Marion, becoming resilient at a young age
The car Marion currently sleeps in was an inheritance gift from her mother. “I took it from here to New Mexico and back, then Spokane, around East, you know. I have been blessed to have a vehicle, but I choose to walk. I park it here because I can walk everywhere. Walking is the one thing I enjoy daily. It takes me about an hour to get to Rose Haven because I just stroll. I just cruise, so I can enjoy it. The fresh air is good for you, it’s my physical therapy, you know.”
Marion grew up with her mom and has known the streets from a young age. She tells us this helps her stay safe and respected out here. “I’ve known the streets since the 1st, 2nd grade, not being homeless but just when mom said ‘baby go to the store and get me a bag of chips.’ And then when I got to the 3rd grade, they put me in this area with high prostitution, which threw me into this grown folk dangerous world early. So people always respected me. Being out here young helps a lot. Because they see me and they think I’m new. But I’m not new. I’m old. YOU guys are new, to seeing me.”
Except for two people that live on the streets close to her, Marion keeps her distance from others out here. “I don’t mingle with a lot of street people, because people come from different places.” She knows all too well what their intentions might be, and is determined to get off the streets, and into housing. A woman she keeps an eye on, Joan, sleeps just around the corner in a small structure made from tarps. We went over there to bring her a Shelterbag, but Marion says she’s probably out ‘canning’, collecting waste for recycling.
“If I don’t see her for two days I worry about her. Her story is so sad. I’m glad I met her. If I wasn’t out here, I wouldn’t have known that somebody else is going through what I’m going through. Her story is like a hundred times more tragic than mine. And all this lady wants is to be home with her family. I mean, I want help too but I wish more for her to get help. You have no idea.”
“I’m in the street but not from the streets. I’m not participating. I don’t care what’s going on. I only talk to two street people. I stay out of it.”