Monday, August 7, 2017

An Old Post Worth Thinking About

I was inspired to re-post this when I read a book review on Paula's blog.  And then today I read a short story on Keith's blog, and was encouraged again.  This is non-fiction, real life.

January 19, 2010

Live long enough you will meet plenty of characters, or at least get to see them; everyday folks who wander past your life, through your life, or hang out there in your peripheral vision.  Forty some odd years ago (gee, that makes me sound ancient) a 'character' occasionally passed in my periphery.  I say in my 'periphery' 'cause if I saw her I trekked to the other side - of the street that is.

I never knew her full name until today when I read her obituary in the Detroit News.  Her name was Stella Paris and she died at 97.  She was one of so many homeless people I would see hanging around the Greektown area where I spent most of my time from 1966 til 1977, either attending classes at Wayne State's Medical School or working at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

Frankly, Stella scared the dickens out of me.  She reminded my of one of our old neighbor ladies who chased kids with a rolling pin.  Not that Stella was violent, she was more 'creepy'.  Standing on the corner yelling in some strange language, some of it Greek, some not.  One of my co-workers used to give her money.  Me, I never got that close.  You just never knew.

When I read the paper this morning and saw the story, I realized that never once did I ever think about the homeless folks who would often sleep in front of the heat vents in front of the hospital after I left my job.  I never wondered what happened in their lives that caused them to be on the streets when I was working there.  Was it their choice, or someone else's?

As for Stella, no one seems to know what her story really was.  I would hope that at some point in her long life she was important to someone.  And that whatever demons seemed to haunt her all those years on the streets found their rest long before she finally did.

January 21, 2010

Well, just when you thought no one knew her, Stella Paris, that is, here comes her son giving an interview to the local paper.  Turns out that Stella was a mail-order bride from Greece in 1938.  An unhappy bride.  She had three sons with her husband; one son is now deceased.  She left her husband and children in the 50's and started living in Greektown.  Sadly, until reading their mother's death notice in the paper, they had not known of her whereabouts for the last 15 years.

Thanks to the Greektown merchants, Stella was laid to rest at their expense this morning.  May she truly rest in peace.

Since writing this I have often wondered how many folks are out there lost in this world to friends and family.

20 comments:

  1. Indeed , a story worth thinking about. She had sons and yet had no one in real life. She died at 97, meaning she was a survivor after all.
    I think no one chooses to be homeless, live on the streets. It's a matter of bad luck and unhappy circumstances.

    Anyway, the best advice one could get in life is to rely heavily on oneself. Family and friends sometimes prove to be disloyal when one is in need.

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    1. According to one report she suffered from schizophrenia.

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  2. Wonder if she was still homeless at 97 years old? Such a sad story.

    betty

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    1. She died in a nursing home, but I do not know how long she was there.

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  3. So easy to happen. When I think of my hubby and his brother who recently died. They had not been in touch for years and it could have happened to either of them and the other would not have known. Maybe her sons didn't care enough to look for her. Very sad tale.

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    1. I wondered how she got into a nursing home. Maybe that is when the sons lost track of her. She was well known to the Greektown merchants and the police department. My friend who would always give her cigarettes or money died a few years ago too.

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  4. Scary thought. How do you lose someone, is it because you want to lose them or because they want to be lost.

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    1. Seems like Stella wanted to be lost, at least in her mind.

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  5. It's too easy just to walk on by. Some choose that way of life because they simply don't 'fit in', but many others do not. They were all sommebody's children once, and many must have families now, albethey separated. I often wonder what led them to that park bench, that shop doorway. Thank you for telling us Stella's story and I'm delighted to have been instrumental in your decision to repost it.

    Click to visit Keith's Ramblings

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    1. It is way to easy to ignore all the folks on the streets for whatever reasons.

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  6. I was not a "Greektown person" but many people I know who did go to Greektown knew Stella. I believe one of the store owners let her sleep in his establishment on a regular basis.

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    1. I have many Greektown memories. And I still have a hoya plant, blooming right now, that I bought at Trapper's Alley back in the 70's.

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  7. This is such a beautiful post, Denise. So poignant right now and thought provoking. I would like to reblog it but can't figure out how. May I copy it to my blog?

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  8. I appreciate this post. It seems like more and more people are falling through the cracks. It seems like there are panhandlers on every street corner in Chicago these days.

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    1. I remember seeing so many panhandlers on the streets of San Francisco back in the late 90's. Now it seems they are everywhere. You have to wonder why.

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  9. What a great story and a reminder that we all have more to us than may appear to others. Too many people are being left behind.

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