By: Matt Maisel
Gladys Solomon is hoping a little salesmanship -- and a lot of faith -- will allow her to keep her home.
Solomon, 74, is selling t-shirts with a religious message she created, in the hopes she can pay off a growing mortgage and get her Lancaster home out of foreclosure.
"At my age, where am I going to go?" a defiant Solomon said. "I don't want to be in anyone else's house."
In January, a sheriff arrived at the front door of her ranch home on Prospect Street with foreclosure papers. She had 20 days to leave, he said.
"I said, 'Oh, 20 days?' My grandchildren heard that and they said, 'We have to move?' I said, 'No, we're not moving.'"
Solomon, who is disabled and walks with a cane, retired in 2007. For the last few months, she has had to pay for her husband's nursing home care in New York.
Quite simply, the money well ran dry, and Solomon started to fall behind on mortgage payments. When the foreclosure arrived, she was $8400 behind.
"I worried for months, trying to figure out how to keep the home," Solomon said. She's lived in her Prospect Street home for 20 years, and her current neighborhood for close to 40 years.
Solomon said she spent many nights afterwards sleepless; sometimes crying, other nights thinking of ways to keep her house. One night, she went to her computer, and wrote down words of her relationship with Jesus. The idea for her t-shirts was born.
Solomon initially ordered 100 white t-shirts, and recently ordered 80 more. Her passage is written in black font on the front. In it, she refers to Jesus as "The Only True Friend you'll ever have....I am always there for you. I am the sun, rain, and wind."
Attorney Alaine Grbach, Solomon says, is helping pro bono. Grbach was able to get the foreclosure put on hold by working with the mortgage company, giving Solomon more time to sell her shirts.
Solomon says she's considered going back to work. A former nursing assistant, she recently attended a job fair at the Conestoga View Nursing Home.
"I'm not begging. I'm selling something," she said. "I'm doing something about it."
To order a t-shirt, call Gladys Solomon at 717-342-7698.