These flowers appeared in one of the spaces Raymond used to sleep, the stairwell of the Stockton Tunnel. Raymond was an Inuit man in his forties, from Barrow, AK; That lived sometimes in my neighborhood, sometimes at a homeless shelter. He was an incredible fellow that I slowly became friends with over the course of the 4 years that I’d been talking with him.
He left quite an impression on many people, and often “hung out,” next to the mailbox by the Tunnel Top Bar – Bush St, SF. For weeks after Raymond’s passing, there would be food, candles, small bags and things left in the neighborhood places where he frequented. He was certainly a well liked man, and certainly easy to overlook based on his appearance, that of a homeless alcoholic. If you’ve been living here long enough though, you know that this city provides angels, messages, and friends in the most delightfully varied of ways. My life is certainly enriched for knowing him.
If you’ve been wondering where he is on the off chance you’re one of the people that also knew him, Raymond crossed over to the other side in mid April 2008. In the last few months leading up to his passing, you’ll be happy to know that Raymond – was healthy, happy, and more lucid than I’ve ever known him to be. He’d made peace with himself, and given up his alcoholism.
The most important thing Raymond taught me was the importance of family. =]
Ray Ray, you’ll be missed. Hi !
[Photo taken with an Apple iPhone, and darkroom done digitally in Aperture.]