my homeless friends, Jeanie and Scorpio
Nashville J wrote re yesterday’s the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly hidden in plain view in Key West, Birmingham, Alabama and beyond post:
Sloan: It just gets better, NOW, we have movie reviews also – shouldn’t be long until you put the CITIZEN out of business! Thanks, J
From time to time I review movies and books. The one today, “Man Facing Southeast”, is one of my all time favorite films, even though it is in Spanish and the English is dubbed in. I learned from Erika Biddle just a little while ago that Soundings in “Solares Hill” did mention somewhat Hidden In Plain View in conjunction with mention of Erika receiving an award from the city, along with other Key West people, for their contributions toward increasing the city’s recycling rate. That was in the December 2 edition, which I am unable to retrieve online and reproduce because it is too far back in time for that. It was not a review of the exhibition, however, which is what was needed. However, today Erika forwarded me via Facebook this opening night video documentary made by a fellow, which she only just recently received from him. Let me know if you can open the link and watch it. It’s quite good.
Erika let me know if this works for you and i’ll make a DVD
Hidden in Plain View
Opening night of a stirring and poignant exhibit addressing homelessness in the ‘Southernmost City’ Key West Florida
Thanks Sloan – that was a good video and appreciate your sharing it.
I probably would drop dead from shock to have more readers than The Citizen. I figure maybe 200-300 people read my daily ravings. Not always the same 200-300. It ain’t the sort of stuff most people care to read, and certainly not the sort of stuff people would pay to read.
The last on that page is an auto-biography from Lance B., one of the homeless men featured in the black and white photos in the Hidden In Plain View exhibition. Just one example of how someone ended up living on the street.
I had lunch with Lance yesterday in Marathon, where he lives on a boat in Boot Key Harbor. He said while he was at the Hidden In Plain View opening, he had a vision of somehow being involved in, not for profit to him, a similar to AA and NA recovery program, but for homeless people who were off drugs, whom he would teach how to fix things, such as bicycles, appliances, motors, etc., so they could become self-sufficient by fixing things for pay, the way he became self-sufficient by fixing things for pay. Lance said he is really good at fixing things. He said he also wants to see a residential community shelter run by recovering homeless people. I said the fixing-things part of the vision might really appeal to Key West Mayor Craig Cates, who is moving toward opening a bigger, more comprehensive homeless shelter on Stock Island, but as far as I know, how to get homeless people back to self-sufficiency, especially chronic homeless people, whom I call street people, has not been figured out. I told Lance he needs to approach our new Sheriff Rick Ramsay about his fixing-things vision, because I know Rick very much would like to stop housing homeless people in his jail on Stock Island. I said maybe Rick would let the fix-it shop be located in the open space beneath the jail, and maybe Rick would donate the many bicycles the sheriff department ends up with, to be fixed and sold to the public. The jail is not all that far from where Mayor Cates wants to put the new homeless shelter. Or, perhaps the fix-it shop could be located at the new shelter. I said the person to contact in Marathon about a fixing-things and a homeless recovery community shelter vision happening there is Rick’s father, Dick Ramsay, a Marathon City Councilman. I said I know all three men and to tell them I sent him to them, to explain his vision. I offered to go with him, if he wanted somebody to hold his hand. Lance said he didn’t need anyone to hold his hand, he had no problem going to those three men about his vision. I said maybe I would feel moved to tag along anyway, and could I write about this today? Lance thanked me for asking and said yes, I could write about it. I gave him a business card for www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com, when he said he has a computer and knows how to use the Internet. Something else I really like about Lance is he said he views the 12 Steps being run by God on Lance as the true road to addiction and homeless recovery, as opposed to the way most people today use the 12 steps and AA and NA.
The idea came to me again yesterday that maybe the book about homelessness and homeless people, which Gloria Reiser feels the Spirit wants me to write, started being written organically when I first wrote about Erika Biddle approaching me about participating in Hidden In Plain View. With that in mind, I opened www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com and entered “Hidden In Plain View” in the “search” block in the right-hand menu, and several pages of posts in LIFO (last in, first out) order came up. I copied each page of posts, which took my MSN/Hotmail word processor a while, and pasted them in the same LIFO order into a new email, which nearly choked the word processor. Then, I wrote an Introduction to kick it all off. Then, I tried to paste all of it into a new page at the website, and the new page only received one of the several pages of posts. At that point, I gave up until I realized how the book can be read by doing what I did to open the relevant posts. I figured if a publisher wants it, the publisher has computer/internet pros and the software and word processors to reformat it into a conventional book, so to speak.
I copied this from the right-hand menu of the www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com homepage, which shows the two oldest and the two newest months’ archives and the search block where I typed in Hidden In Plain View and clicked enter and brought up all the posts about Hidden In Plain View, which also address unconventional homelessness issues and homeless people hidden in plain view:
So for now, people interested can read this new book backwards in time, or they can go to the end, which they might be in the habit of doing anyway when they read a book, and read it back to front, or bottom to top, depending on how it lays out for them. It’s basically a journal, it is not word or grammar perfect, I sometimes use profanity. And remember, I am peculiar and do not necessarily view homelessness and homeless people in a conventional way. And yes, I have been homeless in the conventional sense. I have lived on the street. So I know homelessness and homeless people in that way, too.
Sloan Bashinsky, B.A. Economics, Vanderbilt University; J.D., L.L.M., in tax law, University of Alabama School of Law, and other dubious conventional credentials
Bill Featheringill was a fraternity brother of ours (KA) at Vanderbilt and he was a brilliant engineering student on an NROTC scholarship. He died this morning unexpectedly of what I assume was either a myocardia infarction or possible pulmonary embolism. Carolyn, his wife, was with him when he complained of problems and he died at the hospital. However, Bill was a man of great character and larger than life in his physical appearance and more importantly in his accomplishments in the Navy and then in business. He was one of the most generous people I know, especially to our alma mater, Vanderbilt, which he loved probably more than me (and that is a lot). He served on the VU board of trust and gave them millions to build an engineering hall that bears his name. Feather as we called him and Carolyn were good friends and our prayers go out to her and to the entire family and all of his many friends who will miss him immensely, especially his partner in work, Bill Acker.
I felt odd after reading that memorial. Odd that Feather, as many called Bill, had been so devoted to Vanderbilt. I recalled a fraternity reunion I attended with my second wife in 1974, and conversations with two brothers from my class – 1965.
Bill Lebo, who had been a Vandy cheerleader and had gone on to Vandy law school and had tried to be a Wallstreet lawyer and now was in-house counsel for a corporation in Memphis, as I recall, after hearing some of my moaning and groaning about the practice of law, looked me dead in the eye and said to the table where we were eating on the patio in the side yard beside the fraternity house, “Sloan is a real lawyer.”
Not long afterward, Paul Kuhn, who had been our fraternity’s Number One (President) his senior year and had gone on to make his fortune in investment advising and who now attends annual NORML (legalize marijuana) conferences in Key West, and I talked across the table about how going to college had not prepared us for life in the least.
Lance B. and I talked about stuff yesterday, which I seriously doubt I’d ever talk about with anyone I knew at Vanderbilt, including my first wife, whom I met there. She was from Memphis. We were married July 4, 1965, after my junior year at Vandy, which was her sophomore year. I suppose we assumed the rest of life would be as idyllic as our lives at Vanderbilt and the KA House. We learned otherwise, in spades.
Life University, 1942 –