Interview with Vincent Dietth (A Homeless Man) March 26 1993

Material Information

Interview with Vincent Dietth (A Homeless Man) March 26 1993
Petigny, Alan ( Interviewer )
Dietth, Vincent ( Interviewee )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Alachua County General Oral History Collection ( local )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license:
Resource Identifier:
AL 167 Four Homeless Men 3-26-1993 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )


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Oral Interview Transcript
Alan Petigny


Q: \,-n you were in ninth grade, or there about, you lived with your
mom right?

A: Yea

Q: Where was this'? Where did you live at that time? In: Ocala?

A: No, T I rved...when I lwas :in ni.nlt h gladJe I. was with imy uncle. And
my motlier waw in prison. ,So 1 ived with my u1iA.:ii. AdIi tllen my
mother got out of prison, andt then rme and my either went back to New
Jersey. And I went to live with her in New J.r- --., again.

Q: Did you ever see any lhom.-i.ess people there?

A: Yea

Q: What did you think back then?

A: Back then I just looked at them. I didn't really look down on
them. riecause my mother was brought up to be, well, "they're just
like us Vincent," you know. So in that sense I was brought up right.
You know without the racism and not jiu..iiri- people. And, you know,
l,:'.l.irm down on poor people. Because my mother used to tell me it
could happen to us any time. And she, she's about to be poor too,
You Know, she lives in a little shack. She doesn't have that much
either. VWe never did. ,When we were growing up up north, we had a one
bedroom apartment in !-, Jersey, we had five people living in a one
bedroom apartment. You know, we didn't have much money at all.

Q: Did you ever get into any trouble with the authorities?

A: Yea, one or twice. Not -i- rarely.

Q: What kind of things did you...

A: Stupid stuff. You know, real dumb stuff. Trei. *issaii', possession
of marijuana, you know, misdemeanors. You know, misdemean-ors :',i- =.,
but not too much big charges. You Know.

Q: Vneen you came down here from Ocala, did you come do-.rn shortly after
losing your job at that lumber place?

A: Yea.

Q: Did you have your own place back then?


A: Yes, I was Living with somebody and that didn't work out. And that
person kicked ne out, so 1 went back to the Salva- tion r-i ,.

Q: here did you keep your be l. il ii. 'i;?

A: What I would do is, uh, scope it out, take two sets back (?), walk
around the neiii,-l.:l 1. and see where's a good place to hide my stuff.
And then I would put my stuff where I thought it was sate. You know,
I just wouldn't walk around a neighborhood and throw my b-", in any
kind of bushes.

Q: How many bags did you have?

A: Two duffel bags and a trash bag.

Q: Do you still have those, right?

A: Yea

Q: Are you1 angry. You don't really seem very ,-n ii your curre nt

A: Not at all. Not at all. I mean, itf I ,- ent r money I would go
back to N-w York or :-I' Jersey, anyday. But I don't have that and I
can't afford it, you know.

Q: Do you have any. family?

A: I've not fami.ty, 'u -[.- -.' York. But all my -, .ly lmoved out
from the city. But I've got relatives in New Jersey also that was
real close to ny mty hier. And I know some close people up in
Bethlehem, Penn. too.

Q: Are these family, or friends?

A: Well, they're more like I was in a treatment center up there. 'ir-n
I lived in New Jersey.

Q: I see

A: And these people were very tight with me, and they were really
trying to help me out to get on the right path, you know. So they're
the type of people, you know, its like "If you want to come back north
man, we're wi lli in to lhelp you out, you know.

Q: You've spoken to them?

A: I talked to ti-em plenty of times.

Q: Vi1: !r last?

A: Maybe three weeks ago I talked to them.

0: Do you ever feel like just giving up'?

A: Oh yea. All the time. Yea...there's a lot of titrces I. ee.l like
giving up. Hut 1 know that's not going to solve nothing. Its not
goin to get me nowhere.

Q: Finally, this is a rhetorical question, what wonld you -"-- to he
typical student at the l.iversity of Florida. --Supported by their
parents, living in their own anartm-wnt or a dorm and who ijut don't
really care much about the issue of those who are struggling like
yo'Ir--lt. t would you say to them?

A: Jealously comes in, a little bit of jealously cones in. I'll look
at 'em and watch at 'em. It's .like man, I say: ','- I God why didn't
you give me that kinrd of life." You know, because, cause I believe in
God. And its like, say "God, you could have gave me that kind of
life-style, why not this?" You Know. Then 1 kind of look at 'em and
like, man, I can't believe that, you know, they at least have all that
money and nice cars. ." they can't just help the poor people out
like us. You Know. I mean, that's really what I have to say all about
it, you know.
1 mean they're people too, and I can learn to accept them for
what they are because, you know, what goes around comes around. You
want to act like that, you kniw, and its true ifor me, because if you
treat people dirty its going to came back to you. So I always learned
to know, they're rich people, I Know that, but I learned
to accept (them) trr. what they are all :,' life. And I don't let it
get into my head, you know. So I try to just let it go. And they're
just human beings just like In-e. .'-, just need help sometimes, you
know.--Or some corrections or...they're house might need to falJ down
before they can realize that they're not as cool as they think t l '.
are, or better than -'.:-."'- else,

Q: \-. i was the last time you were out on the street without a roof
over your I-.-=n'.' The last night that r.-."vur- i?

A: 10 "e, uh, six, six days ago.

Q: For how long a stretch?

A: Oh, you mean, your talking about how long of a sleeping on the
street straight?

Q: Yea.

A: four or five days.

Q: What's the Jongest stretch you've byen out on the street I


A: By myself? Four or five or six days. And then I would sleep in
the Salvation :.; n one night. You know, sleep in the car one night.
You know, there's never a long, long stretch of sleeping out on the
streets because me, myself, I would refuse to sleep on the street for
that, that long. I mean, by that time I would be so angry that I was
going to get something accomplished. I don't care what it was even
shelter don't care what it was. fB that tim~e, and in the type of
the frame of mind I was in, I.m oing to get -oii..-. i accomplished
today. I don't care if its at least shelter or food.

Q: Un, I asked this q1- tion oE you before, but if you don't mind I'll
ask it of you a i i. And that is, a year from now, twn years from
now, where do yu-l see yourself'?

A: I really don't know, I mein, sometimes, its like taking a bullet to
my head. That's how- I feel sometimes. You know, and say: "Screw it
all, and let me check mroy .-~ i out and let me go up there with the Lord
and sit up in heaven with him. And that's my true fee-li'r3-, you know.
And that's the way I teel about it.
A lot of times, you Know, the Lord may give me a little glimpse
of satisfactory or, you know, light. And then I In-irin- my mind a
little bit. And then when something else ...- up four, five things
in a row start coming down- on me its like, well, let him go back to
the way I'm thinking now.
You Know, I don't know, I don't know, I mean, I don't think about
it...because I have too much to worry about taking one day at a time,
you know.

Q: In there any question I didn't ask you that you wished I had asked

A: No, but I fihad a cgoj d time.