Routine

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Barbara*, 1939-

“[And I encountered] hostility, especially from little old ladies. But anybody, really, you try to say hello to first. If they say hello to you, it’s fine, you can return it, but the queen speaks first!”

I try to have a day routine; I think it’s psychologically healthy. Every Monday*, we have an animal lovers’ group that I attend. On Thursdays, I’ll walk to the senior center. It is a small group of seniors; not homeless, just seniors. It is a wonderful group; they sit and talk about their grandchildren, I talk about animals, she smiles. On Sundays, I go to the Unitarian Church; not that I grew up a Christian, but they are good people, so I like to go there.

Every day, I get up at six o’clock every morning, and walk down the hill. I panhandle every day I can. People seem to like me and they stop because I’m in robes, but you can sit there all day and earn nothing, or just $3. It is hard work. I encounter kindness, and hostility, especially from little old ladies. But anybody, really, you try to say hello to first. If they say hello to you, it’s fine, you can return it, but the queen speaks first!

Getting to places is the hardest. As I told you, many bus drivers refuse to let me on the bus with the wheelchair unless I am sitting in it. The senior center, for example, that’s five hours away, so I walk it. . .


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[* She asked to use a pseudonym, without photos. Locations were deleted as well for privacy reasons.]