“Everything I did wrong in my life turned out right.”
“Well, when I was 18, I did something stupid and got arrested. I spent one month in jail. Had it not been for that, they would’ve sent me to Korea, and I could’ve been killed. Instead, I ended up in a base in Germany.
"Later, I became an alcoholic. I was drinking so much that I developed red spots on my body. I was close to getting cirrhosis of the liver. But that’s how I met my wife. She was very involved with Alcoholics Anonymous. She said to me, ‘I love you and I want to be with you, but first you have to stop drinking.’ I haven’t drunk in 43 years. She is the best thing that ever happened to me. I was a warehouseman. She was a very accomplished woman: trained to be an opera singer, well traveled and very engaged in charity work. I can talk about her all day long. It’s too bad I don’t see her very much anymore.”
“Where is she now?”
“She lives in a nursing home. She needs medication and nurses around her all the time. I haven’t seen her in more than two months.”
“Do you think she misses you?”
“I know she misses me. But I have congestive heart failure. The cold weather could kill me. It takes me over an hour to get there. Once I get there, they have to wash and clean her. Then I have to wait for other things. I wait over here, I wait over there. I feel like I’m in their way. I’m disturbing everybody is the way I see it.”
“Is she happy to see you?”
“Of course she is. Every time I go there, she says, ‘Will you come back right away? I’ll be happy to have you here.’ But the next day she doesn’t remember I was there.”
Portraits of Boston is a project of independent photographer Ivan Velinov. He is regularly sharing some of his favorite portraits with WBUR. Visit his website to see the hundreds of portraits he has taken on the streets of Boston.