause I was crying he hit me hard enough that my teeth started coming out, broke my arm. I stayed in there for a while. I didn’t go to the doctor till the next afternoon. Right now, I weigh approximately 86 pounds. Before I had to have the rest of my teeth out. I weighed between 135 and 140.

My name’s Patty. I’m 59 years old. The thing I want most right now is to have a good job. It’s hard to want one so much and not have one. Most of the time, I’ve had at least one meal a day, even if it wasn’t anything but ramen noodles. It’s not pleasurable to be hungry. You can be sick at your stomach. You can have a real bad headache. Besides being weak, sometimes I’ve seen people give their dogs food that you’d give anything to have. You try not to cry because you’re trying to be strong. Maybe you don’t know where your next meal that’s coming from. It’s, it’s hard. You wanna do everything you can to make it better. And sometimes all you can do is your best.

I thought about maybe stealing something more than once, and I was like, no, no. You see other people doing that, and that’s not right. There’s, there’s other ways. I have no income, no insurance, no savings. I got laid off a year ago in November. I’m looking for a job six days a week. I spend nine hours a day. Monday through Friday, eight hours on Saturday. I ride around on the bus and look for signs, check the computer, check the paper. I do call-ins, walk-ins, churches, the phone book. I want a job with all my heart. I feel better about myself when I am working. Some people tell me that I was beautiful. I thought I was cute in my own way. I didn’t put up a false front. I was just me. Right now, I’m hoping to meet someone in my future that I can maybe spend the rest of my life with. Be able to talk about everything, have fun together, someone I can trust, someone that catches my eye, good looking, but not too handsome, and that’s responsible like me.

[Outro Music]

Host: Can anyone really understand the life of another person? Does our imagination of the experience of hunger match the realities of that experience? Responsibility is a complicated word. It is the nexus between our deeds and consequences. It means we should respect the rights of others, that we should pay for what we receive, that we should keep our promises, that we should make amends for any transgressions. It is important to understand that someone can be poor, can be homeless, can experience hunger in their lives, and still be responsible at the very same time. Patty Hungered for food, but she also hungered to have a job, to have meaningful relationships to give to others. We are grateful for Patty’s eloquence and her steadfast determination. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for portraits and transcripts. Thank you for listening.