Alice P. Schwartzman
Alice has traveled a long and increasingly open road, from New York debutante to doyenne of the Washington homeless. She put in long years as a seamstress in Manhattan's garment district, and for a time, during her barfly years, was profoundly acquainted with a particular stool in a neighborhood pub. On the streets for nearly 15 years, she makes it a point to return to New York's Roseland Ballroom for her annual spin as a taxi dancer. A master of the soft touch, she has made panhandling a sophisticated survival skill, peddling subscriptions to the National Review, and developing a monthly contribution program, with buttons to identify paid-up donors. Her knowledge of weather and her urban camping techniques are unparalleled. Her husband and grill-mate Elmont is unhinged.
But for all her street savvy Alice has nearly frozen to death several times -- a dramatic photo of her, unconscious, buried in a snowdrift, appeared on the front page of The Washington Post. More recently, Alice was befriended by Congresswoman Lacey Davenport, who was gradually succumbing to Alzheimer's and mistook her for her long- dead sister Pearl. In her will, Lacey left her estate to Alice, whose husband Elmont blew it all day-trading just as they were making the transition to a roofed existence.
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