Thursday, September 6, 2007

William A. Cripps

I found this out while searching the Web for information about the Charles Hayden Goodwill Inn, one of the foster homes in which I stayed as a child.

William “Billy” A. Cripps, 59, died Monday, Nov. 6, 2006, in Manchester, New Hampshire as a homeless man.

He was born April 19, 1947, in Framingham, Massachusetts, the son of Alvin Cripps Jr. and Margaret E. (Brady) Cripps.

He was educated in Massachusetts and attended high school in Boston while a resident of the Morgan Memorial Charles Hayden Goodwill Inn, where he lived from 1960 until 1963.

He quit high school in 1963 at the age of 16, and went to work for a carnival headquartered in Massachusetts where he performed equipment maintenance and ran a carousel. He worked seasonally until about 1987. While a resident of Manchester, New Hampshire, he often stayed at the New Horizons Shelter. He was a member of the Candia Congregational Church for many years. He died two weeks after finally receiving the disability checks for which he was entitled, but had been previously denied. He died alone in a hotel room from an unknown fever. He had feared he would have died on the streets and nobody would know who he was.

A funeral service was held and burial was in Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester.

For every hour and every moment thousands of men leave life on this earth and their souls appear before God. And how many of them depart in solitude, unknown, sad, dejected that no one mourns for them or even knows that they have lived or not.” --Fyodor Dostoevsky

Billy was one of my roommates when I lived as a boy at the Charles Hayden Inn. “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” -- John Bradford

I first noticed Billy when he was crawling around under the stairs in the basement of the Hayden Inn. I was sworn to secrecy when I discovered that he had built a small clubhouse under the stairs. I tapped into an electrical circuit and provided some lighting. Eventually Billy moved most of his prized possessions from his room into that secret alcove. You can read about my stay at the Hayden Inn, and other childhood adventures in my book, Abominable Firebug and you can read about the book on my web page.