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Tilly the Bag Lady

Tilly's Life

Her old wrinkled hands so arthritic, dirty and worn,

Hurt as she cleaned out her cardboard box she called

home, and taped the places where it was torn.

One treasure she had left after all these years, was a

wooden box filled with important papers and her pictures

of her past,

Each night she took them out and placed them around a

shoebox lid, she called her table, until she came to the last.

That picture she put at the head of the table, and called him

in her shaky voice---my darling,

She remembered him when everything was wonderful and he

was so---- charming.

She remembered, her children who loved her once eons ago,

--- and still now to her heart it was such--- a blow,

And she remembered when his heart had turned cold as snow.

Tilly The Homeless Bag Lady

Tilly The Homeless Bag Lady

Tilly's Old Wooden Box

Tilly's Old Wooden Box

She remembered, her children who loved her once eons ago,

--- and still now to her heart it was such--- a blow,

And she remembered when his heart had turned cold as snow.

It was when he found someone new,

And he got rid of her like an old shoe.

His lies in court called her unfit,

And the judge agreed with it.

The twins were taken from her arms, that day in the court room,

He smiled his evil smile as they did the hateful deed; he sweep Tilly

away with his legal broom.

He took her money she inherited; he divorced her, and took her children

----on the same day,

She sat frozen in her seat, and watched through her tears,

----as they walked away.

A woman on the back row stood up, and walked out by his side,

She would be his new bride.

Her attorney apologized, then disappears,

Because all her legal bills were in arrears.

There is nothing free in this world her daddy always said,

She walked out of the Courthouse; alone with a bowed head.

She worked many low paying jobs in her life,

Her main skills were unneeded, ------ that being

------just a mother and a wife.

She now lived with the others of her kind,

Old, hungry, and dirty, but they didn’t mind.

In the wintertime in New York, their cardboard boxes were

placed in an abandoned warehouse on the cold ground,

Then in the summer, their homes were placed in the alley side

by side, in a little community they called themselves “The Brown.”

Her Children Place Poinsettias on Her Grave

Her Children Place Poinsettias on Her Grave

Her Children Place Poinsettias on Her Grave

All her bag friends called her Tilly, and every day when she awoke,

her hand went straight to her heart locket,

For in her locket was the last picture of her twins, a boy and a girl,

and the man----- who did her wrong----- she put him in her pocket.

So, many years passed, and the do-gooders came by with their

handouts---never a hand up was offered----as if they could not wait

to depart, and didn't look back as they were leaving,

Yet, many needed medical care, and there was very little food to share,

as the economy was bad---but they drank their hot potato

water without grieving.

It was Christmas Eve and they all were standing around their

barrel fires to keep warm, all but Tilly,

Some sang carols, some laughed, and some shared their garbage

treats of stall cakes and moldy cookies, and acted drunken silly.

It was in the early morn, on Christmas Day, when Tilly was found by

a reporter searching for a story,

All her friends gathered around to say their good-byes, some prayed,

some cried, but they all knew she was in Glory.

For not a sweeter, kinder, caring “Bag Lady” ever walked this earth

than Tilly, their most precious friend,

They wanted to give her beautiful flowers, but they had no money to

spend, and her funeral they could not attend.

The reporter told them not to worry, for Tilly was his story to


And he would come back and read it to them, but they would

have to wait.

A month had passed and there he was standing before

Tilly’s friend—the “Bag People,”

I want you to know that Tilly had lots of flowers and she is

buried in a beautiful place called the Steeple.

She is resting by her father---who was a very wealthy

business man from Switzerland, who was very acclaimed,

Tilly was wealthy and very much loved---- until she married

that man with no shame.

Her full name is Tanja Marie Blickensderfer, born in

Switzerland, came to America when she was six months old,

She was married to a man who is running for Congress as I speak,

but I assure you when my story is published it will stop him cold.

Her children will then know their mother, and why and what

happened in her life and that their selfish father sent her away,

I have all the answers in her little wooden box, to expose that

appalling man, and now Tilly will have her day.


In the Steeple Cemetery on a Christmas morn, stood a man

and woman with poinsettias draped over their arms to place

them on the Tombstone that said, "Mama, we felt your love through

all these years—we were never apart for our hearts were joined in

a Swiss Love Knot”---and then written below----- it said----

Your Children--- inside a heart of red.

A big Oak tree behind her tombstone someone carved inside a big heart the name: Tilly.

(Like so many homeless Tilly did not have a shelter to sleep at once in a while. She was on her own living in a cardboard box. That was her homeless housing. She did not have anyone fixing housing solutions for her, no one seemed to care enough to offer, and she would never ask. She became homeless because of a cruel husband.)

© 2011 Barbara Purvis Hunter


Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on July 12, 2013:

Hi Gypsy Rose Lee,

I love your comment. I wanted to make a point to anyone who read this---don/t wait for an opportunity---make it happen. Search for that love one who is no longer in your life---don't wait until it is too late.


Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 11, 2013:

Well for this you get voted up, awesome, and beautiful. Got tears in my eyes for this wonderful and extremely sad and touching poetic journey. Were it a real happening I would have loved to have the grown children find their mother way before she died. Passing this on.

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on July 11, 2013:


Thanks for your visit and your kind words. It is sad and whenever I see a homeless person I try to help them without hurting their pride.

Bobbi Purvis

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on July 11, 2013:


This is a sad poem, however, I tell you, you have marvelously portrayed the bag lady.

I have seen many women such as Tilly. And this makes me very sad.

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on April 27, 2012:


Thank you for visiting---it is good to hear from you. And thanks ever so much for your comment. And you have a great weekend also.

