Mrs. Bertha A. Smith 66 Abbe Ave.
When Phillip Waldman got out of jail a few months back, he was clean and stayed clean.
He started to write a poem, and he had hoped to have it published in this paper. He wrote it, and went to see a very good friend to see if it sounded o.k. She corrected a few words and as he wrote each paragraph, he would show it to her. She was always there to help him.
One night the kids were playing records on the porch and talking, but Phil was way out by the curb. I said to him, “Come on the porch with the rest of the gang.” He did.
The next day I was sewing on the porch and Phil walked by with his radio in hand, as always.
“Hi,” he said, “Could I tell you something, because after I tell you maybe you won’t let me hang around with your kids.” I listended, he said, “I was on dope for five years, and I got out of jail a few months back.”
All the time he was talking I was watching the expresssion on his face and the look in his eyes. To me they were saying, “Please accept me.”
I said to him, “Phil, are you clean now?” “Yes, look at my arms,” he said. I said, “O.K., you’re just one of the gang that hangs around the porch.”
I gave him a card of the Check Line Help Center with their phone number, 737-4718.
He always carried it with him. We had many talks and coffees. Then one day he told me about his poem and let me read it. He hoped to have it put in the Brightwood Voice.
Now, after seven weeks of having to write and rewrite and not have accomplished anything, but just having had a visit from a very good friend and talked with him, I finally sat down and got it done. Not that I kept my promise to Phil to finish his work and finish mine, I would like also to give my note of thanks to those that help other people but don’t want publicity; and very often don’t even get a thank you from those they have helped.
Spike and Cooker I knew first rate,
They used to be my best friends at one time,
I would do just about anything just to feel great
stealing radios and tvs for a bundle a time.
As every day went by,
I never cared for nothing except being high
My ma said I was nothing but skin and bones
and that my teeth looked really poor,
but I just laughed and said but with Spike and Cooker
who could ask for more.
Out in the morning feeling sick and low,
Up to the pawn shop as fast as I can go,
got to hurry, ain’t got much time,
got to sell this radio for a dime.
Shooting up in a hallway used to be far out to me,
but now didn’t one of your friends die from an O.D.
Well I got busted.
and I met Jones down there
He said I’m been tryng to tell you all along
But you wouldn’t hear.
It’s my duty to tell you know, which is only fair.
Choose heroin, jail or me
So I said to Mr. Jones, let me kick
I’ll be good and I’ll stay clean.
I did my time and I’m alright now
staying clean and trying is a tuff thing to do
You know the story anyhow
Shooting heroin is a decision left up to you.
Brightwood Voice Vol. 3 No. 5 August, 1971
Note: Phil Waldman was a gentle, friendly soul missed by many.