Reindeer Gang: Home repairs needed for holidays

egrisamore@macon.comNovember 26, 2012 

The Reindeer Gang is an annual Telegraph feature that identifies individuals and families with needs during the holidays. Donations for the Peggy Cotton family can be made through Rebuilding Macon, 3864 Lake St., Macon, GA 31204. (478) 744-9808.

There is a chance of showers in today’s forecast, but Peggy Cotton won’t need to look out the window to know if it is raining.

She can see it dripping from the ceiling and trickling down the walls.

Cotton loves her home at the top of Elm Street in downtown Macon, where she lives with her 35-year-old son, Kenny.

He is the youngest of her nine children. He is also autistic.

“I feel God led me to this house,” she said. “I lived on the east side and needed to move from my neighborhood. I was driving down Hazel Street, turned on Ross, came up around the curve and saw the ‘For Sale’ sign.”

There was a fence around the front of the house. It made her feel secure about serving as a deterrent should Kenny try to wander off. With the help of a friend, she bought the house in 1993.

She considers herself blessed to have a roof over her head, even if it is a leaky one. Living on a fixed income and unable to afford the repairs herself, she recently applied for assistance at Rebuilding Macon, which rehabilitates houses of low-income homeowners at no cost.

As her son’s caregiver, Cotton said she sometimes feels like a prisoner in her own home. Kenny is a recluse, and they rarely leave the house.

“He used to love to go see the Christmas lights,” she said, adding that he particularly enjoyed the annual display of lights on Capitol Avenue.

Now, Kenny mostly retreats to his own world. He doesn’t read or watch TV. He sometimes listens to gospel music when Cotton plays it on the radio.

“He roams from room to room,” she said.

She said Kenny attended the Butler Center when he was a child and graduated from Southeast High School in 1999.

In the past, Cotton worked as a housekeeper at the Howard Johnson Motel and in the bakery at S&S Cafeteria when it was located on Cherry Street. She also worked in the laundry room at the state capitol in Atlanta.

In addition to needing funding for work on her roof, Cotton’s home also needs minor electrical work.