S2: Episode 40 - Kathy

Episode Information

Hunger & Resilience – Episode 40 – Kathy

[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 40, Kathy.

Kathy: When I was a kid, my favorite place to go was the woods. Love to sit and watch the bats in the trees. I’d hide and I’d hear my mom yelling and screaming, trying to find me. You know, I would hide out from everybody. One of the things I remembered was our house had caught on fire and we basically lost everything. We actually wound up staying in our station wagon, six kids and two adults in a station wagon, sleeping behind the gas station that my dad worked at and trying to figure out, you know, where we were going to eat that next day. It was very difficult time. It’s obviously something that has still ingrained in my head my whole life.

The depression hit so bad. I’ve been through periods where I didn’t even wanna get up off the couch for four days at a time. The only thing I would get up for is to go to the bathroom and change my daughter’s diaper and fix her a bottle. I had gotten to the point where I wound up begging for help. I also had no food. I was being put out on the street, going through a divorce, two kids, I was losing everything. I just spent most of my day in oblivion. I just couldn’t handle the guilt, the fear, the questions of where are we gonna sleep tonight, mom, where are we going to eat? What are we going to eat? Are we going to eat today? How do you explain to a 2-year-old or a 4-year-old, there’s nothing to eat. All they know is that they’re hungry and the pain in their stomach, and you try to sit there and say, honey, I’m sorry. I finally started learning a couple years ago how to live again. My biggest goals are to teach my daughter to be a good caring and respectable person. To remember that she’s not just a person, she’s, she’s a member of this society. That we are all responsible for each other.

I just want to be a normal statistic instead of a disabled or dysfunctional, you know, statistic. I want to just get up in the morning, take my daughter to daycare, go to work, pick up the kid from daycare, go home, cook dinner, sit down, relax, watch a movie, and go to bed without having to worry about, oh gosh, is there gonna be anything for dinner? I just wanna be normal again, to be relaxed and not constantly in fear or guilt or pain.

[Outro Music]

Host:  When my exhibition about hunger and resilience was in Tallahassee, Florida, a woman came up to me and said, these stories about hunger are a waste of time. Stories won’t feed anyone. Stories may not actually put food on a table, but they do have a utility. Stories can encourage tolerance, enlarge our perspective, seize our attention, energize our progress, and unite communities with a shared empathy, giving hope and courage to individuals struggling stories shine a light on understanding and complexity. Stories are our gravity, and without them we might float away. Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your difficult story, for your powerful voice and presence. May something in her story stay with you. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for portraits and transcripts. Thank you for your generous listening,