#VendorLetters: Street Roots vendors are philosophical about when they were 25

INSP has been asking vendors from across the street paper network to write letters to their 25-year-old self to mark the end of INSP’s 25th anniversary year. Street Roots vendors Nettie and Mark are thoughtful and philosophical individuals, and this comes through in their writing.


When I turned 25, I thought I was through. I was going into rehab for heroin and cocaine addiction. My baby girl was over two, but she remembers things that I forgot. The memory was too much.

I lasted about six months, then I hit the streets again. I forgot in minutes. I had a glimpse of recovery, but not hope. Six months later I was on my way to prison for being a drug addict that, millions of dollars and 34 years later, is now called a disease.

I feel like Dr King when he did not sneeze after being stabbed. He lived. But later died, assassinated. That’s what 25 + 25 + 25 can do, change nothing for the real black ex-slave woman. Peace.

Street Roots vendor Nettie

Mark Rodriguez

25 years ago, I didn’t get stuck because it was profound. Oreo cookies and brownies, fruit and other edible things end. Siddhartha remains the same. Maya Angelou says just love yourself.

Street Roots vendor Mark Rodriguez

Check back in every day over the festive period for more #VendorLetters.

INSP members can download the #VendorLetters feature on the INSP News Service.