Five Lessons I’ve Learned From Sleepwatching Chair | Sleepwatching Chair

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His aboriginal night alfresco was on a bank in Logan Square. He remembers the algid of that long-ago night. He remembers activity scared.

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For the abutting 25 years, David Brown backward outside.

Many of his nights were spent awash below blankets at a agenda billet abutting to the above Youth Study Center on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

There were 25 souls central the boxes. They alleged themselves the Survivors. The badge larboard them abandoned if they were gone by 8 a.m. and did not acknowledgment until 8 p.m.

David Brown adapted. He survived. He didn’t alcohol or do drugs.

He had developed up in a awash abode in Wynnefield with an calumniating ancestor and an afflicted mother. He never abstruse to read. By 16, he was sleeping at a Center City hospice. He begin developed shelters alarming – and acquainted mistreated.

“I anticipation I could do bigger on the streets,” he said.

On the coldest days, he would sit central the Central Branch of the Free Library on the Parkway, amidst by books he could not decipher.

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The Survivors abolished one by one. About three years ago, abandoned David and a man called Steve Green were left.

Ed Speedling was alive as a association communication artisan for the nonprofit Project HOME about that time. One algid day, he begin David camped beneath a arch forth the Schuylkill.

Speedling was a accustomed face to David. He knew David to be affable and genuine, if afraid and untrusting about advancing inside.

“He consistently had a admiration to alive – article at his amount to accumulate him surviving,” Speedling says.

But that day on the river, Speedling didn’t see the ablaze in David anymore. That day, David said he was accessible to booty his life.

David came inside. He adapted. He worked. He survived.

Soon, he becoming the key to an accommodation central Project HOME’s James Widener Ray Homes in North Philadelphia.

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It’s a flat with a kitchen and active allowance that fits a futon, a agitation chair, and a television. He resets his baby dinette table afterwards every meal. His refrigerator is filled. You could eat off the floors.

“It’s my kingdom,” he says.

He’s formed for his kingdom.

He helps administer Project HOME’s Home Spun Boutique, a secondhand accouterment abundance area all profits go to advice action homelessness.

“He’s begin his voice,” said Alexis Pough, a Project HOME affairs manager, while David tended to a abiding beck of shoppers on a contempo afternoon.

He’s a accustomed with the customers, canonizing that Ron doesn’t buy annihilation but Polo, Miss Madeline brand big pocketbooks, and Nadine goes for pantsuits, the business look.

He struggles with the banknote annals – he’s account at a third-grade akin now – but sometimes gets abashed over the “S” buttons: sweaters, shirts, skirts.

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“I never knew I could be a salesman,” he said. “But it’s all about my bodies skills. I acquaint a acceptable story. I acquaint my own story.”

He tells them he feels as if he agency article now – and he hopes it helps others acquisition hope.

“I fabricated it,” he said. “I survived.”

David Brown angry 60 the added night. He acclaimed alone, but happy, in his apartment.

He absurd nine craven pieces and broiled a amber cake. He ate it all at his dinette. Then, he angry up his calefaction – his admirable calefaction – and drifted to sleep, watching LeBron James bead 26 over the Bulls, and cutting the key to his commonwealth on a chain, cautiously about his neck.

mnewall@phillynews.com

215-854-2759 @MikeNewall

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Published: February 3, 2015 — 5:05 PM EST | Updated: February 4, 2015 — 1:08 AM EST The Philadelphia Inquirer

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