an update to ‘MY NEW ACQUAINTANCE-A LADY WITHOUT A HOME

This is an update to 2 previous posts

1-My  New Acquaintance – A Lady Without a Home, published February 1 , 2016

2-The Lady  in the Van and the Lady on the Bench, published February 10, 2016

My lady on the Bench,  no longer has a bench. She has been displaced. Not only is she without a home, she is without a bench. It has been removed. The Mall is undergoing a tremendous renovation and management has  established a new transit hub underground at the other end of the shopping centre. I looked for her and her  bags and cases at the new location. She was not to be seen.

Coincidentally later that afternoon I was putting on lipstick  in a mall bathroom  and I spotted my lady walking towards a stall. I tried to catch her eye but she did not see me. She didn’t  appear frail and looked much healthier than before. In fact She looked beautiful Her shiny silver hair was swept up and kept in place with a nice looking barrette. She appeared to be well groomed and flashed the attendant her beautiful smile. The attendant seemed to know her as she ushered her into a large handicapped stall with a sink. My lady was carrying numerous bags and a small case with her. I suspect this is one of the places where she washes up and perhaps changes clothes. I waited  a few minutes for her to come out but I had an apointment and couldn’t stay. It is apparent that this lady has class, and in fact in one of our previous chats she informed me that she grew up in a prestige area.

A friend of mine commented that I make lemonade out of lemons. I think this  applies more to the Lady  who is no longer on the bench. Enid wherever life takes you either by choice or circumstance, I wish you well.

This is not the only person down in luck who frequented the mall. Many years ago an unemployed and homeless man, hung out in the food court. He would pick up papers off the floor and throw away garbage that patrons left behind. The food vendors noticed him and gave him hand outs and some even gave him money,. One day he came  in wearing a  donated tuxedo. He continued to clean up and  he helped people find a vacant table. Management eventually hired him and he became the concierge  of the food court. He proudly wore a tuxedo to work  everyday and became a recognized and familiar face to many.

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A Recent review for “why Me” from an award winning author

 
I RECENTLY RECEIVED THIS REVIEW ON AMAZON FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE AWARD WINNING NOVEL- A PLACE IN THE WORLD’
on January 24, 2016
Why Me?
I felt like I got to know the delightful E.P. Snider by reading her warm memoir Why Me? She sounds like someone I would like to be friends with and join her “Pickled Lilies” ladies group; someone who tells her tale no holds barred, but with a sense of humor. I like that she started off with her parents from the old countries (Poland, Lithuania, Russia) as this is an interesting background. There is a shift from her early years growing up Jewish in Ontario and Alberta, to a different life in Toronto as a mother, wife and friend. In fact a professional edit could turn this family memoir into two books that might easily become mainstream.
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I spent Valentines Day with Ben Vereen

Holidays are a hard time to be without loved ones. Valentines day is particularly hard to be without ones mate. It isn’t as if my husband and I went overboard in celebrating valentines day but it is a day for couples to be together and I was feeling a little down thinking about not having my other half  with me –so when a friend also widowed asked me if I was interested in getting a ticket to see Ben Vereen,  I said i was.

This talented  man was performing at the Aventura Cultural Centre in Florida. Seeing him brought back pleasant memories of fun times gone by. Seeing him  also left me momentarily feeling sad and melancholy.Years ago when Ben was just a young chap, hubby and I, along with a few other couples were in las vegas at the same  hotel where Vereen was staying.One of our travelling companions was a glamorous young woman with flaming red hair. Vereen seemed to be intrigued by her and when our paths crossed he always went out of his way to shmooze with her This very nice and dynamic lady whose hair colour changed frequently from fire engine red to strawberry blond to bright orange, and back to fire engine red, also recently passed away.

My feelings of sadness mainly dissipated when the concert was underway. Who can resist the allure of Ben Vereen. His voice and his performance earned him a standing ovation. He didn’t do too much dancing, perhaps because of his advancing age and the result of past injuries. Life wasn’t alway easy for him. When he was a young adult he discovered that he was adopted. He lost a d 16 year old daughter as a result of a car accident and  then suffered from depression and addiction to cocaine. In 1992 he suffered severe injures after being struck by a car.He thought his career was over. He did make a comeback in 1993. and continues to be a great entertainer . Kudos to you Ben Vereen.

