Some people have noticed someone has pitched a tent under a pine tree near downtown Tulsa and have wondered who is living there.
News on 6 reporter Rick Wells stopped by to find out and was a little surprised at what he found.
We parked a short distance away and walked up. Didn't want whoever was in there to mistake us for the police. "Anybody home?" We said we were from the News on 6, hoping if anyone was inside they'd come out.
Finally, just as we were ready to leave Earlene Boljack stuck her head out. "Did I wake you up?â€ She told me she must have been sleeping on her good ear and didn't hear us. Most days the first project she said is to find coffee. "Go get a cup of coffee at McDonalds or WhatABurger up the street."
Wednesday, she hopes to get down to the Day Center to get some dry clothes, all the rain got things pretty wet.
Another voice from inside the tent turned out to be her son Tom. They had been living in a house near here. A fire in January took what little they had; now they're here. "So what are you all gonna do today?" Tom Boljack: "Probably go down to 15th and see if any of the businesses need anything." That's what they do, empty trash, sweep floors, wash windows. He used to work on a trash truck, but a broken leg left him barely able to walk. Earlene has been sick and in and out of the hospital herself. Tom Boljack: "I'll make a dollar and a half or $2 in a day, that's enough to survive."
It's all about survival, until things get better, under a pine tree in the shadow of downtown Tulsa.
The News on 6 contacted the Day Center for the Homeless, and we were told Tulsa has adequate shelter space for anyone who needs it. Although male residents at the Day Center must be 55 or older, we were told, there are exceptional circumstances.