Monday, November 16, 2015

Where did Doris go?

File:Homeless Woman.jpg
No words
A newspaper article on “Homeless in San Diego” wrote an article that included her. Named her Delores or Doris, something like that.  Saw her every day, going and coming to work or home.  Driving by, seeing her, wondering day after day, who she was.

Ragged woman…in dirty army fatigues, worn out fatigues.  Long ratty gray hair, wrinkled hands, couldn’t see her face but once when she shook the dirty mass back to tie up with a red bandanna.  

Her face, well, her face. Must have been beautiful sometime, beauty was still there, hidden with wrinkles, dirt, frown, lines…fine bones. Fine hands, long legs.  

Sometime maybe thirty, forty years ago, now ragged worn out. 

Doris pushed her shopping cart up Washington over to Broadway, back again. 

Watched Doris for two years maybe. Each day she stretched out skinny arms, pushed heavy cart, had sleeping bag, pieces of junk, where she slept was a mystery Sometimes could see her curled up in a corner of empty supermarket, sometimes behind garbage bin. 

Didn’t know what she ate Tried to give her money a few times she swore at me, walked away, pride maybe. 

Winter and rain, saw less and less, just glimpses of here, there under overhangs or trees.  Then, one day, the next next next, Doris wasn’t there.  Never saw her again.


Wonder what, where, when.  Doris went somewhere. 

31 comments:

  1. Sometimes they won't take any money, see them here and then some disappear

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    1. Studies have said that many suffer from mental illnesses, have no family, or are veterans with PTSD and disaffected from society.

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  2. It must be tough to be homeless but especially tough to be old and homeless. Old age is the time for home and hearth in my humble opinion.

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    1. Oh, yes. Being old is the time to be in a place where someone cares, where it is warm, providing comfort.

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  3. I wonder about some of the homeless I see around where I live and there are quite a few. It's a big problem in Los Angeles and it's difficult to say what the best solution would be. These are people with stories. It would be interesting to know more of these stories.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. It would be interesting.to know the stories. Some documentaries have told some, but not enough.

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  4. I often wondered too when I saw them in Los Angeles. There are a few characters arond town here, but I don't think we have any homeless people.

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    1. I think the desert's climate is too harsh--to hot and too cold.

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  5. That's sad. If she refused help, then doubtful she went someplace better.

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    1. The people at the corners of streets, asking for money...sometimes we donate if it is clear that they are homeless.
      Recently a man was wondering through the parking lot near a CVS pharmacy, asking for donations. When he had enough, he went into the store, bought a 12 pack of beer. Why?

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  6. Last winter was bitter. A man came into our tiny library and stayed the day. The director asked if he had a place for the night, He didn't, so the director called the police chief, who took the man to the fire department for meals and a bed. In the morning they took him to the mission. The previous night he walked the 15 miles from the city to our village, walking to stay warm. He expressed his gratitude to "the tiny town" several times. I wonder where he wound up.

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    1. It does leave you asking that question, doesn't it. What a kind tiny town.

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  7. I don't fear being alone...I love being alone (I am never lonely)...but I would hate to be alone and homeless.

    No matter how humble the four walls...I would hate not to have those four walls to surround me. To be homeless, to me, is the epitome of loneliness - of despair - of utter hopelessness and sadness...

    It is so sad...somewhere, sometime, Doris/Delores was loved...was someone's daughter....

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    1. Yes, Doris had a family at some time. Did they know where she was?

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    2. Did they care? Did anyone care, I wonder?

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  8. 'All the lonely people, where do they all come from...'
    And where do they go?
    Such a frightening, unsafe life. And the numbers grow. Hidden often, but still there.

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    1. And, how did they get to this place in life? So many questions.

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  9. There are too many people like Doris. A small part of the clients where I work are homeless and some will not go into a shelter even in the worst weather conditions. Some have mental problems and some have had bad experiences when in a shelter. There is nothing we can do, but our hearts hurt knowing that they are outside and may not make it through the night.

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    1. There are so many questions in this sad section of the population.

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  10. It's troubling when they just disappear.

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    1. It has left me wondering, even though this was a few years ago. Even now, her image is in my mind.

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  11. Very Touching Post that we can Connect to. Been Homeless once for a very brief time years ago but had enough of a Support System in place to be taken in til I could rebound from the circumstances that caused it and get our own place again. But have a Seriously Mentally Ill Daughter that chooses Homelessness as her Lifestyle because she finds it to be easier than maintaining the stability of a Home when she is not Institutionalized. I am raising two of her Children and her other three are being cared for in Mexico by the Paternal Relatives, we all worry about her, she maintains sporadic contact when she is Well enough to, the Not Knowing is always the worst part for Loved Ones... my Prayer is that Doris has anyone who Cares enough that she maintains some Contact with them and they can keep track of her. Alas, so many do not and are the almost Invisible to Society outcasts. It is frustrating to attempt to help those who are not able to receive the help offered... it has given me a Peace to put those I cannot help into the Lord's Hands... when it is your own Loved One, you have to find a Peace some kind of way... Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Wow. God bless you and yours. Your life and its events leave me without words.

      Thank you.

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  13. Hi Susan,

    Having worked with the homeless, the rough sleepers, I have met many a Delores or Doris. Each with a story to tell that didn't fit some convenient stereotype. I have been humbled by those on the streets. It could be anyone of us.

    Thank you for such a thoughtful story of contemplation, Susan.

    Gary

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    1. I am thankful that they have someone like you--a kind and understanding human being.

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  14. I often wonder the same thing. You see someone everyday for years and then one day they are gone and the wondering starts. Did they move on? Did they die? Did they get rescued and put into a homeless facility, a shelter? We'll never know.
    Great story, one to tug the heartstrings.

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    1. She is someone whom I keep in my mind and heart. Where is she now?

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  15. There is a man here, he's probably early 30s. Long, stringy hair. He sits sometimes w/his head down early morning in the shopping center. I've wanted to approach him, bring him food, an iced coffee (it was all I had w/me at the time and I hadn't had a drink yet ;) ), whatever... but I'm frightened. And mad at myself for being so. I had something similar happen in Michigan when I was there (man walking in the harsh snow daily to get to work and I felt compelled to offer him a ride, but too scared to do so). *sigh*

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    1. I believe most people do fear the homeless, not knowing how safe it is. One very old, rail thin homeless man was sitting outside WalMart. Not begging, just sitting. I bought a coffee and hamburger out to him. He smiled, had virtually no teeth. Wanted to take him to my home, but that was beyond my understanding.

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    2. You were braver than I was... I bet he appreciated his coffee and hamburger.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!