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by WaylandCybersmith


Dennis Steadman

When Dennis Steadman left school at 14, the choice was easy. He became a window cleaner. Being a hard and conscientious worker, he quickly gained a large number of customers.

Dennis was a common sight in Gammerton as he cycled between customers with his ladder slung over his shoulder. He worked alone. Always alone. Partly out of pride, and partly because he did not want to split the money he earned for his work.

He married Louise, the daughter of one of his customers, in 1968 when he was 21. By this time, he was earning enough for a mortgage (helped with money Louise earned by cleaning some of the local shops and offices). They had two daughters; Frances and Claire.

In the winter of 1979, Dennis arrived at the house of Selwyn Hall. He put his ladder up, and began climbing. What he had not realised, was that one leg of the ladder was resting on a patch of ice. When Dennis had almost reached the top floor window, the ladder slipped, and he fell onto a brick wall, shattering his right leg.

Medical treatment and rehabilitation meant that Dennis was out of action for months. The Steadman family had to depend on Louise to earn enough money to live on. Dennis’ children helped around the house and saw to his needs until he was able to care for himself.

By the time Dennis was able to walk unaided, he was a changed man. He no longer had the nerve to climb ladders, so could not clean windows. His pride and lack of qualifications prevented him from becoming a mere employee.

Dennis began gambling and drinking. Louise would often find she had no money to feed the family or pay the bills. Louise and Dennis would have blazing rows lasting for hours, after which Dennis would storm out. He would either come back drunk, or remain away for a number of days.

Matters came to a head when, during a row, Dennis punched Louise. He had never done it before, but once was enough for her. That same night, she and the children left.

Now by himself, Dennis sank even further. He sold the house to pay off his debts, and the remaining money was either gambled away or spent on drink.

Dennis was now an alcoholic and homeless.

In 1995, the Blaze Community met Dennis on the streets of London. He was suffering from a heart attack after being beaten up. Dennis was taken to hospital, where he was treated, and then the community took him to Heritage House in Granhurst, North Tibworth.

Over the next 10 or so years, Dennis had the occasional slip into alcoholism, sometimes disappearing for weeks. Eventually, he was able to give up drinking completely. He spent his time doing jobs around the house until he was prevented by declining health.

Dennis Steadman, now called Dennis Steadfast, is still a member of Wild Olive Shoot.


© WaylandCybersmith 2011


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