I first met Marvin about 10 years ago on a gray fall Saturday afternoon. He was a slender, sensitive boy who had a tendency to be hard on himself. I vividly remember Marvin sitting on his bed in his letter jacket, teary eyed, while I tried to assure him that things would be okay.
As time went by, the staff at the shelter found Marvin to have lots of energy and talents, and soon became on of our favorites. He loved sports activities and was very ambitious when it came time to do his chores. I also recall him him helping us hook up the shelter video equipment and one Sunday morning he helped me fix a clogged drain in the kitchen. Actually, he fixed it and I handed him the tools.
Marvin stayed with us for several weeks the first time and later came back to the shelter for another stay before spending some time in Marshalltown. We heard he was doing well there and that was the last news I heard about him.
A couple of months ago, as I walking into a local Walmart, a tall muscular young man stopped me and said, “I’ll bet you don’t remember me, do you?” I have to admit that I didn’t recognize him at first, but when he told me his name was Marvin and I took a second look, the memories came flooding back. He was now a grown man in his 20’s. He proudly told me he had a good job and that he was married and had a young child.
We talked for a few minutes as we walked into the store. Then, in Marvin’s typical self effacing manner, he told me that he didn’t want to hold me up and should probably get going. I told him that I was so glad that he’d stopped me, and watched him walk away with some sadness, thinking that I might not see him again. But there was also a good feeling, knowing that our shelter had helped a young boy during a tough time in his life and he remembered me. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
By former Quakerdale staff member