James Edstrom

I just could not sleep this morning, even know I was up till 4am. People and things are bothering me. I know most of the world has it worse, but I am not happy. I am not happy with always trying to do the right thing, and so many people in this celebrity business could give a s**t about anyone else. I am not happy about going to see my doctor yesterday for a medical checkup, and I ended up ranting and raving about all the messed up people in my life the past few weeks. I had tears in my eyes as I told her the good things I have done lately and the rotten payback I ended up getting. Like I said, I got it better than most of the starving people in the world, but by New York City standards, my life sucks. Here is one story. Maybe next week I will tell another.

Most of my friends know that I took in a homeless kid a while back. Just some 18 year old I kept seeing around the neighborhood. He's 19 now, but I have my hands full. The kid was in foster homes from aged 2 to 9. He was then adopted by a woman in Pennsylvania, who allegedly used him and other kids she adopted as farm slaves, with no love or anything. Christmas and any other holidays, the kids got nothing. The kid never got any love, was beaten physically and emotionally and then when he was just about 18, dumped into a apartment in New York City, with the promise that she would pay the rent. She payed the first month, and never payed again. The kid became homeless and was sleeping in Union Square Park. After years of complaints to child services in Pennsylvania from concerned church members on how the adopted kids were being abused, the state of Pennsylvania did nothing. In fact, the woman was just allowed to adopt once again.

I have my hands full. I never raised a kid. He is smart, good looking and loving, but he is rebellious. He still has the mentality of a 15 year old, and anyone that has raised a 15 year old kid, knows how they argue and think they know it all at that age. I was never rich, because any money I have made over the years I shared with friends and family that needed help. Money never meant much to me, except to pay the bills and to help people. This kid is costing a fortune. I have been trying to get him some kind of benefits, so I can fix the damage that was done to him. My plan was simple. Get him off the street, get him some kind of benefits, then affordable housing and then bring his mind up to where it should be for a 19 year old kid. Then he could become a productive member of society and get a job. He wants to model, he's got the looks. Social Security has denied him and I have to get lawyers to fight them. Welfare denied him, because they expected him to sit in front of a computer all day and look for a job, which is impossible for him as his attention span is not that great. He also has dyslexia. It is very hard for him to read and write. He has 5th grade reading books and they are very hard for him. But, he is a very intelligent kid. My simple plan did not turn out to be so simple. I have my hands full. I have spent a fortune feeding this wonderful kid and putting clothes on his back. I have spent most of my waking hours talking to him, trying to educate him and to teach him how to be a good human being. Most of my celebrity friends are not being supportive. They do not want me to bring him to events. When I tell them stories on the kid, they act like I have jumped into the gutter. They won't and do not want to see the wonderful progress I have made with this kid. They will not accept him, and it kills me that I always support my friends, even when they make bad worldwide headlines, I'm still there supporting them. They do not understand that this kid is like my son now and should be treated with the same respect as they treat me. He should not be treated like a un-desirable. If they only got to know him a little, they would love him. I am lucky in the fact, that one of my friends, a beautiful socialite and her husband, are having one of their favorite charities help with the massive paperwork and housing problems for the kid. They are the only celebrity friends that have offered a helping hand, and they adore the kid. Their favorite charity understands what I am trying to do. I can talk to them, they have seen it all. Besides the pain of trying to raise the kid, there is the joy. Like last week when he broke up with some girl he was seeing who worked at a fast food restaurant around the corner. He found out she was dealing drugs from the place and broke up with her. He told me, "I taught him that was wrong". When I take him to the Hamptons or to Fire Island and I see the smile on his face when he meets new people and learns new things. Like 2 weeks ago when we were at the Southampton Inn and we ran into my good friend for many years, Richard Johnson from Page Six. While Richard sat down with me to try to catch up on things and to get away from all the people trying to feed him item after item, I introduced the kid. Richard asked him," How do you like living in Times Square?". The kid said," I used to get into fights. I kicked a** there until James taught me it was wrong. I was proud and at the same time I laughed. The kid had no idea he was talking to one of the most powerful men in the media. He was asked a question, and he gave his answer. Richard laughed, while all the vultures trying to get a plug on Page Six hovered around waiting for their chance and wondering why Richard was talking to this kid. When I told the kid later who he was talking too, he said he didn't care, he liked Richard. This is my kid. The joy in his eyes when he learns something and he tells me," I taught him that". Nothing in this celebrity world can beat that for me. I will probably spend my last dime helping this kid. I have two things to leave this world. My 30 years of photos that document history, and this kid who maybe will become a great member of society, and if I'm really lucky a supermodel!
Photo By: John Martini


Anonymous said…
Email sent your way, James!
I am SO proud of; your caring and compassion! As you can see, many people don't know how to be loving or they are not interested in helping another.

"As you do to the least of these so you do to me..." Fresh from the Bible.

Got some feelers out and hope to get some solid suggestions for you.


Once I was homeless or perhaps I still am.

Once I was in need or perhaps I still am.

Once I needed someone to smile and show me kindness or perhaps I still do.

Maybe, I am human.