The beloved Yvonne Annette Ingram, aka Toby, died of natural causes, Jan. 12, 2010. She was an icon in the Outsider Art world and one of Portland’s great poets. She loved Portland and its people and helped build its reputation of being a loving, weird and creative city.
Yvonne was born in Minneapolis Minn., and arrived in the Pacific Northwest as a youth. She lived through the troubled ’50s in Seattle, the changing ’60s in Tacoma, Wash., and the disco era of the ’70s in Olympia, Wash. At the end of the ’70s she found her home in Portland, where she was loved by all who knew her.
Yvonne was an active member of the mental health community, always willing with an open heart and open arms to reach out to anyone. She was always a hopeful optimist, a positive influence, and friend to all who she encountered. She is survived by her daughter, Pamela Ingram, and her siblings Delores Sims and Sybil and Marvin Wright. Remembrances can be made by giving a smile or hug to the person next to you or by dropping a few coins into the next empty cup you see. We will all miss this vibrant and enchanting woman. where ever you are Yvonne, we love you.
Yvonne was a regular contributor to Street Roots from its earliest days, writing stirring poetry for our readers. She was a strong supporter of the newspaper, its cultural and artistic endeavors, and we are saddened to lose such a good friend of the community.
By yvonne Ingram
standing together we gathered
around a transit kiosk
assembled to wait for the bus
looking for a glimpse
of our ride in the oncoming traffic
some of us glance nervously
at our watches and mumble
about schedules and the weather
a woman asks if the forty four
has come yet.
we are a group of individuals
like a theatre crowd
we dance in the cold
waiting for our chariot to come
the tallest in topcoat and tie
carries a briefcase
a boy with books and
a name printed skateboard
a woman in a yellow sweater shivers
in the early morning chill
a child holds her mother’s
red and black plaid skirt
our lives in step only at this moment
we don’t converse
and, only occasionally glance around
to see each other’s faces
our heads swivel at hissing brakes
and as the bus slows for a stop
we enter the open door
and take our seats