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POPS

Updated: May 9

At the beginning of my first year at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC, my father had used a yellow marker to underline my bus journey planner in case I'd get lost. 'Stay on the route', he said. His instructions were not always followed and I ventured out by myself into the city..unknown, alone and very naïve. Needless to say, I ran into trouble. On 9th and F Street NW a large homeless man asked me for change. As I was reaching into my pocket he grabbed my arm, took my bagged lunch and proceeded to eat my sandwich. There was no-one else around, and I was scared. The grip on my arm was tightening when, out of nowhere, a second, older man appeared. He wore a cast on  his arm which he raised   yelling ' You take your hands off that girl unless  you wanna be answering to me!! It worked - the homeless man, still clutching my sandwich, ran away.



I then received the lecture of my life on the dangers of not using my head, talking to strangers, and wandering unaccompanied on the wrong side of town. My rescuer walked me to the bus stop and waited with me until I was safely aboard. 'I will be waiting everyday outside your school and walk you to the bus until you wise up' he told me as I got on. The name is Elzie James Dowdy but 'You can call me Pops'. This was my introduction to a long time friend from Chicago.His lectures helped me stay safe when I later went to school in Mexico where we continued to correspond in letters. When I took this picture he was 76 years old and it was America’s Bicentennial. He and I thought this would be somehow appropriate. He was a very spiritual,hard working, proud American. I love and miss Pops more then I can say....

 



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