Checking in at the Crowbar Hotel is about kids, really young adults, who have been locked up for an assortment of crimes. Once inside the juvenile jail, aka the Crowbar Hotel, they become part of a culture that is unique, filled with tragedy and comedy and with hope and despair. You too can check in without getting arrested and meet the sometimes devious, always creative kids that reside at the Crowbar Hotel.
It is something not often spoken of seriously and, as this is a work of fiction, some seriousness may be missing from the pages that follow. But, this thing, kids and young adults locked up in jail, is quite real, and ultimately quite tragic. But along the way, between awareness and tragedy, there is a great deal of humanity, pathos, complexity and even humor. It is these things that occupy the walls of the Crowbar Hotel and are captured herein.
Soon, you will meet Sammy. Sammy could be anyone of thousands of kids born into a world of urban poverty, drug addiction and neglect. Used and abused at home, such children hide from stoned and violent adults who often grew up the same way themselves. School isn’t too important, especially when there is a need for petty thefts, drug trafficking, welfare dodges and the demands of social workers, parole agents and alas, gangs.
It is a great day that goes unnoticed as such when kids like Sammy come to jail and go to school; when they eat well and sleep clean and safe. From this, perhaps even opportunity and transformation can take hold, providing that teachers and others nurture the process.
There is another phenomenon at the Crowbar Hotel too. What about the kids who have never had much school, became successful in their own way, and then get arrested and wind up in jail? Let’s say that a very pretty girl, maybe two, drift into the oldest profession… at age 13, did well for a few years and then re-entered school as high school seniors with sixth grade skills? Having done so well, as they certainly thought they had, how can a high school teacher sell the virtues of education as the ticket to a good life? Not usually easy!
And what about kids who regard the Crowbar Hotel as if it were some sort of spa with bars? It isn’t even a matter of escaping the cruel realities of the road, but a practical matter with annoying prerequisites; in order to gain entrance to the spa one had to go out and get himself arrested! For a high school teacher charged with the taskofspreading literacy, such students imply many motivational challenges! After all, these kids, two in particular who emerge often in the pages that follow, really did want sort of a spa treatment! They wanted a few months of steady meals, a clean and warm place to sleep, enforced sobriety and some medical attention. Going to school could be endured, if needed, to gain the other perks.
Excerpted from "Checking in at the Crowbar Hotel" by Gary Delanoeye. Copyright © 0 by Gary Delanoeye. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
First of all, I am a teacher! I really liked the challenging adolescents who were a part of my career. Never a dull moment, and always... I learned new things about their lives, their cunning and even the humanity that motivated them, even while they were locked up.
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