Monday, October 08, 2007

Our Best-Known Street Person Has Passed On

He walked the streets forever, dressed in a heavy overcoat and carrying two shopping bags. You approached him, if you did, from upwind. Depending on whether or not he had taken his meds that day, he could be an amazing commentator on many subjects, or just a nasty and crazy old man. Most people avoided him.

He was Charlie Weiss and he was Wilkes-Barre’s premier street person for many years.

As with anybody whose real story is unknown, the rumors floated around just as Charlie floated around, haunting this part of the city, then that part, later another part. He was very rich, he had loads of money in the lining of his coat, his rich family supported him, his parents divorced and that sent him over the edge, and so on.

My guess is nobody knows and them that does know ain’t talking. Mark Twain, or someone, said everyone is like the moon and has a dark side they never reveal to others. So it will be with Charlie Weiss. How he became the person he was is, really, not our business but he remains as fascinating as a train wreck. The rumors are probably just rumors, “facts” made up in the absence of reality, stories passed on as a sort of faulty oral history.

The best our city could do was tolerate him. I doubt he ever did a day in the city jail; the police were good to him, the donut shop put up with him. He lived life as he wished. Now he has a fine coat, all the donuts he wants and an eternity of friends. RIP, Charlie.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We knew Charlie-he had a crush on one of the Assistant Center Directors. Charlie liked the finer things in life- when we offerd him a really nice winter coat- he told us,it wasn't cashmere thank you very much thats all he wore. He definately was his own man, and I am sorry to hear he's gone.

October 09, 2007 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your observations bring a joy (or sometimes a tear) to my day. Keep up the good work.

October 09, 2007 11:40 AM  

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