2007 Mary Franklin - Dallas, Texas
Words of Women 2007 Essay of the Year
Oak Lawn is blessed and so am I, by an urban legend. Her name is Lucille but to the community she is known as Crazy Mary. She walks swiftly, rambling on relentlessly. Mary is there before the sun comes up. I see her having great conversations with no one I see her looking for a cigarette, and keeping an eye on the garbage. Is that cup full of something to drink? Is there food in there? This all happens so fast. She occupies my mind I wonder where she sleeps. She has semi clean clothes most of the time. In the winter, I have seen her wrapped in a blanket, a burlap bag or a tablecloth as a cape. She is disheveled. Her hair is nappy her black skin is ashen. She looks dusty, maybe she is. She will lay down for a few minutes on the bench or sidewalk. She will sit and rub her feet just for a minute. Then off on the relentless search for her survival. She shows us a not so pretty part of life. The basic instinct for survival is her driving force.
She shows me the fear that we all have, it could be me. That part I want to run away from. That part I cannot understand. She is out of control in my world and seems fine in hers. That is why we give her money, cigarettes and food to stay at arms length. She can be violent so care has to be taken. Regularly she gets picked up taken to Terrell. She gets her meds straightened out and she is released. Its not that she fell through the cracks of a system, it more that she has her own system. The first time she came up missing we all worried and wondered. Someone said a woman had been found by the creek dead. My heart was heavy. We had no way of knowing if she was alive or dead. I had known a man who had AIDS who lived on the street. He was killed one night for his backpack down by Turtle Creek. About two months later, along came Mary. Doing her life not missing a beat. Great joy was in the community except a few store owners. We were happy. She is that dark side of the back of my mind, and sometimes joy of the day. She shifts the consciousness of a community. She unifies with a common thread. We get to care. Sometimes simple acts are all that is needed.
Mary Franklin, WiseWoman - Dallas, Texas