Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saw Linda

After Mike filled my pantry, I went to Phil's church on Saturday, the 27th of August. I did not know we needed to get a ticket. When I arrived I was told they were no longer giving out tickets; to wait at end of line and if they had anything left we (others who did not know they needed tickets) might get some food. The line was real long, and very slow moving. Lines at the Samoan church where I used to volunteer moved much faster. I kept checking the time, thinking to just forget about it as did some others like me.

Glad I waited. Got a lot of the same things Mike gave me (rice, noodles, canned goods) but also got a case of Yoplait yogurt, fresh vegetables, huge sweet red onions, nectarines and a dozen eggs. I like yogurt, but not strawberry flavored stuff ~ this was strawberry/banana swirl. Usually stuff like that ~ yogurt, puddings and such ~ with banana flavor is not very tasty. Rather like baby food strained bananas. Strawberries made the roof of my mouth itch as a child, so I spent a lifetime shunning them.

Yet it was free, and I forced self to eat it. Mostly I would use the yogurt cups as a dip for pretzels. I froze a good lot of them. I gave a bunch of them, some frozen, some not to a homeless guy. He used to live in one of the boarded up buildings next to the plot next to my building. Owners are fixing up the place, and he has moved on. He may be living with a lady I often saw walking through the alley. They were pushing a store shopping cart along the alley, rummaging through dumpsters and recycle bins looking for aluminum cans or plastic bottles when I asked if they wanted the yogurt.

Anyway I saw Linda at the food bank that day. The day I volunteered she was there also. She said "Hello Mary", right away and I was mortified. For the life of me I could not remember her name. After a bit, I did recall her husband and asked "How's Fred doing?". Later still someone was talking to Linda and a young woman, over my head, sort of. I thought she said "Verbena". After the conversation, I asked the young lady if her name was Verbena.

"No", Linda said, "her name is (whatever, maybe Lisa), she was talking to me, my name is Lavina. Linda is my middle name." Bingo. Linda, how could I ever forget it. Met her and Fred at New Image Shelter in L.A. They befriended me. Later they hung out in Long Beach. Or went to Orange County shelters. I saw her when I arrived back in Long Beach in 2006. I did not forget her name. I saw her in passing now and then since then and never, ever forgot her name.


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