it's been a week and a day since last cooking happened for nickelsville. i found it hard to write about it. Nova was there, and we had a new helper, Steve. business as usual, and nobody was emotional about it. they are all now gone from my neighborhood.
Steve told us that although he has been in nickelsville for over a month he is not moving to renton with the camp; he is going to move in with his brother or maybe with his father, in order to help him. both his brother and father live about an hour from seattle (different places).
they once had a nice family farm, but somehow involvement with drugs put an end to farm prosperity and they are all struggling now. Steve said something about himself being lucky not to get involved with drugs, but, apparently, he suffers the consequences with the rest of the family. he seemed pretty unfazed telling the story, like he didn't expect life to be especially kind to him. as a matter of fact he smiled in a very courteous manner when we talked about it - if you saw us on tv with the sound off, you might think we are prattling about the weather.
the soup, i hardly remember what and how we cooked, my mind preoccupied with the thought that there'll be no more cooking nights and concerns about all my friends having to adjust to another change. if i didn't put such a elaborate prep into that evening's cooking i'd probably never remember what we cooked. but i wanted to make sure that the last soup was really nutritious and less than more accidently based on whatever we found in the camp. so i pre-cooked about 12 chicken breasts, bought some veggies and mixed the spices for the soup more thoughtfully than ever; i still had leftover of rice from previous cooking in my car. so it was chicken and rice of sorts, the type of soup which seemed always the most welcomed.
odds and ends:
- while collecting the soup ingredients and soup bucket saw cameras and Natalie being interviewed by the side of her tent. wondered who which media it was, but didn't stop to ask. finally took some pics of the camp. when doing the last one, of the entrance gate, i found myself side by side with the media guy, trying o get the same shot. i still didn't ask him whom he represents, but a few days later my friend Susan, who knows about my nickelsville commitment told me about 94.0 FM KUOW 'weekday' podcast on their web; must have ben them - i will look and link to that interview.
- Rose left the camp, and went to shelter; Ricco said that Rose 'lives on the ave', and there is no ave in renton. all her social life is in seattle, so she couldn't really go. somebody did help her to move the rest of her bags to storage.
- Ricco himself won't go to renton either - he has too many doctors' appointments and other business in the city; he wouldn't have a way to get back, and the bus fare is prohibitive. he explained to me that other tent cities in seattle have some sponsorship regarding bus the fare, nickelsville does not.
- Darren is still in the camp and doing reasonably well, going o renton.
- Isaak is going to renton, too.
- saw ever-smiling Billy briefly and was so glad to hear his world is improving: he is second or so on the waiting list for subsidized apartment, still doing very well with his drug treatment, and even started a small business to help him buy a car. what business? washing the store/business windows on the ave, '40 bucks a pop - one wash and the second free, so today i worked the FREE end, no money', he smiled and shrugged. why don't you just charge 20 bucks each and call it a day, i asked. 'you don't understand the second wash free is what drives my business!'. clever, clever Billy: he is not just some fly-by-night, he delivers the second wash free, and that's what gets him re-hired.
- have not seen Richard.
- the camp seemed quieter than usual; some people already left?
- no goodbyes; just left the soup while the meeting was in progress and only a brief chit-chat with Ricco, who was on guard duty. he was accepted to one of the other tent cities on capitol hill; i gave him my phone number and asked to call me: perhaps i can show him how to navigate internet better, he said he sometimes has problems accessing his emails, all so confusing.
that's it. thank you and goodbye to mary the church lady and Jorge. last hug with Nova.
goodbye nickelsville. hope you are all faring well.
the very last post to be written: a letter to mayor of seattle, Greg Nickels, whose name graces the tent city, with copy to governor Gregoire, asking for humanitarian treatment of the homeless people. maybe a letter to senators and rep. Mc Dermott - asking to bring the issue of
affordable low income housing to the congress.