Guess Who Is Coming To Breakfast…

Today’s post is part of the annual A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. For more information on the challenge and its creator visit:

a-z 2015 gA-Z G BANNER

My theme this year is An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America which just happens to be the subtitle of my next book, The Stranger in My Recliner. The book is the true story of Sophie.  She was the eighty-year-old homeless woman that my husband brought home one night. She lived with us for nearly three –years. The book will be out this fall.

An excerpt from The Stranger In My Recliner-

Guess Who is Coming to Breakfast?

When Sophie walked through our front door that night I could not believe my eyes. She was a frail, filthy, and hunched over, eighty- year –old woman. I wondered if she had bugs. I’m OCD like that. I told her to sit on the sofa but the whole time in my mind I was making it all better for me by imagining myself throwing that big red sofa away and buying a nice new, clean one. Maybe an ‘L’ shaped, brown microfiber one, this time.

I made her a hot cup of tea. After noticing she had no teeth and wondering what in the world could have happened to them, I made her a scrambled egg. While she ate her eggs I went upstairs and prepared her a warm bubble bath.

Lipton tea

I gave her my favorite silk pajamas, clean underwear, a warm fluffy pair of socks and a thick robe. The pajamas were a gift from my kids. While she was in the bathroom having her bath, I made up the big red sofa with our softest six-hundred thread count guest sheets, our best pillows and a warm cotton blanket. I wanted her to feel safe, warm and comfortable.

I wanted to ask her a thousand questions. Do you have a family, where you ever married? Do you have children? How did you get yourself into this situation? Are you still drinking? That was the big one. That would be bad. I decided not to ask too many questions that night.

How do you get to be eighty-years-old and not have met at least one person that loved or at least cared enough about you to take you in from the cold. What possibly could have happened to her, what sin or crime did she commit that would force her to have no choice in the world but to trust complete strangers over family or friends?

Old woman

We made sure she had everything she could possibly ever need during the night. I poured a glass of ice water and placed it on the end table beside the red sofa. I put a few magazines on the coffee table. We asked if she would like to watch some TV.  I found an old- movie on AMC, Duel in the Sun and I was thrilled to see her eyes light up. “I love Joe Cotten” she said smiling, “He is my favorite actor.”

Turning the latch on my bedroom door knob ever so slowly, so she wouldn’t hear the click, I locked our bedroom door and tip toed over to our bed. Yes I admit I was scared. I had visions of this crazy lady stabbing us in our sleep, robbing us or having her homeless gaggle of friends coming into our house to party through the night. I shuddered at the thought of the endless horrific things they could do to us. I tossed and turned all night. I tried to imagine how anyone could let an eighty -year –old woman become homeless and then reverted to what could she have possibly done to find herself in this situation.

I flipped my pillow and rolled onto my side. Why didn’t I leave some cookies, crackers or chips out for, Sophie? I wondered if she was still hungry. There was no chance I was going down there without John.

As I walked downstairs, in the morning I was hoping it had all been a long dream. No such luck. There she was sitting on the end of the big red sofa.  She was dressed in her own dirty clothes. She clutched a filthy overstuffed pocketbook with a broken strap to her chest. Her head was down; she was staring at the floor. She looked so fragile. I noticed the pajamas, underwear and those fluffy socks I gave her folded neatly beside her. My first thought honestly was; not believing she put her dirty underwear back on her nice, clean body. I cringed.



I made her a cup of hot tea and some instant apples and cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal is not one of my favorites but I love the way the flavored ones smell. She seemed thrilled when I handed her a banana. It didn’t seem like the right time to ask where her teeth were. I hoped I never had the opportunity.

Thank you for reading,



I’m one of Lisa’s Live Wires! Lisa is a challenge co-host Lisa Buie-Collard.

A-Z 2015 Minion Badge

I am excited to be working with this bunch of fabulous bloggers …

Rhonda Albom –   Bob R. Milne –   Tamera Narayan –  Stephanie Faris –   Heather McCubbin –   Randi Lee





26 Responses to “Guess Who Is Coming To Breakfast…”

  • Got my walk in and decided I had time for some more posts. I think I might have tossed her things in wash while she was wearing the nice clean things. Though I’m sure that’s easier to think of now from here. The reality of all of this is mind blowing frankly. I think I would have been on edge, unhappy with hubby for doing something so major without calling and discussing it…but I honestly don’t know…guess most of us don’t know how we would react unless it actually happened.

    Not too many letters left to read, and look forward to your visits as well.

    Would, as I mentioned before be happy to blog about your book and help promote, just keep me in the loop.

    • You are simply amazing! I really appreciate your offer to help with the book I will definitely let you know the release date as soon as I get it. If you would like to receive a review copy, email me your address and I will add you to the list.

  • Doreen, I love your stories. I can really relate, although on the flip side – we had a bedbug apocalypse at the shelter! Thank God that is a dim memory; I can laugh now. For all the kindnesses shown to me, I try to always “pay it forward”. I know there’s a chance around here that the 2 dollars, or 5 dollars, or whatever won’t go to food, but that’s the chance I take. I’m in a good situation now, where I can play viola and do the things I want to do. I’m enjoying your stories, Doreen. Thank you so very much for what you’re doing! Mary

  • Amazing, Doreen! I’m so looking forward to reading your book now!

  • You are a masterful story telling. I feel like I right there with you and your guest, watching that movie, sipping tea. I am soooo chomping at the bit to read it all :)!!!

  • These exerpts are so rattling. It’s a tough problem, I can seriously not imagine letting someone sleep on my couch that I dont know. It conjures up so many different thoughts. I feel I would be like you …compassionate but afraid.

  • What you and your husband did is amazing. I am really looking forward to reading the book when it comes out to find out the whole story. I am sure it will be a best seller!

  • Doreen, you have been a godsend to so many people in your life so it’s not surprising that you opened your life to help Sophie as well as to share her story with the world. Hopefully you’ll open eyes and minds to the fact that the homeless are people. Great chapter.

  • Your story will be a fascinating read. Let me know when it’s out. I want to help promote it. What a life changing experience.
    Play off the Page

  • Hi Doreen,

    Tis Mark from the Open Hearth – returning your visit. Thank you so much for stopping by, it was a pleasure to have you there.

    Reading your story really touched me – you and your husband are really kind spirited, generous and genuine people for doing what you did. Such acts of simple humanity are, shamefully, uncommonly heard of these days – not to say they don’t happen, but we don’t hear about them. I, personally, would rather hear/read about those happenings than the drivel we get shoved down our necks regarding those vapid Kardashians and similar company.

    Your story also has a perfect theme tune: Dean Friedman’s ‘Shopping Bag Ladies’ – so poignant and fitting. Always guaranteed to bring a tear to my eyes.

    I’m not one for normally saying this, seeing as I profess to be agnostic, but in your case I believe it to be very fitting, God bless you.

  • Wow. I look forward to learning more about Sophie and how you adjusted!

  • You are a better soul than I am. The story is one that needs telling. Thank you for caring on so many different levels about other human beings!

  • You hooked me! When does this come out?

  • I would never have this courage, but I am riveted to the story.

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