Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

THE CARING PLACE was one of the first domestic violence shelters, where women could take along their children.

 

It took over two years for “The Task Force to Prevent Domestic Violence” to establish The Caring Place, and set up the services that would be provided there. My mother served on that task force.

 

Located in Indiana, its first facility had been used previously as a convent in the Gary diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Local craftspersons in the construction industry volunteered their services to remodel and retrofit the three-story, yellow brick building for its first shelter residents. It had to meet numerous codes and standards.

 

Just as important, the building had to meet the special needs of women and children in severe crisis and danger. Women and children who had given up everything they had to reach safety – and help.

 

My father and several IUPAT/IBPAT friends handled the painting and decorating part of the project. That included the repair, preparation, painting, finishing, and wallcover installation in the living, dining, cooking, play and recreation, and sleeping areas. Also, it required extensive work in the offices, and the security, storage, and entrance/exit areas.

 

My “work” time was limited to weekends and a few vacation days. I was in junior high school.

 

I remember the list of tasks, which an IUPAT/IBPAT foreman handed me on the first day.

 

 Overall duties: Assisted the painters in setting up, prepping, painting, finishing, and cleaning up all rooms and areas.

 

Specific duties:

1. Stretched dropcloths out on floors of rooms/areas to be worked on that day, or the next day.

2. Helped carry, place and move prepping and painting supplies into and out of each work room and area. Note: The painters handled the transportation and set-up of full containers of products and materials. Examples: Primers, paints, stains, varnishes; boxes/rolls of commercial wall vinyl.

3. Helped remove and tag all wall outlet covers and baseboards.

4. Cleaned and covered smaller tools; wiped off/cleaned, then replaced can lids, container caps, box covers, etc.

 

Working on that project was not fun, really. Still, it tapped into interests, traits, skills, and abilities that I did not know I had.

 

THE GREATER TASK: Helping to provide a clean, aesthetically pleasing and relaxing, and safe home for 15 women and at least 18 children at once.

 

That was good training for my soul. An important part of my development, as a responsible adult, and responsive member of the universe.

 

WHY PLACES LIKE THE CARING PLACE STILL MATTER

 

In April of 2013, I became deathly ill on the job, at the hotel. (See linkedin.com.) “911” was not called.

 

Instead, a while later, hotel guests – a woman and her children – came to my rescue. The family lived temporarily at the hotel, because they had “lost” their “home to foreclosure, near Windermere in South Orlando.”

 

The woman and her children saw me staggering across the lawn. I was about halfway between the front building holding the offices, where the incident occurred, and the back building and the engineering department.

 

The woman and three children ran out. The woman helped me sit and sip lots of water from a pitcher. One of her children broke a candy bar into small pieces. The girl pushed them, one at a time, into my mouth. The mother and children helped me to my feet, and led me to the back building.

 

A month ago, that woman recognized me in a local store. She introduced herself. A teenage girl smiled nearby. “I fed you my candy bar.” “That’s right,” I said. “I owe you a Hershey’s.”

 

What I learned is that, two years earlier, the woman and her children were “hiding” from her abusive husband. A well-known local businessman, and leader in the community.

 

She said, “He’d never think to look for us in an older hotel like that. I was trying to wait a couple of weeks, then catch the Amtrak to my family up north…”

 

I asked if she’d considered going to the women’s shelter in Orlando.

 

Her face turned pale. “YES! But the lady on the phone started to ask me a lot of questions. I didn’t have that kind of time!”  Tears formed in her eyes. “Besides, they didn’t have room for my children…”

 

I thought of The Caring Place.

 

THE CARING PLACE! If only the woman and her children could have gotten to Northwest Indiana. To the huge and beautifully restored three-story circa-1930’s period home where that shelter was located then. The Caring Place would have made room!

 

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Special thanks to the G.M. and staff of the Seralago Hotel and Suites Maingate East in Kissimmee, Florida, for giving special women and children safe shelters – and security.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And, thank you – everyone – for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

 

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