Keele St. Lady


Photo by Steve Johnson on

I mean, I just could not believe this woman. I was standing on the outdoor platform at the Keele Subway, waiting for the Weston Rd. bus and in walks this woman completely ignoring the NO ENTRY sign. It was understandable, because, well, you should have seen her. I’ve seen bag ladies before, you know, on Yonge St. and in and around it, but wow… Maybe it was the heat.

          Anyways, I stopped to look on the bright side.  It’s great! I have my own Bag Lady. She was beautiful! From the moment I saw her I could not take my eyes off her. She was incredible and even pathetic! Not all of them can be called pathetic. But mine’s pathetic, oh yes, for sure!

She had sores, red and painful looking, on her face, uncovered arms and back. Her faded floral print dress was torn at the back and bottom front, revealing a white lace slip. That slip, something about that slip gave her a prosperous past. The same thing crossed my mind about her hair. It was obviously quite long. She wore it up in a kind of messy Katharine Hepburn way.  And you know what? She had what amounted to a beard. I kid you not! Strands or clumps of hair about six inches long were coming out of her chin here and there. She had sandals on and I could see that she had callouses on her callouses. A natural shoe, I supposed. I wondered it her feet hurt. Mine did.


So, she walks right in with the NO ENTRY sign staring her in the face while ignoring the TTC guy in the ticket booth who was banging on the window. “Hey! Lady!”. At first, I was annoyed at him, then I thought it was kind of neat, him calling her lady, somehow.

          She walked another few steps with her bags, then turned around and saying nothing retreated to the street. She then stopped, bent over her bags and removed a wallet, or change purse, opened it and looked inside.  She then returned it to her bag and proceeded to walk north on Keele St. and out of my sight.

My Lady doesn’t seem to give a damn. I think I like that. My Lady is proud. I admire her somehow. Her only problem is that we have a problem with her. She’s doing some of us a service. She reminds of that familiar phrase, “There but for you go I.” We all face the same kind of reality every day. She doesn’t give a shit what she looks like, or maybe that’s only our perception. She probably looks just fine in her eyes. Her only problem is how we look at her and that may only bother her, from time to time………..




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Jen Goldie

"Life is made up of small comings and goings and for everything we take with us, we leave a part of ourselves behind" - Summer of 42

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