Denver Direct: Walkabout – January 1, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Walkabout – January 1, 2013

by Gerald Trumbule
I was determined to focus on upbeat topics as I walked my neighborhood on the first day of the new year. But that was not to be. I stopped to chat with a woman who has become a neighborhood fixture at the corner of 17th and Josephine.

Her name is Joanne. She made it clear that she is not panhandling or begging. She is selling copies of the Denver Voice, our local “homeless” newspaper. Have you ever purchased a copy? It’s not only well written and produced, but it provides a means for street people to earn $1.50 for every $2.00 copy they sell. Joanne is a vendor, and has a vendor’s license to prove it. She’s been on this corner for the past 5 years.
She spent her working life as a registered nurse. Now she is dependent on her monthly Social Security check to get by and she supplements that with her sales of the Voice.
She has a car which she parks nearby because she can hardly walk. This, she says, causes some people who make the connection to yell at her as they drive by, questioning why someone who owns a car is on the street asking for money. She says she would like to park further away, but cannot walk even that short distance. She can’t even walk the line of cars to get the money people hold out of their car windows when the light is red, and must sit very close to the curb so they can put it in her hand.
She says the police do not hassle her, in fact they look out for her. She’s very concerned with obeying all of the rules, and explained that her shopping basket must have a least one wheel on the sidewalk, so as to avoid the charge of soliciting in a park. She added that she does not drink or smoke, and I could see that at heart she is a very proud, respectable woman.
She was embarrassed to have her picture taken but agreed when I told her about this blog and my intention to help, if I could, by letting people know that she is a newspaper vendor, not a panhandler.
Next time you go by 17th and Josephine and you see Joanne, buy a copy of the Denver Voice.