 

 

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THE LADY IN THE VAN AND THE LADY ON THE BENCH

THE LADY IN THE VAN is in my humble opinion  a wonderful British film that made its debut in 2015 at the Toronto International Film Festival. The story takes place in the 1970’s and 1980’s in  London in a tree lined middle upperclass neighbourhood. This pretty and close knit community attracted many individuals employed or interested in the arts.

This is where Alan Bennett, renowned and famous playwright resided. This story is his story, based on his memoirs. He is a mild-mannered insecure person and considered to be eccentric and introverted. His role was adeptly performed by Alex Jennings .Actually Jennings had the task of playing two roles–The role of Bennett and the role of Bennett. Alan Bennetts two egos are constantly arguing and dithering back and forth. Jennings very good performance was overshadowed by Maggie Smith, portraying Mary Sheppard- the lady in the van.

This is Mary’s story also. In the movie, like the playwright she  is also is shown to be eccentric, but her personality was the antithesis of Bennett’s. She was gutsy, cantankerous , strong willed, loud, pushy  and a pain in the butt. This elderly lady lived and traveled about in her van When she was tired she’d  park on various streets until forced to move. She was parked outside Alan’s residence when law enforcement made her vacate. She begged the playwright to let her use his washroom facilities. He reluctantly agreed to this -but only once.

Before he knew it Mary convinced him to temporarily let her park in his driveway for a very short time. This short time lasted for fifteen years. There were a succession of vans, each one painted a bright yellow.At first the neighbours ignored her and were sceptical of her and Alan. Then both were tolerated Eventually they  begrudgingly accepted the presence of Sheppard’s  van in the driveway and Bennett’s disaster of a driveway,  thanks to his guest. Anything the lady in the van didn’t want, she threw on to the  driveway–papers, garbage- including her own waste in plastic bags that frequently broke. Alan was constantly cleaning up after her. Eventually the neighbours became  protective of their feisty vagrant.

The film unravels the mystery of Mary’s eccentric ways,  her aversion to music and her odd religious rituals. We are introduced to some of the people who played a role in her life.

I recently befriended a homeless person. {See my previous post-A LADY WITHOUT A HOME} My lady without a home doesn’t sleep in a van. I don’t know where she sleeps. During the day she sits on a bench outside a mall, with her belongings arranged neatly beside her. She is elderly like Mary Sheppard but that is where the similarity ends. She appears to be well groomed ,courteous and grateful for any hand outs. She has a beautiful smile.

The last few times I was at the mall, my lady wasn’t there. but a couple of times her belongings were. I don’t know where she goes ,but nobody has tampered with her possessions. Everybody has a story and I would like to learn more of hers.

 

 

 

 

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My new acquaintance -a lady without a home.

My new acquaintance has beautiful silver hair and blue eyes. One thing she doesn’t have is a home.I first became aware of her when I was waiting for one of the six courtesy buses that service the community to take me home after a mini shopping spree.The six buses meet on the half hour at an entrance outside  the local mall after driving their respective routes There is a ten to fifteen minute wait before they depart again. This gives passengers  time to hop on one of the other buses to reach their destination. This also gives the bus drivers a chance to stretch their legs and kibbutz with each other.

At this particular time on this particular day the drivers were laughing and looking toward the two benches where passengers wait for the buses to arrive.I  heard remarks in between their snickers such as “ maybe today you will be the lucky one and she will ride on your bus” and ‘’Where do you think she came from? Probably Jail” I walked over to sit down. One bench was crowded with a couple adults and a few kids. The mother motioned for me to sit down and said her son could sit on her knee. she gave me a knowing look as she glanced over at the other bench where a slight older woman was crowded into the corner of the bench. Her belongings were beside her on the ground. Nobody else was sitting there. I declined the offer of the mother on the first bench and sat down, beside the older lady. She appeared  to be clean and well groomed.She was sitting with her head down and her eyes closed. She looked frail.I didn’t know if she was asleep or sick. I asked her if she was okay. She gave me the most delightful smile.  she said she  thought she was fine and that she was anxious to go to DSW for a special pair of shoes that she needed because of a foot injury . I wished her luck and asked if it would be okay if I gave her a few dollars. Once again she flashed me her beautiful smile and thanked me.