Your Hub Friend,


Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on April 26, 2012:

Bobbi, your poems are so well-written and wonderfully versed, so much so that the meaningfulness of them, especially this one tears my heart up. Good job. Do keep writing, you have such a wonderful gift. Thumbs up and beautiful. Best regards and have a good weekend.

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on April 21, 2012:


Thank you--and I am hoping to finish a book that I started last year--and if my family will stay well--it might happen this year sometime.

Thank you for your kindness.

Your Friend,


Suzie from Carson City on April 21, 2012:

W O W !!! That's some genius mind you have there girl!! By all means....get them into a book!! and dedicate it to Tilly!

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on April 21, 2012:

Hi fpherj48,

So far everything I have written is from my imagination, except for one poem--and it was about someome who died that I loved when I was 14 years old.

My mind is full of untold stories and poems---and maybe one day I will have them all on paper.

I wish you the very best weekend, have a lot of fun.

Your Hub Friend,


Suzie from Carson City on April 21, 2012:

PurvisBobbi44....I am moved beyond words. This is graceful and touching....I read it in complete awe. Your talent is simply amazing......I don't know what else to say...This is stunning.........UP ++++

(Bobbi....is Tilly of your imagination or a woman who truly existed?)

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 22, 2012:

Hi jacqui2011.

Thank you for reading about Tilly--and I hope after people read this, maybe they will be kind to others who not as lucky as themselves.

People sometimes need a hand up, and yes it is true now in America that most people are not too far away from being Tilly-- it could only be a couple of paychecks, and if one is not lucky enough to have family---then it is very sad.



jacqui2011 from Norfolk, UK on February 22, 2012:

Wow what an amazing piece of work - a masterpiece. I wrote a hub about hungry and homeless in the UK. I never judge homeless people as we don't know the circumstances that put them on the streets in the first place. As I said to someone before - most people are only one paycheck away from being homeless. Voted up - awesome and beautiful.

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 22, 2012:

Thank you PDXKaraokeGuy,

Thank you for reading about Tilly, and your comment, I appreciate it.

I hope everyone who reads this will remember when they see a Lady who is down and out--and maybe give her a hand up.



Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 22, 2012:


Thank you for reading about Tilly, and your comment.

I try to bring attention to issues in some of my poems, that I consider serious to all humans.

Any of us could be Tilly in one way or the other, it is the cards of life that are dealt to each of us, and how we play them.



Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 22, 2012:


Thank you Jamie for stopping by and reading my hub.

And for your comment. Have a great day.



Kim Lam from California on February 22, 2012:

People like Tilly do not deserve this. Thank you for composing this beautiful piece of writing.

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on February 22, 2012:

This was a great read. Thank you for sharing! Jamie

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on February 22, 2012:

touching story, bobbi and I love how you gave an identity and grace to a person most us would ignore if we saw on the street. well done. Bravo! Sharing...

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 17, 2012:

Thank you Audrey for taking time to read my hub. Life is too real at times---but words can wake people up--- to the world around them. Maybe with a tender heart one could reach out with a hand up for another human being.



Audrey Howitt from California on February 17, 2012:

Life can be so very cruel sometimes. This was a piece that touched my heartstrings! Thank you!

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 17, 2012:

Thanks, tammyswallow,

I appreciate you reading my hub. And I have you on my list to read some of yours.

Have a great weekend.



Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 17, 2012:


Don't grow up--always be young at heart. Thank you for a great Birthday hug from everyone. I appreciate it.Have a great weekend.



Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 17, 2012:


I thank you for taking the time from your day to read my hub. I appreciate your comment.



Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 17, 2012:


Thank you so much for the kind comment. I appreciate you stopping by and reading my hub.



Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on February 17, 2012:

Daisy Mariposa,

Thank you for your sweet comment, my face is red.

I appreciate you stopping by and reading it.



Tammy from North Carolina on February 17, 2012:

This is eloquent and beautiful! This is a great warning against greed. Well done!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on February 17, 2012:

Hello Bobbi, It's obvious that your words come from the heart. You are a beautiful person inside and out. When I grow up I want to be like you.

Happy Birthday to you. Many all your wishes come true.

Curiad on February 16, 2012:

Bobbi, what can I say....Thank you.

Jessica Rangel from Lancaster, CA on February 16, 2012:

This is one amazing hub. So talented, and so descriptive... You are talented!

Daisy Mariposa from Orange County (Southern California) on February 16, 2012:


I am speechless. Wow! What a talented writer you are.

Barbara Purvis Hunter (author) from Florida on December 18, 2011:


Thanks for being such a good and talented man. You are the one who inspires us all to do more. You are the one who told me to write more poems.I hope you know how popular you are with everyone here at hubpages. You are a good friend to us all. Don't forget that--we are blessed to have you and your comments.

Thanks again, Your Hub Friend,


Joseph De Cross from New York on December 18, 2011:

Have been myself visiting persons like Tilly in Hospices and you can see the abandonment and despair. Nurses really do not care at times..! Some are so old that they just sleep all day and don't even feel like eating their..probably their last meal of their lives. Some are in Nursing homes, trying to live a decent life...and some can tell you stories of how their kids left them there to die..so they can collect some cash...the root of the cancerous evil that is eating up this world. Is a shame because we all will get there and we will pay on earth for our own worngdoing and selfishness. The story is sad, and now you are paying me back for making you cry with my inspirations...won't take cold showers or drink two galsses of wine, Will just meditate about life and keep on going until we get our won call... Thanks Bobbi for this piece. As always you wake up feelings in us..and we are ready to write more...and more.


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