Unsentimental Education

Homeless to Harvard Liz Murray, an American inspirational speaker and author, went from being homeless in New York City at age 15 to being a Harvard graduate. Read all three excerpts. Liz Murray talks about her book and how she went from homeless to Harvard. Liz Murray speaks at a Chick-Fil-A leadership conference about making empowering choices.

Liz Murray - Homeless to Harvard

Thinking Critically Answer each questions as completely as you can, using well-formed sentences. At what age did Liz Murray's mother "take to the streets"? Why did she do so? How does Murray's father characterize his own father Liz Murray's grandfather? What was the nature of the "lucrative drug scam" that Murray's parents initiated?

Describe how the scam worked. Murray describes how, when she was only three years old, she saw her parents use drugs in their apartment.

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What effect does Murray's quoting herself as a child, saying "Al-l-l do-ne" when her parents were done, have on you? As expected, she ended up with the wrong crowd, drinking and smoking pot. It did not take long before she got totally hooked. His father abandoned he and his mom in his adolescence. Surrounded by rich kids in school, he found superficial comfort in their camaraderie. In spite of his drug dependence and hippie lifestyle, he finished college and second year of graduate studies. Earning more than average with his consultancy job after graduating also made buying drugs more possible for Peter.

He was 34 years old and she was only To her, he was the perfect man—learned, attractive, and authoritative.

With their shared interest in cocaine, their future was unfolding. Money was easy at first. The three lived in a decent apartment in Bronx, New York. That part of the district would soon become one of the most notorious New York block. Peter had his own share of fortune in the growing drug business.

Liz Murray - Wikipedia

Her arrest led to the discovery of Peter and her meticulously systematic operations. To make matters worse, Liz was then about to see her first light of day.

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She must be her lucky charm because the judge took pity on her upon seeing her very pregnant belly. Instead of serving time behind bars, she was just given probation.

Liz Murray

Peter, however, was not as lucky as her partner. Liz was born on 23 September She renovated the house and transformed it into a wholesome home. They lived on the welfare that the government gave their legally blind mother.

Liz Murray, from homeless teenager to Harvard graduate

It was not really abundant but it got them through nonetheless. Those were the most peaceful years of her life. For a time, she was a responsible and sober mother to her daughters.

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It was a gradual decline. Their mother began neglecting house chores she had once faithfully done. She wrote in her memoir:. Ritualistically, they would spread spoons and other objects along the kitchen table in some kind of urgent preparation. Over the display, they communicated in quick, brief commands to each other. Water was needed—a small amount from the faucet—and so were shoelaces and belts. I was not supposed to bother them, but observing their busy hands from a distance was allowed.

From the doorway, I often watched, trying to understand the meaning behind their activity. But each time Ma and Daddy were done setting the strange objects across the table, at the very last minute, one of them would close the kitchen door, blocking my view entirely.

This remained a mystery until one summer evening when I parked myself in my stroller which I would use until it finally gave under my weight in front of the kitchen. I watched roaches weaving their way in and out of the door crack—a recent addition to the apartment since Ma had stopped cleaning regularly—while each minute dragged by.

When Ma finally emerged, her face was tense, her lips pursed together. Within five days each month the money would be spent leaving the whole family with little to eat for the rest of the month. Through it all, Liz tried to understand her parents. However out of hunger, Liz and her sister would eat Chap Stick, toothpaste and anything else to appease their grumbling stomach.

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