Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa

I don't have any photos or paintings of my great grandfather but I do have some excerpts from his memoirs, starting with this account of his early childhood in Wisconsin. He married Carlyle Goodrich's daughter in 1902 and her reminiscences of life on the Great Plains also survive, in addition to quite a few of her paintings, including one of her father which hangs in my house.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Homeless-Industrial Complex, Part II

This is one of my favorite jackets. It's just a fleece, it crackles with static electricity when I take it off, it's hard to keep clean and fluffy, and it says Parliament of Canada / Parliament du Canada on it. I got it in 2001 when I was working in homeless services. I also have a black winter jacket with a broken zipper that says “DHS Night Patrol” in shiny black letters across the back, but it isn't very useful because of the broken zipper. I do get a lot of comment about the “DHS Night Patrol” bit though – no one has ever heard of the Department of Homeless Services so they always think it is from Homeland Security.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Homeless-Industrial Complex, Part I

written ca. 1999
edited 6/20/2012

I wrote this in the winter of 1999, just after I had started working for the city. It is an account of one of my first times going out with an outreach team.  Parts of it make me cringe a little and I can clearly tell in certain sentences that I am just repeating what someone has told me  Still, it is an historical document of sorts.  I have changed names where I think that is a good idea.

I get off work around five o'clock and leave our building on the west side to walk over towards City Hall to catch the 6 uptown. I have no idea what it would be like after dark to walk down the deserted streets of the South Bronx, but my own neighborhood was similar and, by now, felt very safe to me. I cross under the Bruckner Expressway, foolishly looking the wrong way at one point, and came to the avenue I'm looking for. In any case, the streets are not deserted at all. A lot of people live here.