December 20, 2016 Slideshows » News

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The things they carry 

Homeless locals share their most prized possessions
Sean Cayton
Daniel Vasquez, 28, homeless since 2009
Sean Cayton
"People take care of me here and there, but I'm walking around and I can't remember stuff because I got TBI," he says.
Sean Cayton
1) "Flashlight — "You've got to have a flashlight." 2) Toothbrush. 3) "Medicine." Daniel's pills are presorted and sealed into packaging that looks like a flimsy ice tray. Presumably, this is to make it easier for him to remember his pills. "What I do now is every day I take a punch of the meds." 4) Scarf and wool jacket. The scarf isn't just for his neck, "The face gets cold," he explains.
Sean Cayton
Stacey Barnett, 40, homeless since December 2015
Sean Cayton
Stacy's silver heart necklace, very precious to her, is a gift from her boyfriend, Randy.
Sean Cayton
1) Hat and gloves. 2) Important documents, like SSI forms and identification. "I never know who I'm going to run into and if I'll need my paperwork, so I carry it with me," Stacey says. 3) Cell phones. 4) Headphones. "I listen to music from my phone."
Sean Cayton
Donald Carrothers, 57, homeless for three years
Sean Cayton
"I'm here [homeless] because I tried to save my mother's life. That's it," he says.
Sean Cayton
1) Chess set: This is the only personal item Donald wishes to share. "My dad used to play," he says fondly, "and I played him every day while he was living. I never did beat him, but I did draw him once." Donald says his nickname used to be "have chess will travel" because he took it everywhere and challenged everyone he met. He now plays folks at Penrose Library and the park. "It helps to keep my mind focused."
Sean Cayton
Don Batey, 65, homeless since 2013, off and on
Sean Cayton
From Don's "about the author" listing on Amazon: "Born to an uneducated, poor family. Before and after school working in the fields doing irrigation work. Married three times, divorce the first time, death the second and blessed enough to meet the woman of my dreams the third time around. [Since divorced.] Working in various jobs as I traveled through adulthood, and finding little satisfaction through the process. Although I dabbled in poetry in my twenties, it was not at that time anything I considered a career. Now in my late fifties I have discovered that poetry was what I should have devoted more time with and finding it worthy of sharing with other people."
Sean Cayton
1) Pages of poetry, stuffed into a large, worn plastic envelope. 2) A weathered copy of his 66-page, 2011 poetry book, I Forgot My Pants.
Sean Cayton
Glyness Williams, 45, homeless on and off for 10 years
Sean Cayton
"I was married and had three kids. I worked mostly customer service and cleaning. I was getting ready to buy a house," she says.
Sean Cayton
1) Spare clothing. 2) A pair of shoes. 3) Toothpaste and a toothbrush. 4) A backpack. All items were just obtained at Marian House.
Sean Cayton
Adam Hooper, 40, Homeless two weeks, this time around
Sean Cayton
"I'm going to work on Adam," he says, tapping his forehead. "I take great pride in that now."
Sean Cayton
1) Pink scarf and gloves. "The pink messes people up," Adam says with a laugh. He started wearing pink a while back, when he was trying to get back to Colorado to see his son. He told a man he'd do anything to get up here. The man said he'd give him $350 if he wore a pair of tight women's pants and a pink shirt for a week — everywhere he went — without explaining it to anyone. He did, and that's how he got "a free trip to Colorado, man." 2) Snacks, phone, medicine, gloves, razor, toothbrush. The contents of Adam's bag speak to simplicity. He's purged a lot of sentimentality.
Sean Cayton
Wayne Turner, 49, homeless three different times, most recently since April 2013
Sean Cayton
"We're like a family around here [homeless people]. We try to help each other."
Sean Cayton
1) "I found those [pair of eyeglasses with one lens] in a dumpster and I tried them and they worked for me." 2) Hand-written cardboard sign that says, "Hungry Anything Helps." "I started feeling guilty, so I stop [panhandling] at $10 or $15," Wayne says. "I don't want to be greedy." 3) Pair of socks. 4) Cassette recorder with an earpiece. "Music is what's saving me," he says.
Sean Cayton
Charles (aka "Rodney Dangerfield"), 57, homeless on-and-off for 15 years
Sean Cayton
Even though he flies solo, Rodney seems far from alone, saying hello to other Marian House clients left and right.
Sean Cayton
1) Two water bottles. "The most important, because you can't go getting dehydrated out here." 2) An inhaler and a pack of cigarettes. "Essential," he says, of the latter. 3) Two flashlights. "In case one conks, you know," though he's got spare batteries too. 4) A small first aid kit lets him take care of the minor stuff on his own. 5) Sewing kit for field repairs like a fraying red shoelace he fixed last week, but has yet to put back on his shoe. 6) Hand sanitizer and lotion for cleanliness and comfort. "You can tell who lives out here," he says with a laugh, "from their fingernails." 7) Set of dice and homemade Yahtzee board (a marked-up piece of well-used paper). 8) Walkman with headphones. "It cost $40 so you know it sounds good," he says. Preferred music? "Classic rock. All the classics." 9) Q-tips. "For when I need 'em, you know, gotta keep those ears clean."
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Sean Cayton
Daniel Vasquez, 28, homeless since 2009
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