Life under the bridge: Homeless 58 yr old Marlyn

Discussion in 'Media' started by hvactec, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. hvactec
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    hvactec VIP Member

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    Life under the bridge: Homeless and mentally ill in SLO County

    Marilyn doesn’t know where she was born exactly, although she believes it was in the desert near railroad tracks because she remembers men on a caboose waving to her as they rode by. Many of Marilyn’s 58 years of life and memories are indistinct, cloaked in haze.

    I talked with Marilyn one recent morning, me buying her a coffee and she offering me a piece of cardboard on which to sit while we chatted. The front porch of her “home” was a crawl space under Prado Road bridge spanning San Luis Creek, a place where as many as two dozen people would shelter during the night.


    Marilyn’s belongings — multiple blankets, bags of clothing and sleeping bags given to her by those meaning well — surrounded her. “I’m psychologically attached to this stuff,” she said.

    Although Marilyn may be a member of our community’s homeless population, she isn’t necessarily dispossessed. While a bad knee, an ulcer and asthma — as well as her attachment to her things — had kept her under the bridge morning, noon and night, she had a network of friends who had been bringing her buttered toast and sweet rolls in the morning and Chef Boyardee in the evenings.

    On this particular summer morning, the air had a faint smell of urine, and a rat brazenly scampered near Tribune photographer David Middlecamp’s shoes, staring him down from a bridge abutment.

    “When you live down here,” Marilyn said in a high, childlike voice, “you make things work.”

    Marilyn had been “making it work” under the bridge for eight months. She was only going to spend a night or two and then friends were going to take her to a campground in Grover Beach, but they never showed up.

    As she sipped her coffee, she explained in almost a singsong rote that she’d once gone to Pierce College to take real estate classes. Later, she’d worked for 11 years as a midlevel manager at an electronics company in the San Fernando Valley.

    As trucks rumbled over the bridge, releasing fine wisps of dust that landed on her shoulders and cap-topped head, Marilyn said she’d loved the electronics job, but she had lost it when she went out on disability. When the company filed for bankruptcy, she signed up for Social Security insurance.

    That safety net evaporated as Marilyn moved from campgrounds to motels to makeshift campsites next to creeks and in brushy areas, missing a Social Security recertification appointment in the process. By her reckoning, she’s been homeless for 15 years.

    • • •

    Sadly, tragically, Marilyn isn’t the only person who has made the banks of San Luis Creek a refuge.

    On July 8, 54-year-old James Kristopher Wadsworth crawled into his tent next to the creek off South Higuera Street and Elks Lane and suffered fatal burns after a candle lit his tent on fire. One of the last acts of his life was to get a woman out of the tent before she, too, was burned.

    read more Life under the bridge: Homeless and mentally ill in SLO County | The Tribune & SanLuisObispo.com
     
  2. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Not to worry. The 12 man Congressional "Council of Nicea" headed by Obama will return the US back to the land of Milk and Honey.
     
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  3. Zander
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    Zander Platinum Member

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    Under the bridge is a good place for her; when it rains she has protection from the water, and when it is sunny she has shade. She's doing well for a homeless person. She eats food every day. In most parts of the world she'd be considered wealthy.
     
  4. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    What is one to glean from this????
    Is your point 'what a terrible place America is'?



    Did you know...
    "We usually hear about charity in the media when there is a terrible disaster. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, we heard about the incredible outpouring of private generosity that amounted to $6 billion. What gets less attention is that Americans routinely give that much to charity every week. Last year Americans gave $300 billion to charity. To put this into perspective, that is almost twice what we spent on consumer electronics equipment—equipment including cell phones, iPods and DVD players. Americans gave three times as much to charity last year as we spent on gambling and ten times as much as we spent on professional sports. America is by far the most charitable country in the world. There is no other country that comes close."
    https://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2010&month=01

    What did you do to help Marilyn?
     
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  5. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    Besides posting your 'heart-string' stories, do you actually do anything for the homeless?
     
  6. Mad Scientist
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    Mad Scientist Deplorable Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Apparently HVACTEC himself became homeless recently.

    Oops!
     

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