She walked into the breakfast restaurant with her long flowing skirt, silk flowers in her hair and bright red lips, chatting to herself. She sashayed to the serving station, helped herself to a cup of coffee and left. Bemused, I asked our server if Marcie regularly popped in for a free cup and discovered that many of the restaurants on SSI accepted her patronage with no charge.
She had a penchant for colour and a wild sense of style that was vibrantly visible and quietly accepted in this town. Then again, this is Salt Spring Island and the residents here embrace a wider range of “normal” than most.
When I first broached the idea of the Unseen Salt Spring Calendar with the community outreach program we talked about the sensitivities people might have at being exposed in this way. Marcie was the first person support workers thought of who would be keen to have her portrait included.
Marcie lived here, a person of the street, for 28 years before she had to leave her home on Salt Spring Island. An infected wound resulted in the loss of her right leg and a need for support that is not available to her here.
When I arrived for our pre-arranged photo session Marcie was ready with wardrobe options and a new pair of boots – she joked that she only needed to pay half price.
Excited and willing to pose for as many shots as I could take, she said, “You can do the whole calendar of me!”
Marcie is optimistic that she will someday be able to move back to her home community.