Who Is Willis Earl Beal?

Being Homeless

Willis Earl Beal: "After the army, I moved back to Chicago to live with my grandmother. I didn't have a job and I ended up working in a couple of thrift stores. I got a job at one store and then I got a job at another.

"Then I finally got a job at the Sears Tower at the time which is now called the Willis Tower. The first week into that job my intestines came back, they started twisting again and it wouldn't stop this time. I had to go to the hospital for five months.

"My dad had been talking with the account manager all while I was in the hospital. I ended up going through five months of struggle, going from hospital to hospital because I didn't have proper insurance. Finally, they opened me up and shit, they gave me a colostomy bag and everything.

"After five months of it, and when I finally gained all the weight back and got out, I got the job again. I got back on the job, I kept that job for two years, and then I got fired from that job and left Chicago to go to Albuquerque. I decided to just start over from scratch. I was only homeless for two months, maybe two and a half months.

"I walked around, sometimes I'd sing on the sidewalks but mostly just walking around. In and out of the train stations. I worked day labor jobs. Sometimes you can make $50 a day because I still had my driver's license. I used somebody's address to fill out the paperwork and stuff like that.

"I made a little money. Sometimes I'd go get my hair cut, shit like that. I kept working at that until through some other strange circumstances I ended up getting a job because I still had a few connects because I was working the connects because I didn't want to continue being homeless."

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