Harriet Boorhem: Youth Today’s Online Diarist


So, here's a funny. Over the weekend, I was called at 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning to help the overnight shelter staff find the fire alarm key to disarm the alarm that had been pulled by a 9-year-old resident. The firefighters were going to break down the door of the office where the key was, so I decided to high-tail it up there.
I got to the shelter, unlocked the office, found the fire alarm key, gave it to the firefighters, laughed with them a bit about the false alarm (what IS it about firefighters that is SO engaging?), and then asked about the youngster who had pulled the alarm.
"Well, we think it was that 9 year old over there," the staff person said. "He came in last night with his brothers and sisters." "Does THAT 9 year old have a name?" I asked. Upon learning his name, I wandered over to him and asked how he was doing. Crying, he said, "Not good." Me: "Why?" Him: "Cause I was trying to escape to find my mamaw." Me: "Did you pull the alarm?" Him: "No." Hmmmmm.......
Then he looks at me for the first time with tears running down his face and says, "You my mamaw!" Me: "You mean I look like her?" Him: "Yeah. Same: old."
SAME OLD???? SAME OLD???? Now, I have to admit, I did NOT look my best after rolling out of bed to get here, but really? OLD???
Actually, I thought it was HILARIOUS. Only out of the mouths of kids would something like that come.
When I saw him the next day, he wasn't in a much better mood, but he did remember me. I was tempted to ask him if he thought I still looked "old", but decided not to risk it!
Gotta love 'em.

Harriet Boorhem is the president of Promise House, which provides a multitude of services to families and homeless youth in the Dallas area, and Youth Today's first online diarist.