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Ray | by Paul Zollo
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Ray

He approached me from across

Vine Street at that celebrated

intersection of Hollywood & Vine

(see the fine book "Hollywood Remembered,"

by some guy named Zollo, for explanation

of this phenomenon).

 

He was very diminutive, kind of hunched over,

and with only one eye. When he crossed the

street, I asked him if I could take his photo,

and he was happy to give me this

opportunity to capture the beauty and

sadness and street wisdom of his special face.

 

He told me he was doing okay, though he'd

been living on the streets for years. He said,

pointing to his missing eye, that "this was the hardest

part." I asked how he lost it, and he said he was

in a car accident many years ago. He was sitting

parked in his car, and another car came out of

nowhere and slammed into him, and his eye

got punctured, as so did his brain.

 

He was in the hospital for many months. If it

was a brain injury, it must have been extremely

serious, though he talked about it like talking

about a broken leg. He said he won a settlement

of $50,000 but after medical and legal expenses,

ended up with about 15 grand.

 

They fit him with a glass eye, he said,

but not so long ago his body rejected it.

 

Despite this, amazingly, and despite the

fact that he is homeless, he was quite cheerful,

talkative, warm, and amiable. He told me he had

a good friend named Paul, and I told him

my grandfather's name was Ray, which it was -

had he not come to America from Poland

at the dawning of the previous

century, i wouldn't be here on

hollywood & vine today, talking

to this one-eyed man.

 

I took several

photos, which he happily posed for, and we

agreed to meet up again. I hope

it happens.

And i know

that in hollywood,

everything that happens,

happens here.

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Taken on November 10, 2006