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issue 25

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Table of Contents The Art of Healing Art 4

Love and Loss: Surviving the Holocaust Feature 8

Cogs Against the Machine Short Story 12

By the Numbers: Women in Oklahoma

TO THE COMMUNITIES WE SERVE

Statistics 14

Employment Cards

W W W. B A N C F I R S T. C O M

Outreach 17

At the Movies with Marcos Film 20

Meet Darnesha

Contact Director: ranya@thecurbsidechronicle.org Vendor Coordinator: marty@thecurbsidechronicle.org Media: kcrocker@homelessalliance.org

Vendor Highlight 24

Hoboscope Fun 29

cover design by Chazzi Davis, Curbside Chronicle vendor layout by Whitley O’Connor

1724 NW 4th St. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106 405-415-8425

Find Us Online www.thecurbsidechronicle.org facebook.com/CurbsideOKC twitter.com/CurbsideOKC instagram.com/CurbsideOKC The Curbside Chronicle is a program of the Homeless Alliance


THE ART OF HEALING compiled by Marty Peercy photos by Chazzi Davis, Curbside Vendor

Orchid Blue

One of the most challenging aspects of living with mental illness is the isolation. Curbside Chronicle vendor and photographer, Chazzi Davis, uses photography to counteract that loneliness and as motivation to live a fuller life. Here, he talks about his mental health, therapeutic photography, and the importance of making something beautiful out of his experiences. How did you photography?

get

into

I went through a period where I couldn’t leave the house, I was so depressed. I went to counseling and the guy said, “You need to find something you can do, walk out your front door and just go do.” And so, I started taking pictures. It was just such a release to do that. Dealing with bipolar, the worst part is when you have anxiety and you can’t get out of your anxiety – it just won’t go away. Then having something to do, it just helps. It helped me get to the point where I could get out of the house. It was like a therapy for myself to get out and do it. How long have you been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder? Well, I didn’t know I had it at first. I used to work and have a house, and a 4

nice car and a nice truck, and a wife and a dog and kids. Over a six-month period, something hit me, and I just couldn’t function. I could not get up and go. And I couldn’t see what was happening to me. And it ended up where I lost everything. How long ago was this? Twenty years. It happened in 1999. But the loss was so traumatic that I haven’t ever really recovered. It’s just

like, I go up and down and up and down. But I have realized: You become self-aware after so long. And I think what hurt me was, the people who loved me could not understand what was happening to me. Here’s this successful guy that goes ‘plop.’ And they had no clue. It took me five years to accept being bipolar. It was like, “I wanna be normal, I wanna be normal.” Now, I connect with it. I accept I’m not gonna be normal.

It took me five years to accept being bipolar. It was like, “I wanna be normal, I wanna be normal.” Now... I accept I’m not gonna be normal.


Mount Scott Tree

What was it like being diagnosed? I can’t explain what it’s like when you lose everything. That feeling of knowing where I used to live, and the smell of a nice car, those feelings of Christmas. All that’s not going to be my life anymore. It’s like I’m disjointed from life. Like, I’m over here and they’re over there and I can’t get back. But… When you find yourself in hell, keep on going. That’s all you can do. You don’t know what’s wrong with you. I remember saying to my wife, “I don’t know what’s wrong.” ...I regret that I put my wife and family through the things I did. I do remember her saying, “Something’s not right with you. You’re extremely stressed out.” I mean, I was in a bad mood all the time. I wish I’d listened. That’s another thing about mental illness, it’s like your ears are plugged up. At first I said, I don’t want to get on pills like Prozac and antidepressants and stuff. Going back through time, I’d listen now. Without my medicine, my mind goes a thousand miles an hour. I don’t know how to stop myself sometimes. My mom tells me now when I’m needing help. She’s awesome. If it weren’t for her, I’d have probably given up. I came out of the mental hospital homeless. She was like, why don’t we move in together? So now, I live with my mom. You said you started doing photography as way to get out of the house. How long were you cooped up, do you remember? It would be, oh, months and months. And I had my family, my kids crying, “Dad, you gotta get out of this room.” And I would go outside, but I’d go right back in. It was just depression. When your mind’s constantly going, “Your life’s over, man. You ain’t never getting out.” That’s why I love Curbside so much. I can do it on my good days. I usually wait until I have to, but that’s just the procrastinator in me. That’s

the motivator: I have to pay this bill. And it’s working out. With my mom, I’ve gone from paying the internet and the auto insurance, now I’m paying the electric bill. It saves our lives. I live in fear of us being on the streets, but Curbside helps with that because it’s something I can handle. I sell on the corner and think about where I used to work. And I feel happier here than I did up there. Because of the stress and all, I just couldn’t handle it. And I tried to fight my way through it, but couldn’t.

There’s sort of a psychedelic element to your work.

How long have you practicing photography?

I think so. If I’m in a negative place mentally, this is like a relief because I can make something happen that’s beautiful. It’s better than negative thoughts. That’s why I try to show positive images, because I’m constantly consumed by negative. Making the beautiful out of the weird.

been

It’s been two or three years. I really got into it in the last year and a half or so. My uncle moved in with us, and he had to go through cancer. That was horrible. But that was a major motivation. That’s when it really kicked in, when he died. He kept saying, “Do something with your life. It’s not over. Look at me, I’m dying. I want to trade places.” When I go out to take a picture, it comes so easy to me. I feel like I have to struggle at everything else.

When I go out to take a picture, it comes so easy to me. I feel like I have to struggle at everything else.

Well, I was raised by hippies. I like to take photography and edit it to make it look different - bring out stuff that’s a little bit abnormal. That ain’t the way it looks normally, but that’s the way it made me feel. I take the photo and then try to make it resemble how I felt when I took the picture. With experiencing bipolar, does it play into your photography?

