“There are more mannequins than people.”
Ben and I walked down the Fulton Mall one Sunday morning. My plan was to take photos of the beautiful architecture for the blog, but we soon found out that the people were even more fascinating.
Walking down the Fulton Mall, “Brother Judah” stopped us by accusing us of being the devil. While we stood several yards in front of him, he explained to us that the color of our skin gave away our true identity. You see, we’re not white, but red. Turning to Ben, he said, “Now, your girl is pretty pale, and she’s almost translucent. But she’s not white. She’s pink.” On the other hand, Jesus is brown.
Ben calls him Brother Judah because he’s convinced he’s a member of the twelve tribes. Specifically, he thinks he’s from the tribe of Judah just as Christ was. When Ben called him Brother Judah, he seemed rather pleased by this title.
“Brother Judah” didn’t let us continue walking until he gave us each a compliment. He concluded that there was a possibility Ben could be one of the Israelites. He then congratulated me on being a good woman because I knew when to keep my mouth shut.
He sounds rather outrageous, but he’s a man with a story and a very loud voice to tell it.
“To be honest, I’m going to buy a beer for an old man.”
Ricky had on a crisp, new t-shirt that read “more meat, more cheese” as he asked us for change for a hobo. Upon meeting this fella I gave up on concentrating on the historic details of the surrounding buildings.
Ricky stated that he used to be a carpenter making $36/hour until he hurt his back in a motorcycle accident. He hopes to get into low-income housing. He says it is difficult because there is a waiting list.
“I’m still here because I’m stuck here…I can’t get enough money to go home.”
With his pick taped to his index finger and his name tattooed on the same hand, Kimo plays the guitar at the Fulton Mall. “I don’t play for the money,” he says. “I come here when I get bored.”
Kimo worked as a studio musician for 18 years in Los Angeles, Maui and Fresno. Everyone in his family paints, but he’s the only one who knows how to play the guitar.
Kimo is originally from Hawaii. In Hawaiian, he says, Kimo means either “friend to all the world” or “great warrior.” In Maui he owned two galleries, but what brought him to Fresno was the father of his first wife. He flew to Fresno so his father-in-law could meet his grandchildren and in hopes that he could gain his father-in-law’s approval. What kept Kimo in Fresno was a stroke. This kept him from playing the guitar professionally.
When asked about the art culture of Fresno, he said that there are no galleries here that make money. In Maui, he remembers, there were people who would drop $50,000 on paintings. In Fresno, “nobody makes enough money. They’ll just go to Kmart.” He added that there is no tourism to bring in the big bucks. He admits that Fresno has potential to improve, but he doesn’t see things progressing in 10 years.
“What brought you to Fresno?”
Steven is originally from New York. After his wife divorced him he felt that he had to get away and found himself in Fresno.
He appreciates Fresno because it is cheaper and, he says, it’s easier to get around town. But, because he finds himself unable get a job even with his two college degrees, now he is ready to just go back home to New York.
I have never walked down Fulton Mall before and I must admit the people are the ones with their own story to tell.
More photos taken by Ben of the Fulton Mall, including the architecture.