Vendor Profile: Gerome V. Owens

My name is Gerome V. Owens. I was born June 6, 1950. I was raised in San Francisco. I grew up in Lower Pacific Heights, Japan Area and Lower Haight, which is called the Western Addition. I am the oldest child of four children that precede me in death. At the age of seven, my parents separated. The second oldest and I stayed with my mother.

My youngest brother stayed with my dad. My little sister stayed with step parents up until she was an adult. As a child I went to Sunday school every Sunday. I sang in the choir, and I was very active in the church until I became a teen. I attended several high schools throughout San Francisco, but I finished my senior year at John Adams Adult High School. Through my years in school I had a learning disability, but I still wanted to make my family proud. By me being the first born, it was important for me to receive my high school diploma. My older cousin Patricia helped me obtain my high school diploma. I played sports from time to time such as volleyball and body surfing. My first job as a teenager was working with my uncle Bob at a plating and polishing company in San Francisco. I have done quite a few jobs: working at the carwash, delivering papers, shoe shining, working at the barbershop, and more.

I am an artist of music and dance. My father was a musician and he played the drums. I played a few different instruments, such as the flute, saxophone and organ. In my late teens, I danced for Black Light Exposure dance troupe up until graduation. I enjoyed Arts so much that I majored in Arts at Santa Rosa Community College. After about two years of college, I lived for about seven years on the East Coast. In the early 80’s, I received a Music Appreciation Certificate at Laney College. I then decided to move to New York, where I worked at a dance studio/ballroom. When I moved there I mastered many trades, including nursing, stage work, facilities management, and teaching. I made New York my home for seven years. Once returning back to California, I made Marin County my home for a few years before moving back to San Francisco, which has been my home now since the 1980’s.

When I moved to San Francisco, I decided to shift my career to the hospitality field where I worked as a prep cook at the Trident in Sausalito. I also worked at the Hilton Regency as a waiter/bar back. That way I could save money to go to school.

Around this time, things had changed in my life in terms of housing, so I decided to sell Street Sheet. I’ve been doing this for about 15 years around San Francisco. I play music alongside selling Street Sheet. Sometimes I work with homeless people here at the Coalition on Homelessness, folding papers and addressing them out. I do this because of my physical disability that prevents me from other volunteer work. I also help by giving out food and clothes for children during the holiday season. I also work with disabled people.

One of my favorite hobbies when I moved to San Francisco was to play the harmonica, saxophone,  or my flute at Castro and Market for money. During the holidays I sung christmas carols. I also enjoy taking the lady in my life out to the movies, the theater and the symphony. I love going to horse races at the Golden Gate Fields with my uncle’s children and friends as well. I am working at the Louise Davies Symphony Hall as a steward serving food, and my plan is to work until I can find a position there at the symphony.

Despite my learning disabilities, my girlfriend and angel that went to heaven, Drewcella, motivated me to share my story. I admired that she wrote short stories and she told me I should share my story. I promised her before her passing that I would get a piece of my writing published. I also want to thank my mom and my dad for bringing me into this world.

I am also seeking employment working with people with disabilities. I’ve been living in a hotel for the last 19 years but I am trying to find housing. You can email if for any employment leads.

I’m blessed I got this far. My father’s mercy is everlasting.

Jeremy V. Owens Chronicle.  ≠