And has the photography helped with the negative thoughts? Oh, yeah. Because instead of being a negative jerk, I’m out there like, “Let me take a picture of this weed that I’ll make beautiful!” So, my mind’s preoccupied. I’m not focused on the negative. What do you use to edit your photos? I use a simple editing website. Some of my better ones, I spend hours on them. And sometimes, I’ll just delete it because I can’t do anything with the


damn picture. But most of them, I see what it’s going to be when I take the photo. And the point is to make it look kind of abstract. I want people to ask, “What is it?” Like abstract art. I like taking everyday things and playing with their color and texture.

If I’m in a negative place mentally, this is like a relief because I can make something happen that’s beautiful.

What is your favorite part about photography? The walks. Going for walks. And when people say, “Wow!” When your family says “Wow,” you’re kinda like, “Hmm.” But when somebody who doesn’t know you says, “Wow,” you’re like, “Yeah!” That’s a good feeling, you know? I’ve always been creative, I just couldn’t find the place to do it, a place to let it out. But this just sort of dropped in my hands, and I’m glad it did. How often do you go out and do photography? A couple of times a week. Early mornings are best. What do you want people to get from your images? That everything can be beautiful, even small things that we overlook every day like weeds. You don’t see that perspective very much. I try and bring that out with my photos. I just want to keep creating stuff with it. It’s not always going to be cool, but it’s fun. It’s a way to distract myself.

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The thing about being bipolar is you dwell. Just little stuff, stupid stuff. And you have to be aware of that. What I’ve noticed about depression and anxiety is that as long as you take baby steps out of it and you’re willing to fight, you can get out of it. And photography is part of my escape. How does it feel to have experienced mental illness but to have a better handle on it now? It’s empowering to know that I can get up and work when I’m ready to. To know that Curbside’s there for me. If you go through a period where at night you’re thinking about suicide, but you can wake up in the morning and say I’m still rolling. That was a big problem for me – just keeping going. Each year that goes by, I get stronger and stronger. And hopefully one day, I’ll be able to pass it on. What are some misconceptions about mental health that you wish people knew?

Here’s something I want people to know: IQ has nothing to do with mental illness. People think, “You’re smart, you can’t be mentally ill.” But that’s not how it works. I feel like you can be sick and healthy at the same time. You can ride the roller coaster without the world ending. If I could give anything to any other person that’s bipolar, it would be that. Do you think you’ll photography for a while?

do

I think I’ll do it for the rest of my life. It’s my motivator.

You can find more of Chazzi Davis’ photography at pictorem.com under the Chazzi R. Davis collection. You can also find Chazzi selling magazines regularly at NW Expressway & Lake Hefner Parkway. Blooming in February Sun


Leon Shulkin squeezes photographer Dmitirij Leltschuk’s hand formally. Of this there is no doubt: this 93-year-old man still has strength. He hardly has any teeth left, his hearing is poor – but he is still fully there. That is important to him. Like Dmitrij, Leon Shulkin comes from Minsk in the Republic of Belarus. And he wants his story to be told – preferably at every opportunity. The story of his survival is a way to keep all the people who perished in the Holocaust alive. Sharing his story is his outlet to withstand the unbearable. He wants to tell it to as many people as possible. Leon Shulkin survived 13 concentration camps. His relatives, at least those he still has, are scattered all over the world. He now lives on the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia. “People simply don’t believe what I tell them,” he keeps saying. For if they believed it, he is convinced that there would be no more violence, no hate for people simply because they are different or belong to different ethnic groups; an issue which has recently become relevant again.

Love and Loss

Surviving the Holocaust by Birgit Müller | intro photo by Dmitrij Leltschuk old photos courtesy of Leon Shulkin

The Nazis took everything from Leon Shulkin: his family, his home, his future. Yet they couldn’t break the man from Minsk. Love saved this Holocaust survivor. He tells the story of his eventful, moving life. 8

Shulkin’s persecution was because he was Jewish. In 1923, Ljowa Shulkin (Leon’s given name) was born in Minsk. When he was a child, his mother always told him a nice – in retrospect, bitterly prophetic – anecdote about his birth. He came into the world with dark hair but with a white tuft of hair on the back of his head. The midwife was excited. “He will be the luckiest of the whole family,” she said. In the Hamburger Hotel, 93 years later, tears come to Leon Shulkin’s eyes. He really was the luckiest. For all the others, his mother, his brother, and four sisters were murdered by the Nazis. In July 1940, the Germans occupied Minsk and built a ghetto in the Northwest of the city. In 1941, Leon, his parents, and siblings were forcibly relocated. Leon’s father had returned disabled from the First World War – but this special status didn’t help him. “At least, at that time we were still all together,” says Leon. The family all lived in the Minsk ghetto. The ghetto was composed of two parts: Russian Jews lived in one part and the other part accommodated increasing numbers of deported Jews from


Germany and Czechoslovakia. Nobody was allowed to leave the ghetto without permission. Anyone who tried to do so was imprisoned ,or worse, killed – like Leon’s sister Fanya. In 1942, Leon’s father died, and a little later, Leon’s younger brother Zala was caught smuggling food into the ghetto. He was also lost. One day, the Germans arranged a purge in the ghetto. No one that worked outside the ghetto – including Leon and his sister Manya – were allowed to return to their homes in the ghetto for four days. When they were finally allowed back, the house was empty. The scrubbing brush that his mother used to wash the floor with was still in the corner. When Leon realised that his family was gone, he collapsed on the floor. At least his sisters Leeza and Manya, Semjon, and little Sonia were still there. The Jews from Minsk and the German Jews were strictly forbidden to have contact with one another. But those who were used for labour were transported from the ghetto to work by truck. That is how Leon met Friedel, who came from Eastern Friesland in northern Germany. They always smiled at each other. He sensed that she had fallen for him. Some time later, Leon was locked up because he had tried to exchange some items on the black market for food. Not only did his sisters worry about him, but also Friedel. She managed to be let in by the head officer of the camp. “Please let me stay here,” she begged him. “I want to be where Leon is.” The man was so moved by Friedel’s words that he allowed them to briefly see each other. But then she had to go. Leon and she promised each other that after the war they would meet in Friedel’s hometown. If they survived... But then everyone was deported and sent to different camps. The rest of Leon’s family was torn apart. Friedel was also deported. “I haven’t seen any

Leon finds a friend for life in the 1940s, Henry a Polish Jew. At Henry’s house in New York he was reunited with Ruth his great love.

