By Real Change & Street Roots Staff
Diana Wyatt, who we knew as Dani, was small in stature. But what she lacked in height, she more than made up for in personality, kindness, hard work and glee. She was a friend to both her customers and her fellow vendors, often lending a sympathetic ear and a loving smile.
She was a mainstay on the corner of First and Marion, a spot she inherited when her childhood friend, fellow vendor Jonas Stone, passed away last year. Even with all the bustle of the block, the space feels emptier without her.
Dani came to Real Change by way of Street Roots in Portland, where she was a dedicated member of the community. Whether it was with a genuine smile, a deep laugh or a good joke (or two or three), she always knew how to brighten a room.
She loved to find that light in others, too. Once, when asked why she appreciated her readers, she said that it was because of their “smiles and positive attitudes.”
She also worked hard, selling papers pretty much every day, even if it was rainy and cold, even if she was in pain. She wanted to make her customers happy and often wore an awesome purple wig and danced with some signature moves, twirling her papers from arm to arm, front to back, music playing softly on a speaker to help her keep tempo.
Dani was also a stellar mentor, always willing to take new vendors (and even staff!) under her wing. She was a natural leader who was full of advice.
When other vendors passed, Dani always had a heartfelt word to say in their honor. We hope to do her justice with this memorial.
She deserves it.
Losing Dani feels like losing a member of our family.
Dani leaves behind her husband, Mike Papariella, who has been a Real Change vendor since 2007.
We will miss her deeply.