Tent City

In my novel, That Ever Died So Young, the idea of the home for run-away teens came from heart breaking news that a student told me when I asked about another student. There was an area in Reston called “Tent City.” Tent City was a huge parking area and also the place where students would go when a parent or parents asked them to leave the home. They would pitch their tent in Tent City – an eye opener for me. I was told that teens had taken over the entire area. For me, no matter how badly my son behaved, I never wanted to kick him out of the house. One evening I went with a friend to look at Tent City, but this was just before Reston planned to put up apartments and condos and stores, so the area was dug up in some places and all the tents were gone. As we stood there looking out, she said that when she came for the first time all she could see were tents that spanned about a quarter mile square. Unimagineable, huh? I stood thinking about how things could happen that would drive a family that far. Yes, the teens were no doubt on drugs and difficult to handle, but wasn’t there some way to bring them back? Now that the city wanted to use the space for apartments, condos and stores what would happen to the teens? Not only were these teens kicked out of their homes, but they were also kicked out of Tent City. My friend said that there were just as many girls (if not more) as there were guys living in Tent City. I don’t know where they all went and I never saw that one student again. But everytime I go to Reston, I look for him.

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