Monday, October 26, 2009

R.I.P. Bonnie

I saw my neighbor Bonnie carted away with an oxygen tank in an ambulance this weekend out my window and an anonymous poster here on Nohodome told me she died this weekend. Anonymous said...Sad news in the hood.... Heard today that Bonnie passed away. She was a tough old gal and a good heart. October 26, 2009 4:39 PM. Bonnie, like Timmy Young, was a downtown fixture. She seemed to have worked out barter arrangements with assorted restaurants, bars, and stores whereby she would sweep in front of the store in exchange for a meal or a drink. When she drank, sometimes I would hear her wailing in the night from her apartment across Market Street from me. "Why God Why Me!!!" I heard once. I don't know how she paid for the apartment. Bonnie DiCarlo (different Bonnie) who used to work at the antique store told me she had money but chose to live the way she did. "She has a daughter." To the casual observer, she was a "shopping cart lady" rounding up bottles and cans. She worked hard, and I always respected her, especially contrasted with the guys under the bridge that sit on the sidewalk and beg daily. "Brutha spare change?" 365 days a year. Morning and night. Bonnie was enterprising. She was hellbent on sweeping up the town. I saw her cleaning along the curbs, sweeping up gravel and dirt that didn't really need to be swept up. I didn't know Bonnie but she is another in the long line of people who have carved out an existence on the edges of downtown Northampton, recognized by all, known by none.

4 comments:

oschene said...

Sometimes, my buddies and I sit and yack about all the downtown characters who have disappeared over the years: Suntan Man; the John Denver Guy, the one who was always painting his bicycle; Humphrey with his gold-topped cane; the Vet Who Sketches (he's in Holyoke, now); Leotard Guy (once a joke-writer for famous comedians); and of course, Lawrence Barnes. The town changes, every time we lose one, but we're not always aware of it when it happens. It's only later.

Thanks for the write-up on Bonnie DiCarlo -- she was someone I knew and never spoke with, more than a word or two here and there. You have said it well.

Mary E.Carey said...

Nice piece, Jim and it's so good that you have photos.

Jeanne said...

Nice tribute to Bonnie. I was familiar with a number of the Nono regulars and it's sad to see them passing. So very true as oschene says the town changes every time. I feel it each time I'm downtown, the characters aren't the same. Sad.

hodges said...

this is for u bonnie!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8dPGTr2o-o