The freezing upstate New York winters are something Mark Southworth does not miss since he’s moved to Seattle.
When he moved after a few months in San Francisco, he knew this was where he wanted to be.
Southworth grew up on a farm in upstate New York. “I started work at 4:30 in the morning and got off about 8 or 9 at night. Except, in the summertime we were in the fields until 2 or 3 in the morning,” Southworth said.
Southworth went to school up until 8th grade and then had an incident with some other boys in his grade pulling down his pants, and he decided to stop going to school right then and there.
“The principal for two weeks kept calling me and wanting me back, and I told him no,” Southworth said.
“I don’t regret not getting my GED because I came up the hard way. I lost my dad at the age of 13,” Southworth said.
Since Southworth became an adult, he’s moved around a lot. He has lived in Florida, Colorado and California, all before he moved here.
“One of the first things I did when I went into a new area was head straight for the employment office,” Southworth said.
Southworth didn’t experience any homelessness until he moved to California.
When he first moved to Seattle, he went straight to the employment office and got a hodgepodge of jobs. “Thankfully, we’ve never been homeless here in Seattle,” Southworth said. He, his wife Emma and their dog BooBoo are, thankfully, inside.
Southworth and Emma met through their church. “We met through a friend. A painter I was working with introduced me to this church where I met my wife,” Southworth said.
Southworth started attending this Filipino church in the ’90s, and he and Emma have been married now for 27 years.
“BooBoo is our four-legged, 9-year-old kid,” Southworth says with a chuckle. Emma is originally from the Philippines. Her brother was in the U.S. military, which is how she came to Seattle.
Southworth came to Real Change three years ago. He left his job at CenturyLink Field where he worked in Guest Services.
They started cutting his hours, and he couldn’t make enough money.
Southworth currently sells most weekday mornings at the Starbucks on First and Yestler and said, “I’m an easygoing guy and like talking with my customers.”
Read the full September 25 - October 1 issue.
© 2019 Real Change. All rights reserved.| Real Change is a non-profit organization advocating for economic, social and racial justice. Since 1994 our award-winning weekly newspaper has provided an immediate employment opportunity for people who are homeless and low income. Learn more about Real Change and donate now to support independent, award-winning journalism.