On The Job: Perfecting The Pizza

“It’s all in the wrist,” said Johnnie Wicklin, mimicking a pizza toss.

For 35 years, Mr. Wicklin threw a couple of hundred pies a day at various pizza shops across the city, spending many of those years at Ray’s Pizza locations. Starting as a teenager, he worked his way up from delivering pizzas to making them, perfecting his technique.

But it’s been more than five years since he made a pie or served a slice.

Three heart attacks, one stroke and a condition known as frozen shoulder in both arms forced him to give up working. He is still suffering from heart disease. At the same time, his marriage broke up and he found himself homeless.

“I lost everything,” Mr. Wicklin, 59, said in an interview last month.

In frail health, he moved from shelter to shelter, afraid of getting sick when sharing a room with up to 20 men. Those staying in shelters are normally required to leave the facilities during the day; Mr. Wicklin had to receive special passes to spend more time resting, to recover from his medical issues.

Once he got better, Mr. Wicklin said, he spent many of his days in nearby parks.

“I couldn’t travel far, because I was concerned with my well-being,” he said. “The park was always a big thing. In any area I was in, I would always look for a park. That’s the most sacred thing you can look for — you can’t sit anywhere else. Nobody wants to see you.”

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/20/neediest-cases/pizza-maker-homeless.html

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