France Griggs Sloat
The 51 bus squeaks to a stop at the corner of Dana and Ledgewood. Donna Fambro picks up her bag, grabs the railing and carefully walks down the steps. She moves to the sidewalk in front of the faded wooden bench, crosses the street and starts down Ledgewood into the heart of Xavier’s campus. Dressed in thin blue jeans, a beaded string belt, red platform shoes and a faded red bandanna wrapped around her graying head, she’s an incongruous presence on this traditional Catholic campus shows. But it’s much more than fashion.
At age 56, she’s not only twice the age of the young students sharing the sidewalks with her, she’s lived the hard and torrid life they have only read about in their textbooks. Drug abuse, alcoholism, heroin addiction, a year in state prison. What began as a life of hopes for Fambro was quickly drowned out by a childhood of violence, abuse and neglect. Happiness came at the end of a needle. Home was often in a car.
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