[Hpn] Wedding bells for ex-homeless woman;Framingham, Massachusetts;10/28/01

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Sun, 28 Oct 2001 09:58:50 -0500


Forwarded excerpts:

Sunday, October 28, 2001
MetroWest Daily News <http://www.metrowestdailynews.com>
[Framingham, Massachusetts]
Local & Regional News section
Wedding bells for ex-homeless woman
<http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/local_regional/homeless10282001.htm>

[ ... ]

At first blush, it sounds like a modern day fairy tale: once homeless girl 
makes good.

But Triston overturns stones, exposing details of post-homeless life that 
would make many people hesitate to call this a success story.

Unless they, too, had been homeless.

"Our presumed notion of success isn't a good template for what's successful 
to a homeless person," said Phillip Mangano, executive director of the 
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance in Boston.

For the majority of homeless people, he said, "It's a more incremental, 
longitudinal story of people picking themselves up; getting back on their 
feet; and moving toward stability, resources - both human and material - 
and, ultimately, toward love.

"It sounds like that's the direction this young woman is going in," Mangano 
added.

[ ... ]

---End of forwarded excerpts---

~~~For more, read on -- below:

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-------Forwarded article-------

Sunday, October 28, 2001
MetroWest Daily News <http://www.metrowestdailynews.com>
[Framingham, Massachusetts]
Local & Regional News section
Wedding bells for ex-homeless woman
<http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/local_regional/homeless10282001.htm>

By Heather Anderson
Sunday, October 28, 2001


Dorothy Triston, 24, is getting married. On Tuesday, she booked Framingham's 
Columbus Club for the wedding reception. On Friday, more than 200 
invitations were destined for the U.S. mail. A week from now, Triston and 
her mother will shop for a gown at Occasions Bridal Boutique in Natick.


"I want something with a long train," said a smiling Triston, sitting in a 
conference room Tuesday at the Salvation Army in Framingham, where she works 
five days a week.

"Since I was 10, I always had these pictures of bridesmaids dresses that I 
saved, that moved with me from junk drawer to junk drawer. They're hunter 
green. I will have the same color."

It's no small feat, mind you, to save a page torn from a bridal magazine for 
14 years. But Triston managed, even though homelessness would seem to 
preclude such safekeeping.

On July 31, 2000, Triston and her 3-year-old son, Kenneth, appeared on the 
front page of The MetroWest Daily News in a story profiling the state's 
homeless youth.

At the time, Triston was among the 3,144 young adults ages 18-24, living in 
Massachusetts homeless shelters.

For eight months, she and Kenneth shared a room at Pathways Shelter in 
Framingham, after being told to leave home by her mother.

The reason? Triston would not stop accepting collect calls from a jailed 
boyfriend. Rolling her eyes, Triston assured us Tuesday that he is not the 
future groom.

On the day we first met, Triston had just received news that a low-rent, 
two-bedroom apartment in Barre - a rural town of 5,046 residents in the 
middle of the state - had become available.

The news seeped like water under closed doors at the Pearl Street shelter. 
Women and kids surfaced in the hallways. Some wished Triston well. Some 
fought for her big room. Some begrudged the loss of a friend, quietly 
wishing her good fortune were theirs.

As she packed her clothes, old prom pictures from Natick High School and a 
TV into a 1988 Baretta, Triston wondered how long life on her own - in a 
foreign place with old stone walls, dairy farms and a part-time town clerk - 
would last.

We wondered, too.

Fifteen months later, we dialed her mother and inquired. "She's getting 
married," said Jacquelin Triston, a Salvation Army captain.

On Jan. 26, 2002, Triston and Jorge Andino are getting hitched in the 
multi-purpose room of the Salvation Army.

More than 200 guests are invited, including friends Triston made at the 
Framingham homeless shelter as well as at the Salvation Army, where she now 
works.

One of the bridesmaids, said Triston, is a friend made at Pathways Shelter.

Everyone is chipping in, she added. Andino's mother and a friend will cook 
food for the reception. A Salvation Army minister will officiate. And the 
maid of honor has volunteered to make the floral bouquets.

At first blush, it sounds like a modern day fairy tale: once homeless girl 
makes good.

But Triston overturns stones, exposing details of post-homeless life that 
would make many people hesitate to call this a success story.

Unless they, too, had been homeless.

"Our presumed notion of success isn't a good template for what's successful 
to a homeless person," said Phillip Mangano, executive director of the 
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance in Boston.

For the majority of homeless people, he said, "It's a more incremental, 
longitudinal story of people picking themselves up; getting back on their 
feet; and moving toward stability, resources - both human and material - 
and, ultimately, toward love.

"It sounds like that's the direction this young woman is going in," Mangano 
added.

When they first met, Andino, 29, drove a truck collecting clothes for the 
Salvation Army Thrift Store. He would later lose his job, after he and 
Triston disappeared without warning early one morning in May.

Triston describes her behavior this way: On Pearl Street, accountability was 
mandated. By contrast, the Barre apartment did not come with house rules 
that dictate when occupants must wake, eat, clean and go to bed.

"At times I missed the routine," Triston confided.

Lacking the discipline, she found herself sleeping in, watching TV, and 
staying up late.

In May, she also found herself living in a North Carolina trailer park with 
her 21-year-old sister, her sister's boyfriend, Andino and her son.

Someone had complained to the Massachusetts Department of Social Services 
about the way Triston was raising her son. DSS investigated and "found 
nothing," Triston said.

But the talk was too much to bear.

Early one spring morning, Triston and Andino stuffed the car trunk with 
clothes, pillows, a toolbox, a stereo and pictures, and headed south to stay 
with Triston's sister.

They did so without telling the Barre landlord or their bosses about their 
plans.

Three months later, a big trailer occupied by five people had grown quite 
small.

"We were bumping heads," Triston said.

They returned north. Andino found another truck-driving job in Framingham. 
And Triston found her apartment in Barre just as she had left it.

Her landlord had contacted Triston's mother, who, in turn, paid a portion of 
the outstanding rent and promised the rest would come. Today, Triston owes 
about $500 in back rent, she said.

These days, she relishes the quiet of her two-bedroom apartment in Barre. 
"There's nothing like going home to your own place," she said.

She is ready to swap night life for domestic life, Triston added. Shopping 
at the IGA, housework and dinner together every night at the kitchen table 
has its appeal.

"I've gotten to the point where I'm done doing the going out, the hanging 
out," said Triston, later revealing that circumstances preclude carousing on 
weekends.

Her future husband has three children from a previous marriage, she said. 
The boys will be staying with the couple in Barre every other weekend.

Once again, Mangano, the homeless advocate, sees light where others may see 
darkness.

"She didn't slip back into homelessness," he said. "She stayed out of a 
shelter. She used resources available to her - her sister, her mom. Her 
child is still in her custody. And she's got plans to get married.

"The trajectory is right," he added. "She is going in the right direction."

Andino proposed a few weeks ago. They were in traffic on Rte. 9 in 
Westborough, during the 70-minute commute home to Barre.

"He said he had something to ask me when we got home," Triston explained. 
"From where we were, we still had 40 minutes to go. A couple minutes later, 
he said he couldn't wait."

A year from now, Triston sees the family moving closer to their jobs and 
Kenneth's preschool in Framingham. She is hopeful. And happy. But not ready 
to call her life a success.

"I'm getting there," Triston said, pondering the meaning of success. "I'm 
working on it. ...Compared to where I was, yes."

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material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
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-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA



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