Surviving the grim side of the 'Cinderella' story

October 4, 2013

By Katie Mingle

(Photo courtesy of StoryCorps)
Jennifer Feuer-Crystal and Kim Scott

Kim Scott’s had more than her share of ups and downs.

She was abused as a child. And as an adult, she was temporarily homeless three different times -- she remembers finding shelter with friends, family and in hotels.

Now she works for Mercy Housing, an agency that provides affordable housing, as the lead desk clerk. She said her life experiences have given her empathy for her clients.

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StoryCorps recorded Scott at Mercy, talking with co-worker Jennifer Feuer-Crystal about how life has knocked her down, and how she’s able to keep getting back up.

StoryCorps’s mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. This excerpt was edited by WBEZ.

SCOTT: I had the Cinderella life. I had to do the cooking, the cleaning, the washing, the ironing. I had to take the kids to school, I had to make sure they were dressed and fed. And I used to get whoopings all the time … I would have these dreams of God. I would see God come down and get me and take me by the hand and take me away.

When she was 18, Scott learned she was pregnant. And she said she thought her life was over.

SCOTT: I felt like there was nothing that I could do then. I was gonna be nothing.

But she went on to graduate high school, and to go to college. And she found joy in her children.

SCOTT: I made sure that we always had something to do, we were always going to the park or downtown, Navy Pier, Sears Tower …. We lived in Roseland. There was a lot of violence. I had to show them there was something more than that.

Scott herself was homeless three times, but she said her children never knew.

SCOTT: They never saw me down, they never saw me out.

To find out what gave Scott her strength, listen to the audio above.

Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival.