Andrew tends to hold down the corner of 50th and Roosevelt, just a tad west of the University of Washington.
After things began to go badly in Poland after the heady Solidarity days, Andrew came to the states.
He is 62, from a little village about 30 clicks south of Kraków, home of Karol Wojtyła and other notables.
As you can see from Andrew’s sign, he has a few challenges.
He has spent years in the “foodservice industry,” working in various positions here and in N.Y. (that industry has the two lowest wages, and fewest benefits, of all jobs in the USA).
His arthritis has crippled him to the point where he can’t hold down a job that requires much body movement.
In addition to that, he has prostate cancer requiring relatively constant medical attention. He is being seen by doctors at Swedish Medical though his insurance covers only 30% of his costs.
He’s been on the streets for the last seven months, scratching out enough to pay some of his med bills in addition to his one-room apt, food, etc.
Andrew and I talked about Poland, Elie Wiesel, Szweykowski, Grabski, and Walesa’s time at the Lenin Shipyards, where he raised so much hell-we talked about Auschwitz and Buna and the people who survived it.
We talked about the insanity of it all.
We talked about standing on a street corner, hoping the next driver would reach out a helping hand.
I offer this mini-story, as “these people” are people who deserve our support in any way we can deliver it.
They are us in other clothing-
They don’t deserve to be put through hoops any more than anyone who is not carrying such challenges.
For those that have not spent much time around people on the streets, you may find you enjoy the reality of your conversations.
“Atreus’s View from a Tent”’ is a narrative revealing the complexity of living in a tent city and Atreus’s particular insights and transition out of living on the streets of Seattle.
Available on Amazon.