Skip Davis grew up in Philadelphia. “City of Smotherly Love. If I hadn’t left, I’d’ve been dead. I’ve been shot, stabbed, my arm broke with a baseball bat. All the crazy stuff on TV, that was my life before I came out here. I brought it on myself: drugs, drinking, the whole scene. I didn’t deserve to do that to my own self. If I can really forgive myself, I’m good all the way around.
“I wandered around the country, mostly just stealing stuff. Worked in some factories and kitchens and every now and then I would have a room I rented, might have a girlfriend until I just go again.”
Then he got to Seattle. “I love this town. You get so much help. When I got here in ’98 I started selling the papers (Real Change). Probably saved me. I’ve met thousands of people, made hundreds of friends. I haven’t been to jail since. All kinds of problems, but no more legal [ones]. I make an honest dollar every day and stay out of trouble.”
Skip sells papers at the top of Capitol Hill these days. “I’ve been hanging around the Safeway there for a good 10 years. I’m the one exception. They run most people away. The people in the store know I don’t steal. I don’t harass people. I’m just there and they come up, because I’ve been there so long. I don’t really talk much, but I’ve come out a little more open with people over the years.”
Skip has an apartment on Queen Anne through Plymouth Housing. “Been there a couple of years. I’m trying to get myself back in some kind of order. I feel blessed to have a little apartment. I used to take meds. I don’t even take Prozac no more now that I have a place.
“I do what I plan to do on time these days.” He’s even proud to have shown up to an interview for this article. “It’s a small thing, but it’s big to me. I’m starting new habits.
Do what I told myself I’m going to do. Get along good with people. Most of my life I didn’t. I tried to stay high and that was it. Sometimes I do sketches, portraits. I make a couple of dollars now and then. I don’t watch TV a whole lot. I do more music than television. Everything from rock ’n’ roll to rhythm and blues and jazz. Coltrane to Beatles, James Brown, you name them. Old stuff, ’60s and ’70s, that’s the best music period there ever will be. Music was music then. It told little stories. Now it’s just junk, may get you actually angry. I don’t need nothing to make me angry. That’s why I don’t watch a lot of television.”
As a short-term goal, Skip wants to get on the internet. “I’ve got a computer that’s gathering dust.” The long-term goal, he says, is “live till I croak. That’s the plan.”