Hard Working Vendor Joins Wife
We have had to put the Grapevine on hold while we fund raise, and get our own house in order. Arthur Price Sr. was a vendor of the Grapevine for years outside of the West Side Market. He saw many in his family die of cancer including his own mother. He wanted to stay busy so he started selling the paper in his 70s. I guess that he saw a number of relatives retire, and then pass on quickly. Arthur was determined to stay active, and sold the Grapevine through his latest illness in 2009. He passed away last week and his memorial service was Saturday.
Arthur was a stern and gruff old guy similar to many men born in the 1920s. He was hard on many people, but he was a good salesman. He loved working for the Grapevine, and he told me every few weeks that the Grapevine saved his life. He said that it forced him to get up and go outside. He had a purpose and that was to sell papers. He loved meeting people at the Market and loved interacting with the other vendors, the customers, and the WSM workers. Behind his rough exterior, the one soft spot was for his wife. Just as Bernadette Janes described in the 2006 article in the Homeless Grapevine newspaper, Arthur loved his wife, Clarabelle. She passed away in January, and this made it difficult for Arthur. He had moved to hospice care, and could not move around for the last four months.
The family asked the Chaplin from the Hospice Care Center to conduct the service. This was unusual since she had only four months of interaction with Arthur to pull together the ceremony. It worked really well in that she was not deeply emotionally attached to Mr. Price, and had sat with him and talked about what he wanted in the service. So she presented the facts that Arthur wanted to pass on to all of us. She talked about the Grapevine, his family and the love for his wife. She thanked the people that Arthur wanted thanked, and she mentioned that there were a few fragile people within the family that Arthur wanted to make sure were taken care of. The Chaplin was clear that Arthur had joined his wife, and was at peace at this point. It was a very nice service that Cathy, one of our other vendors, attended on behalf of the Homeless Grapevine.
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