To the editors:
While reading the article “Child in the Streets,” Reader (July 1, 1988), I realized almost from the very start that this kid (pseudonym Timothy) does not exist. Not the way he’s described, anyway. Perhaps, the author, hearing about all the problems the teenagers today are going through, from bits of information had put this tale together, but it doesn’t wash as a true story.
However, in order not to dispute that the author of this article had heard this story, let’s assume that there is such a person. But then, not only should the author of this article have taken this story with a grain of salt, but almost every word of it.
To begin with, this kid does not know what living in the streets is like (perhaps the author), nor does he experience the agony of drug dependency, in order to describe them. Nor does he, for that matter, have taken (as I did) any sociology or psychology courses in which extensive studies and surveys with regard to those problems are presented in order to learn what they involve.
Moreover, in this tale there is the unrealistic element of the adults who lured this boy (or vice versa) into homosexual activities. Not that I don’t believe such things are taking place, but if this kid had experienced this and told the author (or the author knew enough about this from others sources), he would know that no man–no matter how licentious he might be–would take a hustler to his home, and to top it off, spend the night in the same bed with him. For a starter, a man who has an apartment must show he is a reliable person in order to be given one. Thus, if he is in the habit of taking hustlers into his home to stay overnight, I’m afraid, before long he himself will be homeless; for how does he know, if while he is sleeping, this crazy kid would not only rob him, but put a fire to his apartment? The same goes for a man who has his own house.
I could mention many other elements in this tale which make it unbelievable, such as language, among other things, but I feel what I said will do for now.
Therefore, although I appreciate the effort of this author for writing this story, as well as his good intentions of teaching the kids to stay away from trouble, however, there are better ways to do that. Moreover, what good will it do the kids to know about the occult, especially since Timothy said he was able to bring about so many supernatural images through it? Will not this be an enticement for them to try to do the same? and since the teenagers who live on the streets are the ones from whom kids could learn about this occult, will not other children be tempted to join them? More so, since the street life is described as being full of fun and joy?
Thus, to be frank, my advice to the editors of the Reader is to examine carefully what is being published and avoid material that’s bordering sedition.
Kitry Krause replies:
Unfortunately, Timothy and his story are very real.