UPDATE: “Something About Mary!”
GREAT NEWS! Thanks to the amazing efforts of Linda Pyne-Bonia, a longtime HN reader, a GoFundMe page is now up and running, dedicated to keeping Mary in a hotel room for the time being! Linda reserved a room at a local Hyannis hotel and Mary was able to move in last evening. Thanks to the help of HN readers, Mary is currently safe and in a comfortable hotel room where she can clean up, rest, sleep on a king sized bed, and allow her legs to heal. Mary will need ongoing support. A lot of people have been asking how to help and this is a very important first step! Thank you amazing HN readers! HN has been blessed with a very special and generous audience! This crucial first step of getting Mary off the street will hopefully buy her time to hook up with the right resources so she can eventually move into a more appropriate permanent situation. In the meantime, HN will keep everyone updated on Mary’s progress.
INITIAL HN REPORT
HYANNIS – [HN NOTES] – Mary and HN had met recently when she was living on the bench in the doorway of The Egg & I Restaurant on Main Street. Mary had been sleeping on that bench as far back as early spring and we had been speaking with one another after several HN readers became concerned about her well being.
Mary says she’s 80-years-old and originally from St. Louis, Missouri where she attended an excellent Catholic university, eventually earning a degree in English. She came to the Cape in 1970 with her husband, who took a position at Cape Cod Community College. Mary also mentioned she had worked teaching English.
Mary raised two children and had a home here locally at one time. A divorce and some recent misfortunes landed her on the street in Dennis. She came to Hyannis seeking resources and shelter, and made the point of mentioning she has found the people of Hyannis “nice, kind, and generous.”
Mary described living on the steps of local businesses and mentioned she was staying at the homeless shelter on Winter Street from June 19, 2019 to March 13, 2020, when COVID-19 suddenly became a concern. Being 80-years-old, Mary says catching COVID-19 has been a serious concern for her during the past three months or so. She tells HN she left the shelter by choice because of her COVID-19 concerns.
We had a long conversation this morning when I finally found her dozing (sitting up trying to sleep on a small combination chair/walker, an endeavour she finds arduous) in front of the CVS on North Street shortly after 3:00 a.m. (her spot in front of the Egg & I is no longer available due to the bench being moved back out into the elements, apparently in preparation for reopening). Mary has an infectious laugh and engaging personality. We talked about her childhood back in Missouri and her favorite authors from the days when she studied English, something we both have in common. I also studied English at a Catholic college, and like most Catholic curriculums, the rigorous study of Chaucer, including the memorization and recitation of The Canterbury Tales in Middle English, was just one of the things we had to do… but although Mary enjoyed reading Chaucer, Shakespeare to this day is her personal favorite.
Mary has become friends with a local priest and in the daytime she says she sits inside Saint Francis Xavier Church, often praying, but often just trying to rest. She said she carries her rosary beads with her everywhere, another thing we both have in common.
Mary mentioned she is suffering from sleep deprivation and painful infections on both her lower legs. She really needs shelter and a decent bed to sleep on, but remains fearful of the Coronavirus, along with other concerns… She was not happy living in a dormitory setting. Mary also says she doesn’t drink or do drugs and is not comfortable around people who do… She’s very independent and otherwise very healthy. Mary has entrusted me with her phone number and should anyone have the means to help her find an appropriate place to live, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
UPDATE ON MARY – June 20, 2020
Mary’s phone was not working last night but after a thorough search I finally located her sleeping on a bench in the Main Street area. She was sound asleep so I let her rest. When she woke up later in the morning we talked about somehow possibly getting her off the street sooner than later… and into a program that provides temporary hotel rooms until she can get something more permanent. An outreach worker contacted me yesterday and hopefully Mary is able to be placed in a hotel room as soon as possible…
… but we shall see.
Mary told me she was in a lot of pain last evening from the infections on both her shins, which appeared to be getting worse. Initially a little hesitant because of her COVID-19 fears, Mary agreed it best that I call my friends at the Hyannis Fire Department to come over and take her down to Cape Cod Hospital. (I assured her that the EMTs at Hyannis Fire are the best in the business and the nicest guys in the world – which is not an exaggeration – and that their ambulances are immaculate and COVID patients are taken in a special isolation ambulance which is separate from the one she would be riding in.) I think she was relieved to be finally being cared for and hopefully she gets well soon.
It is also my hope that there are people at the hospital who could steer her in the right direction. I don’t have any contacts but I’m told there are resources available for the elderly homeless within CCH. I hope that is so and if anyone has connections please feel free to let them or myself know so we can get the ball rolling for Mary. She has been on the street, sleeping in doorways and park benches for the over the past 3 months. She’s 80-years-old and this should never have gone on this long…
Mary has my phone number and said she will try to get to a phone and let me know where she is tonight in case her phone is not working again.
Please keep Mary in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.
P.S. – Today’s Hytown Vignette music is brought to you by the Ray Bryant Trio… [CLICK IT/CRANK IT!]