I thought about her that night. It was cold and it was rainy.I was hoping she had a place to sleep other then the bench. The next morning I had to return one of my purchases. sure enough she was sitting there wrapped in a smart looking warm sweater. I asked if she had a place to sleep at night. She said yes but didn’t elaborate. I asked if she was able to get her shoes. She said she wasn’t. We chatted for quite a while. She told me that she had just spent three weeks in the hospital for a lung condition and a heart condition. When she was discharged she attempted  to get in to her rented apartment. Someone else was inhabiting it. According to her the squatter refused to leave. Proper eviction procedures to remove a person must be followed. Unclear laws make the procedure difficult.

I don’t know if her story is the whole truth. but it doesn’t matter.  Homeless people have feelings too. They should be treated with respect and kindness. Any one of us or a member of our family could find ourselves in this horrendous situation.

 

 

 

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THREE STRIKES AND YOU ARE OUT–NOT ME

I am not superstitious but found the three following events that recently happened a little unnerving.

FIRST EVENT-A couple weeks ago I was at my local Florida flea market with relatives. The day was sunny and hot, albeit a a trifle humid. We were standing at a booth that sold watches and batteries.We were there  to buy new batteries for our old and ailing watches. Suddenly the beautiful blue sky was replaced with menacing black clouds, the winds roared and the clouds emptied their moisture in torrents. Things were flying every where. We were invited to come inside the booth, where we helped the vendors cover the displays with heavy plastic and then weighted the plastic down with bins filled with merchandise. The canopy and sides of the tent were shaking uncontrollably. The centre  pole that supported the whole structure  and was imbedded in a pail of concrete was wobbling precariously. As we tried to hold down the pole and swayed with it we were sure the whole thing was going to collapse on us. When I told my friend she said “ don’t you think that you are a little old to be a pole dancer.”  As suddenly as they appeared the menacing dark clouds disappeared and the blue sky was back .Birds started singing. and the rain stopped.We were unscathed except for ruined shoes and drenched apparel. We were unable to get replacement batteries for our ailing watches so they are still ailing–and to add insult to injury I ruined the watch I was wearing from all the water that it encountered.We later learned that tornadoes had touched down in surrounding areas.

SECOND EVENT-Yesterday evening. I returned home from a wonderful film “Apples in the Desert” I pushed the elevator button. One of the three elevators arrived to carry me to my floor. It was a very shaky and bumpy ride and when it arrived at my floor preparing to stop the shaking increased. It seemed like the elevator was possessed the lights overhead flickered and rattled  and the ceiling and walls shook so badly I thought it was going to collapse. When the doors opened I quickly ran out and thought I was going to collapse.I didn’t. I reported the malfunctioning elevator to security.

THIRD EVENT-After an enjoyable and delicious luncheon hosted by a friend and neighbour, I returned to my condo complex and went outside to chat with some of my neighbours before taking one of the two remaining working elevators up to my unit. Just as I was putting my key in the door, an ominous message came over the sound system. “There is a fire in your building .Vacate the building immediately taking the closest exit.” Having lived in high-rises in Toronto as well as Florida there have been many fire alarms, thankfully most of them turning out to be false. I decided to wait a bit to see if they would cancel the alarm, but the message kept repeating and repeating.so I decided to walk down the 26 flights of stairs to the outside hoping my senior legs and knees wouldn’t fail me.I did have the presence of mind to take a damp hand towel in case I encountered smoke. There wasn’t any. I walked down 25 flights of stairs-just one more flight to go, when the announcement came on that it was a false alarm triggered by dust. We have renovations going on. Oh well It is better to be safe than sorry. Besides I hopefully worked off some of the calories from the cheesecake I had for dessert. I will see tomorrow how the knees and back handled the expedition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NOW AND THEN

'#chillday'
NOW:
        Winter has arrived in  cottage country in Muskoka with a vengeance. This doesn’t    deter Stomp from lounging in the snow. We think he may have ancestors who were part polar bear.
THEN:
            Just a couple weeks ago, Stomp was enjoying a drink and a stroll in the lake where as now people are probably snowboarding, skating  and cross-country skiing on it.
  Jeffrey Kippel's photo.
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