Katharine Budd

My Time On The Streets of Toronto
by Karharine Budd

I remember it like it was yesterday.I was 15 years old with my whole life ahead of me and I was mesmerized by people I had met downtown Toronto.
My mother had died in a car accident when I was a year old and my father was an alcoholic and a drug abuser after that.
After being repeatedly sexually assaulted by my stepbrother, uncle and a family friend I was looking for
someone to love me and accept me for who I was and I found that. I found a sort of diluted family that didn't seem to care about how strange I was or how mature for that matter and wherever I looked someone had a story that
was WAY worse than my own and that somehow comforted me. Here I wasn't as bad off as I had thought I was.

So my first night was quite an eventful one, I had been handed some sandwiches in a brown paper bag for supper and settled down to eat it in "Sketch Park". This is where I met a few of my first friends. But the one that sticks in my memory is Kramer. Kramer taught me the ways to survive
while on the street, for example where and when to pan, who I should stay away from and also that should NEVER give out my real name, he gave me my street name K and E or just plain old Candy as I was called. This name would
later be half tattooed on my back shoulder with a 14 gauge-piercing needle and some Indian ink.

But as I sat there in "Sketch Park" Someone came running down the alley screaming about how this was our park (the street kids) and not the niggers (the drug dealers) park. I had no idea hat was going on but I followed the
excitement, no less then 15 minutes later the alley was completely filled with people. Half street punks and half street thugs.. I stayed with the punks as I was going through quite the punk stage. But the meeting didn't
last long. A girl who was as skinny as a beanpole had got clocked in the face by a black male four times the size of the girl. He had also been smashed in the face with a squeegee in retaliation. When suddenly he pulled
out the gun from beneath his jacket. I just stood and watched with horror but strangely some delight as well.

After this things seemed to be the same and become sort of a blur.. I frequented drop in centers and libraries, and abused drugs to beyond any considerable amount. I sold drugs, squeegeed and panhandled for a living.
I slept with random men to be safe at night as I didn't know how I would wake up in the morning, (and an interesting point I was and still am more
afraid of police than any gang or drug dealer) At one point I hitchhiked to
Montreal for a PCP run and ended up getting.hmmm how would you say it..TRAPPED in a abandoned building with hundreds of dollars worth for what seemed a day but ended up to be 3 months. After that I was arrested for squeegeeing and sent back to Ontario to live with my "family". Two weeks
later I was on the street again.

When I got back I was no longer a twinkie and had gained some respect on queen and yonge street (which was hard at time because of the ongoing rivalry between the two streets) So I sold more drugs.this time I was
smarter and had a motel room every night..well that is until I was almost forced to walk stroll(prostitute) by some old school girls, which I was considered new school, but I refused and therefore my punishment was to be
robbed all the time whenever I was seen on that street. I was bounced from yonge street 3 times, but for some weird reason I never left it, I would have rathered be subjected to all sorts of abuse then to be embarrassed as
to never be allowed on that street again. Also I didn't see how these kids OWNED any street. But eventually I ended up leaving and going to Queen Street again.

On Queen Street the people seemed to be more friendly. More hippy like I suppose an I was happier..until a day when major alchol was involved and as kid from yonge street decided to tell me I was going to beboxed and I was to leave or he was going to smack me in the face. I didn't take this too well you can imagine and went off to say "Yeah well you wait right here" My boyfriend at the time came back and hit him with a small plank of
a piece of trim from around the door..he finished him by kicking him reapitily in the head.

Now this unnamed individual got it in his head to take this story back to yonge street, but with some minor adjustments of course. Apparantly the board had been a 2 by 4 with nails in it and he had never threatened me. I
had made it all up so that he would get beaten...for of course this caused quite the inferno among the yonge street kids, who remember were already not impressed with me for not leaving when asked.

So some of my friends came to fight me. I would not fight them and frankly pushed them to the window and reapitly telling them I will not fight them..I was told to go to youthlink but I didn't show..I was 15 and didn't trust

From there I went to sleep in the beaches. It was calm there and I met some friends started going to school everyday from under the Olympic pool and
frequented only lovecry and the good shephard for help.I had learned that less friends = less trouble.

After that I went to live in a bidy shop sleeping on the floor for 6 months until my boyfriend was arrested and I moved to Lindsay.

Ive been straight since. Loving Life. I had a beautiful baby girl with a wonderful guy who is COMPLETELY ignorant to the life in Toronto I once had. even when I do tell it I am rarely believed. Some say I don't look like that
type of girl..some have not even seen a homeless person. most think im full of shit..but I know some people that know. Some people that know the real me and that would be lovecry and some of their older staff and kids . I love
you lovecry for all you've done.
Thank you

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