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of them since,” says Leon in Hamburg. Even after many decades you can still sense his pain. He shows us his arm. ‘KZ’, the German abbreviation for concentration camp, is tattooed upon it. There is no number. “That only happened in Auschwitz,” he says, “I was in 13 concentration camps but never actually in Auschwitz. I probably wouldn‘t be sitting here if I had been.” How did he survive the camps, mentally and physically? “I often sung Russian songs,” he says. He did it to fight the fear and to console himself. The Polish guards loved his songs. They often gave him a crust of bread for them. But, of course, it wasn’t quite as romantic as that sounds. “They kept me alive with a minimum of food because I was good at electrics and could service German planes. We were kept alive because they needed us,” he says bitterly. “But we were often

I was in 13 concentration camps but never actually in Auschwitz. I probably wouldn‘t be sitting here if I had been.

treated worse than a dog. Although,” he corrects himself, “they loved their dogs. They treated them like people and us like animals.” While telling his story he sometimes switches from English into Russian and back again. Sometimes you don’t notice it at all because he tells the whole thing as though he is reliving it. The lines between different time periods and camps become blurred for us, but does it matter? In one camp he sits in a plane that he was expected to service, starving and exhausted, and falls asleep. He wakes up as a worker with a burner literally lit a fire under his backside. “That was really painful. I told the man that I couldn’t go on but he said he would report me for sabotage if I didn‘t continue working immediately.” Imagine that for years people were transported from camps, even from one country to another. Thousands of kilometres. Russia, Poland, Germany. In 1945, Leon Shulkin finally ended up in a camp in the Lower Bavarian town of Ganacker. There were rumors that the Russians were coming. At four o’clock in the morning the prisoners were woken up and marched out of the camp. “Quickly!” yelled the guards.


With gun barrels pressed in their backs, the apathetic prisoners were marched further. “If anyone stooped to take a drink of water from a puddle or was too slow, they got a bullet in the head.” Suddenly a new order: “Sit down!” Leon and the fellow prisoners obeyed. “This is the end, we thought,” says Leon. “We sat in a circle and said our goodbyes to one another.” But just then, they were divided into groups and supposed to run with their guards in different directions. Leon decided to flee. His Polish friend Henry was afraid. “Of what?” asked Leon. “What is the alternative?” So Henry came with him. They hid in the woods. They were afraid but also experiencing a new feeling: “The first little piece of freedom – for four years.” They could hear Jeeps from the streets. Eventually they had the courage to come out, discovering a house with a woman in the kitchen and her two children. “That could be a chance,” thought Leon. “A man would immediately report us but a woman perhaps has a heart.” They knocked. And indeed the woman immediately saw that they were prisoners and was frightened but gave them something to eat and drink. They had to continue. They came to a farmhouse. The old farmer immediately saw that they were concentration camp inmates and wanted to send them away. Meanwhile the blasts could be heard getting closer and closer. Leon persuaded the farmer to take them in: now that the Russians had come, it could well be an advantage for him if he housed a Russian and a Pole. “We’ll say you treated us well.” The farmer put them up. They got bread and milk and made a bed out of hay in the barn. The Russians came, only they weren’t Russian. They weren’t German either. They were American. Leon recognized

Ljowa (with moustache) with a group of immigrants on the way to America.

them because one of the officials was wearing hexagonal-shaped glasses. He had only seen glasses like that once: in a photo of an uncle who had immigrated to America. A Jeep stopped directly in front of the farmhouse. Leon and Henry went straight to the men and told them their story. And suddenly everything changed. “They were really friendly men; we hadn’t experienced such a thing, during our years of misery.” It was June 1945 and the war was officially over. A short time later, they learned from the farmer that in the neighboring town of Eggenfelden some Holocaust survivors had found work, supported by the US Army. Leon and Henry moved to Eggenfelden, trying to find their way back into life. They opened an electrics shop together. Henry married a survivor. They stayed in Eggenfelden until 1949. Leon played football regularly with other survivors. One day, his team

If anyone stooped to take a drink of water from a puddle or was too slow, they got a bullet in the head. 10

traveled to Frankfurt in a truck to go to a tournament. The players’ football strips were so dusty from the journey that the home-side instructed a girl to bring a brush. The girl came back and handed the brush over to Leon. They both looked at each other, gazing intently into each other’s eyes. The girl was called Ruth. That evening, the footballers headed back to Eggenfelden. Leon couldn’t stop thinking about the girl with the brush, but he had bigger worries. Stalin had signed a contract guaranteeing that all surviving Russian Jews would be received back to Russia. Leon didn’t want to go back to Minsk, he had heard horror stories: that returnees had been branded as traitors. Those accused were incarcerated and sent to Siberia, or even shot. Fearful of returning to his homeland, Leon wanted to immigrate to the USA along with Henry and his wife. To gain entry, they needed someone who could invite them. Leon still had one relative: the uncle with the hexagonal-shaped glasses who immigrated around the turn of the century. He didn’t actually know this uncle or what his name was. But, eventually, he managed to track him down. He knew nothing about his nephew but invited him anyway. Leon and Henry were on their way to America: the two friends set out on the journey in 1949.


