Archive for February, 2007

Believe it or not

February 28, 2007

“Believe it or not, this woman comes up to me yesterday and says: ‘You’re just a faker.” So I showed her my official hospital bracelet and then I said to her: ‘You think this is a fake, lady?’. Then she just huffed up the road after that.”

Update on Tony after his car accident

February 27, 2007

Now what?

Feb 27 — 12 pm

1) It happened at noon yesterday at the SE corner of Lansdowne and Dundas. He was dragged 3 feet beneath the car. And he was riding his bike “home” following his court hearing (more about which later).

2) Tony’s mangled bike is being held at 14 Division. “That bike saved my ass.”

3) The scene was witnessed by several firefighters from firefighters (from 426 Division), who — incredibly — happened to be driving their truck right behind the car that hit Tony. “As far as I’m concerned, the guys from 426 are the best in the city.”

4) Tony’s left leg has very severe bruising and ligament damage (at minimum). “The pain is bad. It’s from my ass to my ankle. I’m on Tylenol 3’s and I need to get working on a place to sleep until my leg gets better. Plus I need a smoke.”

5) His out-of-pocket costs arising from the accident: $85 for the leg brace (to be paid this week); $20 for the crutches (payable today); $25 prescription (also payable today).

Tony was hit by a car yesterday

February 27, 2007

Feb 27 — 8 am

He spent 5 hours at Mount Sinai Hospital. I believe that one of his legs is broken. I fear he might have been riding his bike (Toronto streets are covered with snow and slush). I don’t know what happened at his court hearing, nor do I know where he slept last night. You’ll know more as soon as I do.

Tony’s story — Part #3

February 23, 2007

Milk wagon
TONY (written while he was in jail)
I don’t know how many people remember the old horse and milk wagon that used to go around the streets picking up empty bottles and replacing them with fresh bottles of milk. When I was about eight years old, the milkman would pay me 2 cents a bottle. Some customers would put their weekly milk payments on top of their empties on the porch; they were always people who lived in big houses and who had big money. My family had to live too, so a few bucks here and there plus my $1.50 per day helped us stay alive.

PS: Tony has a court date on Monday, Feb 26. It’s also his 58th birthday.

Believe me, when it can’t get worse, it gets better

February 20, 2007

“I’ll tell you about this schoolkid who came up the street this morning [Feb. 20]. I see him some days, but this time he’s carrying some musical instrument in a case and his face is kind of depressed.

“So I say to him: ‘What’s the problem?’ and he shows me the musical instrument case. I can tell he’s got a trombone in there and then he says to me, no joke: ‘My teacher won’t let me wear earplugs.’ So I say: ‘You can’t be that bad’ and he says ‘yup’ he certainly is.

“Anyway, I looked at him and I told him to just stick with it and that it will get better. Believe me, when it can’t get worse, it gets better.”

Tony’s story — Part #2

February 19, 2007

“I took everything I could get my hands on …”

TONY (written while he was in jail)
“See, when I was growing up [ages 5-7], we had what people call a soup line. Kids and parents were lined up for blocks and when I say blocks, I mean 10-12 blocks, literally. We had to have stamps for bread: 1/2 a stamp for a loaf and one stamp for so-called butter, which was really lard).

“Me and the crew would steal food from the navy to feed my family and crew. There was five kids in my crew: Pete (the milk man), Dave (the meat man), Jimmy (the pick pocket), Larry (the clothing man) and me, Tony. I didn’t have a specialty; I took everything I could get my hands on. If I could sell it, I took it.”


February 15, 2007

John A. MacDonald

Although Tony hasn’t yet received any money via his new bank accounts, perhaps the more interesting news is that he made his first bank deposit yesterday: $10.

He’s back

February 14, 2007

He is back

Ten pounds heavier.

A longer coat.

New glasses.

Stories galore.

Having breakfast.

The glass is greener

February 11, 2007

Veuve Cliquot

“I just hope they’ll let me out soon. You know you can get money now for your old booze bottles. They just started it. It could be a bonanza for street people.”

The good judge

February 9, 2007

Please, judge, may I have some more?

“I never told you about Judge Chamberlain. She was the best judge I ever met.

“See, when I was 13, I got sent up to the boy’s training school for 6 months because of truancy and that sort of thing. It wasn’t too bad there; I learned some stuff, and at least I didn’t have to live at home. Home was a bad mess.

“So after my 6 months was up, I got out and went before this judge, Judge Chamberlain. I asked if she could just send me back to training school since I sure didn’t want to go back home. So she sent me back to training school for 9 more months, and I got my chef’s certificate so I could cook in restaurants and cafeterias. So when I got out, I went back to her courtroom and I thanked her, right there in the courtroom. She even came down from the bench and gave me a really big hug.

“You know, there’s some pretty good judges out there.”

Update on Tony: He’s in the Don Jail for another 5 days, at least. His health is better (and he’s warm and fed), but he did seem pale and a bit low key when I visited him yesterday. There are further court dates coming up. Alice Barton, a lawyer with Derstine Penman, is helping Tony out. Tony wanted to pass along his thanks to everyone who’s expressed support.

You always remember the first time

February 6, 2007

311 Jarvis, Toronto

“What’s the first time you were arrested?”

“I got caught stealing from the candy store.”

“How old were you?”


“So what happened?”

“They took me home to my mom and she decided that I’d better learn my lesson about stealing. So they took me down to 311 Jarvis for five days.

“I can tell you, I stayed pretty clean for a while after that.”

7UP + $0.02 = domino theory (circa 1965)

February 2, 2007

7UP (circa 1951)

“I got arrested when I was 17 for taking 7UP from a 7UP truck, which was actually the second time I did it.

“I’ll tell you about the first time, which we didn’t get caught for. I was 16 and a bunch of us went up to the old 7UP factory on Christie one night. We emptied out the whole side of a 45-foot long delivery truck. So, right when we were taking the last case, the truck got so lopsided that it just kind of leaned over, right onto the truck beside it. Before you knew it, it was like a a bunch of dominoes, with our truck being the first domino.”

“What did you do with all the 7UP ?”

“We drank most of it. Other than that, we just poured it out.”

“You did this for kicks?”

“Actually, we did it mostly to get money. Back then, they would give you two cents for every bottle you returned.”

Giving money to Tony and/or to Tony’s choice of charities

February 2, 2007

On Dec 24th (see the “PS” just above reader comments), I said that bank accounts were being set up to enable you to give money:

a) to Tony personally (Account #1);


b) to Canadian Registered Charities, as selected by Tony (Account #2).

Two further notes. First, please read the “fine print” on the instructions for giving money before giving anything. Secondly, while I don’t think it’s a problem, it should be high-lighted that with Tony in jail and facing other possible charges, he might choose to use any of your gifts to him (i.e., that you deposit into Account#1) to help him fulfill possible bail conditions, to help with legal expenses, etc.

Of course, you can bypass Tony by directly supporting charities benefitting the homeless; anything you do will be appreciated.

My apologies for the delay in getting all this set up.

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