Vendor Jacqueline Turner

Jacqueline Turner is a gifted woman. She has the ability to make a joke of almost everything. All though her actual age is 60,  she has kept her youthful attitude – and appearance.

“Blacks don’t crack. We don’t wrinkles that fast, they say.”

Turner likes to read books about everything. But they can’t be boring.

“I really hate tedious details. Like I was reading a book where the whole chapter was about her lying in the bed and waking up.” Turner is pretending she’s reading from the book: “As I slowly open my eyes and focus on the room, I noticed the pictures that’s been hanging there for ten years”, she continues, with a deep and humorous voice. “Who cares, on with the story. I like action”.

This lady describes herself as an outgoing person who likes to have fun.

Yet she has a private side too.

When she sells her paper she observes human behavior. “People are amazing, and they always surprise you. You never know who’s gonna buy your paper. Sometimes homeless people come and buy papers from me.”

Turner was born in Virginia, raised in the District and attended schools in Maryland.

She got married and lived in New York City, but after thirty years, she said she left her abusive husband.  She ended up back in Washington, homeless and too sick with hepatitis to work.

“When unemployment ran out after 8-9 months, I had to start doing something, so I started selling Street Sense. I found it the easiest job in the world.”

She has been a Street Sense vendor for two years. She says the two things she appreciates most about selling the paper are these: she can do it whenever she wants, and it is good exercise.

“The older you get,” she explains, “the more exercise you need.”

Turner sees herself as part of a family of strong and resilient people. Both of her parents have remarried, and she in the middle of four stepsisters. Turner has one daughter and five grandchildren. Her 78-year old mother lives in Silver Spring, and “she’s still kicking”

Turner is no longer homeless. Thanks to Catholic Charities, she has an apartment now.

She also has a dream for the future.

“I want to write kids stories from kids from 4-6. Fairytales, teach them to build a vocabulary.”

She says humor and faith are essential to her life.

“There’s a joy in your heart, that makes you happy and that puts you in a good frame of mind,” she says. “A prayer in the morning makes you go on the right track. Let go and let God.”