“What is your name?” asked the irritated immigration officer, “Lover?” To him, ‘Ljowa’ sounded like the English word, ‘lover’. “It would be best to call yourself Leon,” advised his uncle. “Ljowa will only lead to misunderstandings.” Henry and his wife moved into an apartment in New York while Leon lived at the other end of the city. One weekend Henry invited his old friend over. When Henry opened the door, Leon saw a girl sitting in the room. “It was Ruth,” says Leon and smiled happily at the memory, “The girl from Frankfurt.” They quickly became a couple and married in 1950. In 1952, their daughter Diane was born, and in 1957, their son Joel came along. Leon is the only member of his birth family that survived. But he can love again. That was what saved him. A snapshot of the following 50 years: material wealth was on the up. He started working in the brassiere factory where Ruth worked as the caretaker. He worked his way up to general manager. He stayed in the USA for 32 years, becoming an American citizen. He now lives in Melbourne, Australia where his son Joel and his family live.

Ljowa who now goes by the name Leon with his wife Ruth and his son Joel.

More than two hours have passed. Leon Shulkin is a bit exhausted. And he still has a meal with family to go to. He found more survivors: Semjon’s daughter and his family survived and moved to Hamburg in 1995. “Family” says Leon Shulkin, “That means everything to me.”

I still miss them all so much. And I will not forget any of them.

Since 1960, he has travelled the world to try and find relatives. Perhaps this is his last trip to Minsk and Hamburg. Back in Melbourne he has a big house. “But now no one else lives there but me,” he says. Ruth died two years ago at the age of 84. His daughter lives in New York. “It’s empty in the house,” he says. But his son Joel and his family are there and – among others – his granddaughter Leeza. “She has the same name as my big sister – and she is as beautiful as she was,” says Leon. “I still miss them all so much. And I will not forget any of them.” Courtesy of Hinz& Kunzt / INSP.ngo


COGS AGAINST THE MACHINE by DeeDee Bonaye, Curbside Chronicle vendor

Cogs Against the Machine is a short story based on the real-life experiences of Curbside Chronicle vendor, DeeDee Bonaye, growing up in an abusive household. Names have been changed, but the story represents the personal account of Mr. Bonaye on the night he left home after an altercation with his father.

I woke up to him jumpin’ on momma again. A loud thump against the wall, followed by her dispirited voice begging, “No, John, puleeeze!” “Naw, don’t you start that ‘no John’ stuff!” My daddy’s speech was slurred, I’d imagined from drinkin’ down at the juke joint. And even though I was in my room with the covers pulled over my head, I could still see his menacing sneer and those bloodshot eyes. His breath stank of cheap liquor, too. Either McCormick’s vodka or Kentucky Deluxe, depending his budget. “You done messed up now!” He paused then, as if to allow his words enough time to soak in. “You must think I’m stupid, huh? You ... you ...” WHAP! I knew what that sound was even before she let out a wounded dog’s yelp. Sadly, I told myself to just stay out of it; that it would soon pass, and hell, if I jumped in it would do no good because she was just gonna stay with his sorry ass anyway. Nevertheless, I found myself flying outta bed and down the hall in no time. They were in the living room, over by the fireplace. She was cowering against the wall with him towering over her, his open palm just up past the point of salute. “What did I tell you! Didn’t I tell you not to be--” I tackled him before he could finish his sentence.

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We ended up on the floor with me on top. The look on his face lay somewhere between shock and childlike insecurity, turning quickly into all-out rage when he came to his senses. Baring his teeth, he reached up, cupped his hands around my throat and began tightening. So I punched him, so hard that his eyes rolled backwards while both hands released my throat and fell to the floor. All these years of inflicting terror and fear, I thought, and he’s out with one single blow. A sudden, inadvertent laugh escaped me. Nevertheless, I commenced to punching him again and again, over and over. In fact, were it not for momma, I think I could’ve ended him that night. “OH MY GOD! DEVON, STOP! YOU’RE GONNA KILL HIM! STOP!” I released his shirt’s neckline, watching his mangled face slump sideways on the floor. Shocked at the amount of blood dripping from my balled fist, I looked over at momma. She was still cowering against the wall, only now with her mouth gaped open, unbelieving. To momma, this was not normal. The beatings were, however; those she knew how to handle. She made her way over and grabbed my arm, gently helping me off of him before kneeling down herself and putting an ear to his chest. By the look of it, he was still alive. And I couldn’t tell if I was more relieved or disappointed. “Devon, you gotta get outta here,” she said, looking up at me with tears forming in her big brown eyes. “If you’re here when he wakes up, he’s gonna get his gun and kill you. You know that, don’t you?” “Where am I gonna go, momma?” Getting back to her feet, she grabbed my wrist and led me down the hall to their bedroom. After rummaging through her underwear drawer, she pulled out a roll of bills and handed them to me. “Here ... this is almost seven hundred dollars I’ve been savin’. Take it and go up to your uncle Willy’s place in Oklahoma City.” “Can you call him for me?” I asked. “No, if I call him he’ll just say no. So you just go pop up on him. That’ll leave him no choice but to let you stay ... at least until things blow over down here.” “What’ll you do, momma?” “I’ll be alright,” she said, and I believed her. The old gal had become immune to hardship by now, slowly desensitized over the years by a life filled with physical abuse, childbearing and poverty. I felt sorry for her. “Now hurry and grab all you can before he wakes up.”


DATA PROVIDED BY OKLAHOMA WOMEN’S COALITION, WOMEN’S FOUNDATION OF OKLAHOMA, INSTITUTE FOR WOMEN’S POLICY RESEARCH, BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, & U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

MARCH IS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, SO WE’RE TAKING A LOOK AT THE CURRENT STATUS OF WOMEN IN OKLAHOMA. WOMEN CONTINUE TO FACE DISPARITIES IN AREAS SUCH AS PAY, WHERE WOMEN MAKE LESS THAN THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS AT EVERY LEVEL OF EDUCATION. IN ORDER TO END THESE INEQUALITIES IN OUR STATE, WE MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM AND WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

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HELP US EMPLOY OKC’S HOMELESS The Curbside Chronicle needs your help! Cut along the black lines and keep these cards to hand out to those in need. Together, we can employ and empower OKC’s homeless!


