Thanks so much for Richard Wagamese’s recent column about Charlene (The Poor Never Label Themselves, The Daily News, March 5).
I didn’t know her, but I wish I had. I am an “old lady” of 73, with a son, husband and two grandchildren.
Whenever I am out and about — grocery shopping, walking around downtown — wherever, I always look at the people around me. I mean I look them in the eyes, and if they don’t turn away, I smile and say, “Hello, how are you?”
Some people turn away immediately, others just smile. Some say, “Hello, I’m fine, how are you?” It makes my day when someone responds in a positive way. One lady I met works at a store as a price checker.
The first time I saw her, she had her head down, looked very closed-in — almost angry. Something (or someone) made me approach her and say hello.
She is a small person, about five feet tall, and she looked up at me, and quietly said, “Hello”, and turned away.
After that, I looked for her whenever we went shopping, and eventually got her to hug me back when I hugged her. Many times, I said, “I love you,” and eventually she said, “I love you, too.”
I don’t know much about her, except that she likes to play bingo, so sometimes I ask if she’s had any winnings and if she’s won, she’ll smile and nod. I’ve introduced her to my husband, and now when he goes for groceries without me, she will ask where I am, or how I am.
I can’t explain how much joy this brings me — it just does. I always smile when I think of her. Some of my friends, and my granddaughter, tell me that I shouldn’t talk to strangers; it’s dangerous. But if we didn’t talk to strangers, we would never expand our group of friends. They don’t seem to get it. But reading Richard’s column made me feel much better about myself, and I thank him so much for that.