Wilma Hush was planning to get married in Canada last year. Instead, she got sick while visiting Seattle and ended up in the hospital. She ended up calling off the marriage.
“My health is more important than being out in a tent.” Ironically, she still ended up in a tent, under a Viaduct on-ramp. “I was staying at the shelter at City Hall and I just couldn’t stand being around the people. It gets real full there and you don’t know who’s going to be sleeping next to you; you don’t know if they have bedbugs, you don’t know if they have colds.”
Now she and her boyfriend share a room in White Center. “It’s kind of like an apartment, but you have to share a bathroom.” She likes White Center well enough, though “there’s homeless people there, too, and of course, drugs. I’m staying off the drugs as much as I can.”
Wilma sells Real Change downtown at a Starbucks on Jackson Street. “After I get done I go to the ferry dock [to sell]. I get tired.”
She likes the people. “There’s people you say ‘hi’ to them and they say ‘hi’ back. I told them I was in the hospital and they’re, ‘I hope you get better.’ Some walk by and look at you like you’re a nobody, but I just ignore it.”
She gets annoyed more by some of the other people around her. “Certain people think they know things. I get irritated so badly, it’s not even funny, a lot of people talking and yelling for no reason.”
Wilma moved to Canada about 10 years ago; she has relatives up there. But she grew up on a farm in Iowa. “My uncle used to be in the rodeo. Every time they had the rodeo parade, I’d get to ride on the horses.”
Her favorite activity when she’s not selling Real Change is staying home and relaxing. “I got my phone and I can go on YouTube, watch movies, videos.” She likes to listen to music, too. “Mostly rock, ’70s, ’80s, sometimes ’60s.” Her favorite bands are the Bay City Rollers and Alabama, because she has relatives in both bands. Music runs in the family. Wilma likes to sing and play drums, though she hasn’t performed since she did karaoke in Canada.
“Last time I saw them [Alabama] was at the Iowa State Fair. They said, ‘We got a cousin that’s in the audience and I wonder if she’d come up and sing with us.’ I looked at them like, ‘I’m gonna get you guys.’”
But she got up there. “I know almost all the songs.”
Wilma doesn’t have big plans, though she wants to see Disneyland. “I want to stay away from drugs, because my health is more important. My mom said when she turned 50, she felt like ‘damn, but I’m old.’” Wilma didn’t feel that way when she turned 50. “I’m opposite from her. I’ve got a whole life ahead of me.”