HELP US EMPLOY OKC’S HOMELESS The Curbside Chronicle needs your help! Cut along the black lines and keep these cards to hand out to those in need. Together, we can employ and empower OKC’s homeless!


FINE, FUN, FRIENDLY FOOD AND WINE

Plaza District | 405 - 601 - 4067 | www.pritchardokc.com | open tues-sun 4pm |Â brunch sat/sun 10am

Located north of Shepherd MaLL on ViLLa


At the Movies

with Marcos

by Marcos Powell, former Curbside vendor

Marcos is a former vendor for The Curbside Chronicle. During his time with Curbside, Marcos transitioned into housing and on to further employment. In his spare time, Marcos enjoys contributing articles about his love for cinema.

There’s something psychologically satisfying about being on the edge of your seat throughout an entire movie. I love a good mystery that keeps me guessing until the very end. Not all mystery movies are clever enough to keep their secrets unrevealed until the end, but that is what separates the good from the bad. There’s nothing like thinking you’ve figured the mystery out just to be duped by a shocking turn of events. That ‘aha moment’ is what I look for in a good mystery movie, and I can assure you that the following mystery movies will keep you puzzled until the very end.

SEVEN (1995) First off, SEVEN stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey. These actors alone make it a must-see movie, not to mention it’s uniquely gruesome storyline. In SEVEN, Kevin Spacey plays a serial killer, who kills his victims according to the seven deadly sins they commit – pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. It becomes clear that the killer has gone to elaborate lengths to carry out his murderous plans, some taking over a year of planning. But the question you keep asking yourself throughout the film: Why? It’s not until a climactic ending that he reveals his true motivation. And the truth is as horrendous as it is shocking.

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THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995) When it comes to mystery movies, this is a 90’s classic. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest surprise endings in the history of film and a mustsee. After 27 men are found dead in a boat explosion, survivor Verbal Kint, played by Kevin Spacey, is left to answer police questions about the incident. Kint, a crippled conman, tells police the story of five conmen who were brought together by the mysterious criminal mastermind Keyser Soze to do his bidding. Each of the conmen has wronged Soze in some way and must participate in a payback job involving $91 million worth of drug money, leaving many questions unanswered about the crime. But the biggest question: Who actually is this Keyser Soze? The film is celebrated to have one of the best plot twists in cinematic history and won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and Kevin Spacey won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

MURDER BY DEATH (1976) A millionaire invites the five most brilliant detectives to “dinner and a murder” at his mansion. He offers a million dollars to the first detective who can solve a murder that is set to take place that night at midnight. In this wildly entertaining mystery and comedy, the detectives must race against each other to be the first to crack the case. In a parody of famous literary sleuths, this film is as silly as it is surprising. Fun fact, author Truman Capote plays the eccentric millionaire, Lionel Twain, in the film.

MEMENTO (2000) The last thing Leonard Shelby can remember is the murder of his wife. But he can’t tell you who did it or why because he suffers from short-term memory loss related to the incident. In an attempt to avenge his wife’s death, Leonard must first figure out who the murderer is. But since he can’t remember anything after 5-minutes, he has to use polaroid pictures, notes, and tattoos to keep himself constantly reminded of the progress he’s made. It is a truly unique movie and is presented in reverse chronological order, keeping the audience’s understanding of what truly happened as fractured as Leonard’s throughout the film. It’s not until the very end that the puzzle comes together.


REAR WINDOW (1954) This film is considered by many filmgoers as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best, receiving four Academy Award nominations and being ranked #42 on the American Film Institute’s top 100 American movies. Rear Window follows the story of photographer, L.B. Jefferies, who is confined to his apartment after breaking his leg. While cooped up inside, Jeffries begins noticing the bizarre activities of his neighbors through the rear window of his apartment. He begins to suspect one of his neighbors of murder. As his suspicions arise, you can’t help but feel like you’re a part of the suspense too. Since a majority of the move is shot from Jeffries’ perspective, it’s almost like you’re right alongside Jeffries spying on his neighbors. All the while, Jeffries documents his neighbors’ activities with his camera from the window of his apartment. But is he careful enough not to get caught spying? In addition to a captivating story, Rear Window stars film icons James Stewart, Raymond Burr, and Grace Kelley, who only make the story stronger with their performances. While the original film was wildly successful, it also inspired a remake featuring Christopher Reeves as L.B. Jeffries in 1998.

AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (1945) Ten people are invited to a remote island by a Mr. U. N. Own, only to find out that an unseen person is killing them one by one. But the person in suspect is always the next person to be murdered, making it difficult to discover who the mysterious murderer is. And Then There Were None is based off the mystery novel by Agatha Christie and is widely considered her best piece of work. In fact, it is the best-selling mystery novel in the world. And the movie is nothing short of brilliantly shocking.

DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954) Dial M for Murder is Alfred Hitchcock at his best! Alfred Hitchcock was the ultimate “Master of Suspense” and Dial M for Murder is a classic crime mystery movie. Fun fact, it was actually filmed with 3D technology and is often hailed as the greatest 3D film ever made. But due to the unpopularity of 3D films in the 1950s, it was converted to 2D and only a few theaters even offered the 3D version to audiences. Dial M for Murder revolves around a retired professional tennis player, Tony Wendice, played by Ray Milland and his wealthy wife, Margot, played by Grace Kelley. When he discovers his wife is having an affair, he comes up with the perfect plan to kill her and seize her fortune. But of course, the murder goes awry when his wife kills the hitman in defense and is then framed for murder. What follows is a suspenseful story of trying to hide and reveal the truth. The film inspired the remake A Perfect Murder starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Michael Douglas in 1998.

