When she was 14 years old, Linda's family left Bismarck, N.D. and journeyed across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains to find their new home in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood. "The house looks so big now compared to when we were little," she says, "I've only been back once, but that was enough."
I can relate; returning to my old neighborhood always feels disorienting. Geographic locations are much more than mere scenery or markers on a map -- they carry the weight of history, memories, and stories.
Now a grandmother, Linda Spafford raised her two kids for 20 years before becoming homeless. She's been selling Real Change since about 1999, just five years after the paper's first publication. "I do it to keep me going financially" she says, "They don't give you enough for food stamps, laundry, and other necessities." And there are other difficulties as well.
For instance, she describes the challenges faced by the growing number of people who rely on public transportation -- particularly residents of southwest King County, where a number of service routes have changed with the construction of light rail. As the price of gas skyrockets and the economy worsens, public transit has experienced unprecedented rider increases. "They need to put back the buses in Renton that they took away," she says. "They can build something else for Bellevue, but they need to give these other people their bus system back."
You can find Linda selling the paper at one of her two favorite spots: Metropolitan Market on Queen Anne and at the downtown Post Office.