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Meet Edward

March 13, 2011

There are certain people that cross your path in life that you just never forget, and Edward is one of them.  For about three years when I lived in public housing in Seattle, dirt poor, isolating and extremely depressed, Edward was about the only person I had daily contact with.

I had seen this man and walked passed him all through my high school years, said hello, but never really given him a second glance. He makes a living selling “Real Change,” which is a newspaper put out by the homeless population in Seattle. His voice is loud, friendly, and clear, he greets everyone he passes, “Real Change, thank you ma’am. Have a good day.” He knows the regulars who frequent the Safeway on 42nd and Brooklyn in the U-District, many people will often even bring him things, and he is out there rain, snow, or shine, which is a lot to say with Seattle weather.

It wasn’t until I was riding my old crappy grocery getter bike that I stopped and finally got to know this man who I now know as “Grandpa Edward.” He loves whole milk and mangoes, and every time I could afford it, I would go in and get him some. We would always share a cigarette and shoot the breeze for at least an hour or so. If I didn’t come by for a few days, he knew something was up and would be worried. We would split double coupons and share the cost of detergent and laundry soap. Sometimes my conversations with him were my only human contact for the entire day.

This man is amazing. How blind was I just walking by him all those years in college? He makes his entire income off of what he makes selling his papers, he doesn’t live off of anything from the state. He is a proud man and if you’re up to no good or need to be put in your place he will tell you so.

I now have a friend taking classes at the university in the area. He lets me know that he is taking care of Edward whenever he goes up there and I am grateful for that. When I was living in NC, my mom even made a special trip down there to see Edward and I got to talk to him on her cell phone. It’s hard to express in words what an impact this man had on my life. He was genuine, giving, and just flat out honest. I miss Edward, I worry about him, and you can be sure he will be one of my first stops when I get back to Seattle.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Lorrie Hensley permalink
    March 19, 2011 12:49 am

    What a wonderful tribute to a beautiful man. I am so glad you wrote this. I often think of Edward too, and am grateful he came into your life. You have a gift to give Bethany, to yourself and many like Edward, by getting to know the truth about people and never taking what you see as who they are. Keep Edward’s wisdom within yourself.
    Love,
    Mom

    • Faith permalink*
      March 19, 2011 8:33 am

      its time for a visit and check up on him soon i do think!

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