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (1974) Murder on the Orient Express is the film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s detective novel. It revolves around the famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, who finds himself traveling on the Orient Express. One of the passengers informs Detective Poirot that he has been receiving anonymous threats and asks him to act as his bodyguard. Poirot declines and the man is found dead on the train the next morning. Poirot soon discovers that the corpse was connected to a previous case, involving the kidnapping and murder of an infant girl in America years before. As Poirot begins to question his fellow passengers on the train to find the killer, he realizes that many of them have a personal connection to the previous case involving the infant. As Poirot investigates, it turns into a complex case of conflicting clues and potential motives.

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967) When an African-American detective is arrested for the murder of a prominent businessman while visiting his mother in rural Mississippi, he must first prove his innocence. Then he must join forces with the same police team that accused him of the crime to find the true murderer. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor. It stars Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger as an unlikely duo, who must overcome their prejudices and work together to solve a murder mystery. With commentary on racism in the deep south throughout the film, it is not only a riveting story, but also, an important film culturally.

CLUE (1985) Clue is a unique film in the mystery genre because it is as much of a comedy as it is a mystery. Based on the popular board game of the same name, the film revolves around six strangers who have been invited to a dinner party at a New England mansion. Upon their arrival, they learn that they are all being blackmailed by a Mr. Boddy. From there, the film quickly turns into a whodunit comedy, as the lights flicker and Mr. Boddy and several others turn up dead around the mansion. We are all left asking the question, whodunit? The best part of the movie is that it actually has three different endings – versions A, B, and C. I would definitely suggest watching each version, as they all differ and are equally entertaining. In addition to being extremely quirky, the movie has an all-star cast, including Tim Curry as Wadsworth the butler, Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum, Martin Mull as Colonel Mustard, Madeline Khan as Mrs. White, Lesley Ann Warren as Ms. Scarlet, Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock, and Michael McKean as Mr. Green.


Meet Darnesha compiled by Ranya O’Connor

Darnesha sells The Curbside Chronicle at the corner of May Ave. & Memorial Ave. near Quail Springs Mall. At a young age, Darnesha experienced the trauma of sexual abuse. By the age of thirteen, Darnesha left home to escape the pain. On the following pages, Darnesha shares her story of homelessness, motherhood, and her recent transition back into housing with The Curbside Chronicle. 24


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Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? I am 24. I moved from Houston to Oklahoma City almost three years ago. I grew up in Houston. I was really a fun, bubbly child. I have an older brother, so I’m kind of a little boy on the inside, if that makes sense. We would watch a lot of wrestling together on TV. We stayed with my mom, and we shared a room until I was about 12. He would chew on my Barbie doll feet and we’d play fight to toughen me up. I definitely look up to him as a big brother.

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You said you were raised by your mom – was your dad in the picture? My dad was here and there. My parents separated when I was 3 years old. My mom progressed into another relationship, and me and her boyfriend had some serious issues. He would fondle me. That’s when my mother and I’s relationship went down the drain. I was telling her about it and telling her I was going to report it, and she was telling me that she didn’t believe me or she wanted to record it happening to make sure. She was kind of lost in that department, so I felt like I had to make that decision for her and moved out of her house at the age of 13.

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How old were you when that started? It started when I was 12 after I had started developing. It was little things here and there, like I would go to sleep on the futon in the living room after school and he would touch my breasts under my bra. I had my eighth-grade dance and you know how you dress real nice. He was making remarks like, “you really look sexy,” and, “come on over here.” Once I woke up with my pants unbuttoned and unzipped in my bedroom. He would try and break into my room at night – I had a deadbolt lock on my bedroom door. He’d try to pick my lock; I’d sleep with a knife under my pillow. I’d wake up every few hours and just look at the door. I wasn’t getting sleep; I was failing my classes. He would punish me by taking my bedroom door off the hinges, letting me know that I didn’t have any privacy. Those were the little ways of his to maneuver his way in.

WARNING: The following article contains graphic content and personal descriptions of sexual abuse.

He would try and break into my room at night – I had a deadbolt lock on my bedroom door.


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Did his actions progress? After a year, I’d had enough. I was looking forward to her trying to do something about it and she’d just ignore it. I didn’t want to say anything because I was trying to give her a chance, and I didn’t understand the situation being 12. If I hadn’t said anything or told my grandmother and got the police involved, then I probably would’ve been raped. But I’m glad that I do have a voice. I tried to take him to court on my sixteenth birthday. It was her turn to get up to testify, and she didn’t want to get up there. The lawyer said he could get 5-10 years for what he had done to me, but he only ended up getting 5 years probation. It was a very hard process as far as our mother and daughter relationship.

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How long has your mom been with him? She’s been with him since I was 3 years old, and she’s still with him and married. She actually met him hitchhiking one day, and she’s been with him ever since he picked us up.

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You said you moved out of your mom’s home when you were 13, correct? I’ve been pillar to post since then, moving to my dad’s side of the family, then a few cousins on my moms’ side, and an uncle’s house. When I told my family, they were completely shocked. They didn’t know what they were going to do with me. I felt like I was a burden all the time, so I was very troubled as a teenager… But I made it. I graduated high school. I do have a diploma and all.

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What was high school like for you? I did get picked on a lot. I wasn’t that popular. I didn’t have the popular shoes. I wasn’t in cheerleading or dating a football player or nothing like that. I did sewing and crochet class. I just really got picked on here and there. It was my name, my hair – I’d get called nappy-headed. Sometimes I wore flooded pants. But once I graduated and started embracing my name and myself, I became cool in my own way and people accepted me more. I was still finding myself in high school, and I still am, but I’m better at it than when I was 18.

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What did you do after high school? After that, I went to Houston Community College. I wanted to get an Associates in Science, but since I didn’t make good grades in high school, I had to take remedial classes and work my way up from there. I was doing pretty good until I got pregnant. I met a man 22-years older than me. I was 19 and he was past 40. He lived across the street from my grandmother’s house. It was very embarrassing because everybody knew that we were talking, and I was meeting up with him around the corner. It was just bad as far as my mindset at that point in life.

