One of Manteca’s homeless citizens, Robert Weekly, 62, was among those taking advantage of the Manteca Fire Department’s cooling center at the Manteca Senior Center on Cherry Lane.
The temperature reached 109 degrees in Manteca on Monday. It marked the third of an expected string of nine days of 100-degree plus highs. The National Weather Service doesn’t expect the high to drop below the century mark until next Tuesday.
In addition to Weekly there was a middle aged couple and several single individuals seeking relief from the heat.
Manteca Police officer Mike Kelly along with Seniors Aiding Fire Effort and Community Emergency Response Team volunteers handed out flyers throughout the community wherever they could find groups of homeless congregating to get the word out on the cooling center operation.
Weekly hails from Middle Point, Oregon, where he was the oldest of eight children. He spent time in the Army as a truck driver and then worked in construction after he got out of the 82nd Airborne. He says he beds down nightly at 11 p.m. in Library Park – earlier than that and you get a citation, he said.
He proudly displayed his tattoos on both arms and indicated they came from time served in jail in past years as well as a book on “Love,” that he says he has read from cover to cover.
“You can’t go and lay down and go to sleep before 11,” he said. “It’s just not right.”
He added that many of the homeless resist going to the cooling center because they don’t want to lose the place they have already established for the night. Weekly said he also likes to bed down behind Poncho’s Market – the old “Pete’s Market” in the 800 block of West Yosemite Avenue.
His only belongings were in a small cloth sack. He said his clothes were stolen from him including his blankets.
Stockton was his past home as a homeless man for nine years. Much of that time was in South Stockton, most recently on South Grant Street “where all the bangers and homeless are living.” He also had lived across from St. Joseph’s Hospital saying he finally got evicted after being there for years.
Recognizing the police have a tough job, “you have to be nice to them,” he added.
Weekly had also lived in a small home in Manteca behind the Foster Freeze on Yosemite Avenue where he said he was arrested for domestic violence when he cut the lock off his own door – having left his keys inside.
He claims he now gets $1,250 a month for life after having been pepper sprayed by police years ago. That’s pretty much what he uses to live on, he said.
His sister, he said, has a radio show in the south, Rushton Ministries.com. in Nashville, TN.
Weekly said he has only one bad habit, “smoking.”
To contact Glenn Kahl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.