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What drew you to him? My vulnerability. I felt like due to what happened to me as a kid, it was okay. And it confused my family about my past too. They began to wonder if I tried to come on to my mother’s boyfriend and if I’d been lying about him. That was very emotional because I was like, ‘Why would I want to be with an older man at the age of 12 years old?’ But they didn’t believe me.

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What was it like getting pregnant? I made the decision to get an abortion. It was terrible. But I knew how my grandmother would’ve looked at the situation. We were already having our own issues since I was a burden on her. I was working two jobs. I was taking classes. I really was trying to be more responsible. Everything was good until that happened. We both made the decision together. He gave me the money and took me. It was terrible. You’ve got people outside protesting; they’ve got their signs up and their kids. I felt like it was going to come back and haunt me forever. So, when I got pregnant again at 21, I decided to keep the baby. I felt bad about the first abortion. I felt like if it happened for a second time, maybe it was meant to happen. Maybe having this child would save me.


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What was it like making that decision? People have to make decisions. It may be better as far as the state paying money for a child that no one wants, as far as the child going through the system. It could have saved the child from the biggest heartache. That’s how I feel about it now. But in the beginning, I felt terrible about it. I have to start being accountable for my decisions. I’m the one who decided to keep progressing the relationship. I could’ve ended it; I could’ve stopped him. I’ve done a lot of thinking on it. In the beginning, I felt like I did what I had to do. But now that I have a child, it’s harder. I think it was meant for me to have my daughter. She was meant to open up my eyes and help me forgive myself and my family for my past.

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What’s the best part of being a mom? I love running around with her and watching her smile. Picking her up, her calling me mom. It’s like, wow, she really looks up to me. I really have to change my ways to give her the best life.

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Change your ways? I was embarrassed. I didn’t want people to know I had a child with somebody who was 22-years older than me. I was embarrassed I got myself in that situation, and I took a very long time to get myself out of it.

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He would leave me and the baby at the house for days, and I don’t know where he’s at. He had a phone but wouldn’t answer it and then he would come back home and act like he’d done nothing wrong. And then he stopped working and we struggled to stay in housing. I started seeing a pattern of having a home one day to being homeless the next. I only stayed with him as long as I did because I was terrified to be a single mother. Because I saw the struggle. I saw that your goals don’t get met when you’re a single mom – like your dreams are shattered. I didn’t want to have her and feel like that. I still wanted to accomplish my goals and dreams. Even though I have flaws, I wanted to give this girl the best life I could. I finally said I would take the risk rather than repeat my history of poor decisions.

Can you tell us about your experience with homelessness? When he would disappear with his friends, me and the baby would go to Star of Hope in Houston and we would sleep there overnight. I had this big diaper bag and you could put her inside of it. So, I made her like her own little bed out of it, and I just lay next to her on my mat in the shelter. Before I was pregnant with her, we would get into real bad fights and he would lock me out of my own apartment. I would sleep at a bus stop. I had an umbrella to cover me up, and I was just on the bench until he said I could come back in. It was really a controlling type of relationship.

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How did you finally leave him? We had moved to Oklahoma City from Houston because he had friends up here and said he could get work. We were in an apartment at this point, and I was working a security job. I didn’t have a car. On weekdays, I would catch the bus. But on weekends, I would ride my bike from SW 59th St. to NW 50th St. for work. He would go to jail and I would just be stranded at the house with the baby, unable to make my shift. He wasn’t going to work. He was using his money for things other than rent. He would leave us all the time without warning. It was really hard to find stability.

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I just couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to be homeless. I was tired of losing jobs because of him. I was tired of finding phones and stuff to pawn for money. I didn’t want to do any of it anymore. I had already left him mentally and I finally was ready to leave him physically… Right after I left him, doors started opening for me.

What doors opened? Well, I found out about Curbside. That’s actually been saving my behind. I work for a staffing agency in addition to Curbside, but they don’t use me every day. There are days I’m not needed and out of work. But luckily, I have Curbside on those days… It has helped tremendously. There are times when I get out there as early as 6AM. I am able to make a living off of it. From my own experience, I can pay my bills because of Curbside.

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How does it feel to be back in stable housing? I have a house! No more rooming houses, no more bus stops, no more shelters, I have a full home with a backyard. I feel great! I felt like I had to go through the worst things possible to get to this point. And I’m going to continue moving forward. I recently made a resume and am actively looking for more permanent work. I have a dream of becoming a registered Vet Technician.

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Why a Vet Tech? I’ve always loved animals. I would feed the stray cats when I was staying with my grandma and she would get so mad. I had a cat named Bear when I was staying with my mom. She was gold and white. I would pick her up and give her baths. She was an alley cat, but I always put stuff on her like hats and clothes. I’ve just always been drawn to animals.

I feel like I’m getting to restart my life again. And whatever it is going to be, I know it’s going to be good from here on out.


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Why a Vet Tech? I’ve always loved animals. I would feed the stray cats when I was staying with my grandma and she would get so mad. I had a cat named Bear when I was staying with my mom. She was gold and white. I would pick her up and give her baths. She was an alley cat, but I always put stuff on her like hats and clothes. I’ve just always been drawn to animals.

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What are some of your hobbies? I do like crocheting. People think I learned it from my grandma, but I actually learned it in middle school. We had a crochet club. I kinda wanna get back into that. My other hobby is gardening. I haven’t done it in a while. Now that I’ve got a house, I’m definitely looking forward to that. I like giving back to the earth. I like plants and watching them grow. I do have a sewing machine. I’ve made a quilt before and a dress. Those are a few things I do enjoy. I enjoy walks at the park to clear your mind. I want to try doing yoga. Simple things that put your mind at peace.

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How do you feel about your future? I feel like I’m in a good place. I definitely needed this time to heal. There’s always somebody out there doing worse than you. There’s always somebody out there doing better than you. But at the end of the day, everybody is running their own race at their own pace. And that’s something I had to learn. I feel like I’m getting to restart my life again. And whatever it is going to be, I know it’s going to be good from here on out.

405.473.8840

jmillercarpentry.com


Hoboscope

by The Mysterious Maggienificent

PISCES

ARIES

TAURUS

You look for meaning in everything, Pisces. I’m all about listening to intuition (I mean, I AM The Mysterious Maggienificent... it’s my job. That and I babysit my neighbor’s kids a lot, but that’s just for some extra spending money). But that doesn’t mean every little thing is a sign from above. I agree that Chick-fil-A nugget did sort of look like a microphone, but that doesn’t mean your singing career is about to take off. Trust me, your rendition of “Benny and the Jets” at O’Connells the other night was the peak of your career. Time to hang up the jersey. Maybe it’s time to explore acting.

Anonymous once said, “Impossible only means you haven’t found the solution yet.” Well, Anonymous has obviously never tried to open a brand new pair of scissors that is guarded by indestructible plastic packaging. Obviously, if you’re buying new scissors, you need some sort of cutting device, so why would Scissor Inc. package its scissors in plastic that requires scissors to open? Like you, Aries, Anonymous and scissors need to get their stuff together.

You’ll really want to put your mind to good use this month, Taurus. Put down the Snapchat, Instagram, and the other activities you waste your time on. Instead spend some time on more thought-provoking activities like watching foreign films, Mancala, or perhaps a crossword puzzle. Actually, scrap that last one. We all know crosswords are impossible. Stick to the films, maybe you’ll pick up a second language along the way. But whatever you do, don’t be like Pisces. They get tired after 20 minutes of reading subtitles and give up.

GEMINI

CANCER

LEO

You’ve been feeling really crafty, haven’t you? No, not like the Hobby Lobby sticker aisle kind of crafty. More like the “I’m going to take this random alley behind the YMCA to avoid downtown traffic” kind of crafty. These little victories will add up throughout the month. By the end of the month, you will have saved 36 minutes in traffic. Think of what you could do with all that extra time? You could watch last week’s episode of New Girl and have 12 minutes to watch cat videos on YouTube!

Mars is totally on your side this month. It’s like super red and it’s doing this thing where it’s orbiting around the sun, and it’s like realllllly..... Mars-y this month. (Quickly Googles astrological facts about Mars.) As it rises into the Eighth House near on the 30th of March, this fiery planet (the Planet of Passion) will truly live up to its name in your life. Mars will compel you to get things done and get them done quickly. (Dang, I really should just Google every horoscope. You guys would believe me so much more.)

Keep your head up, Leo. Not everything can go your way all the time. You are extremely talented, extremely attractive, and extremely charitable. Everyone loves you and is rooting for you - that should be enough. You don’t need that little gold trophy to tell you you’re awesome! (Wait, this wasn’t supposed to be a pep talk for Beyonce after the Grammys. Adele was right though, Lemonade was on fleak! Is that word still cool?) 29


Mr. Mysterio is not a licensed astrologer, an experienced gambler, or a trained dentist. To find out more check out mrmysterio.com or follow him on Twitter @mrmysterio.

VIRGO

LIBRA

SCORPIO

Virgo, when life gives you lemons, squeeze them in water. Not to make lemonade but to make this gross lemony-water mixture that’s supposed to be really good for your digestive health. If you want to make lemonade, I would suggest talking to Beyonce. (Sorry to bring Leo’s problems into your horoscope, Virgo. I’m just a big fan of Queen Bey.)

This month, you’re feeling really unappreciated, Libra. Everywhere you turn, someone else is getting love and attention. It feels like that scene in Mean Girls when they’re passing out CandyGrams to the entire class. You wait excitedly for yours while everyone else gets theirs. If Glen Coco got four (you go Glen Coco!), then you should have at least eight from your friends, right? But that’s it - bag’s empty. None for you, Gretchen Weiners. I know it stings, but don’t do anything drastic. Either your friends thought you were on a diet, or they aren’t very good friends and should be hit by a bus.

Do you believe in magic? (Are you singing that song in your head now? Good.) Well, obviously, I believe that all things are possible. Except coming out of Target without an impulse buy. Why do they have to put the candy bars right there? Anyways, let me fill you in on a magical secret: at 11pm when you get in bed, the comfort level of your bed is just like any old cot. But while you sleep, a magical spell slowly turns your bed into the most cozy substance you could imagine. I’m serious. Magic is the only possible explanation for why my bed feels like a cumulous cloud by 7:30am.

SAGITTARIUS

CAPRICORN

AQUARIUS

We all know that there are three lies we all tell: 1) No, I don’t pick my nose. 2) Who dis? New phone. 3) I have read the terms and conditions agreement. Just remember that these are the three universal lies we as humanity accept. But no more lies for you, Sagittarius. When the opportunity to lie rears its ugly head this month, just take a deep breath and tell the truth. They need to hear it, especially Libra. (Unless that cute boy from work texts you. Then a coy white lie like “who dis” is harmelss. But no one else!)

Prepare yourself, Capricorn. About three weeks from now you will find out a coworker has their significant other’s voice as their ringtone chirping, “Baby, baby pick up! It’s me! Answer your phone!” It’s going to be difficult to resist bursting out into uncontrollable laughter, but you must in order to avoid embarrassing your whipped colleague. Your cool composure in such a mortifying situation will make you look cool as a cucumber. Nothing can phase you, Capricorn. But get your giggles out now, because this will test the strongest of us.

Hey, Aquarius, you need to be a team player this month. We can’t all be Russell Westbrook - aka Brodie ,aka Mr. Triple Double, aka Mr. Reliable. We can’t all have such complimentary nicknames. Sometimes we have to be Enes Kanter and give the glory to someone else. Around the 15th, you’re going to be doing some serious defense for your team, and it’s much appreciated. Maybe pass the ball to someone who has been keeping the bench warm recently. Libra has been having a tough time recently, maybe it’s time to give them some playing time.

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The Curbside Chronicle - Issue 25  
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