The Real Change Portrait Project


Larry Elmore

"Larry Elmore" Drawing by
Larry Elmore has lived in Seattle 32 years, more than half his life. But he has a slow, measured way of talking that he learned growing up in Dallas. When he was in his early 20s, his brothers and sister in Seattle told him how great it was here, so he flew up to check it out. “I pretty much like it so far. It does get very cold and rain a lot, but I’ve been able to deal with it.” Larry was doing day labor for the Millionair Club when a friend told him about Real Change. He still does day labor “off and on” but says Real Change has been working great for 15 years. He sells in front of Metropolitan Market in West Seattle. Larry gets along fine with the workers there. “They’re very good people.” Larry likes West Seattle, though he lives in Queen Anne, and often stops at a place on California Avenue to shoot pool with friends before he goes back home. Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses. If he’s not playing pool, you might find him on a basketball court. He says he plays pretty good “for my age.” Larry gives special thanks for his customers. “My customers lift me up when I’ve been feeling down, especially when I’ve been having a pretty rough time. I just lost my dad and my baby brother, and that’s been pretty rough on me.” His dad was 91 when he passed. Larry was glad he got back to Texas for the funeral. His baby brother lived in Seattle and was another Real Change vendor. “He was an alcoholic and went into a seizure and didn’t come out of it.” Losing him was particularly hard, because they were close. Larry still has two brothers and a sister in Seattle. “They do whatever they can, but basically I like to try to do things on my own and not call them. They have their own problems and family to raise.” He also has a daughter back in Texas. He’s very proud of her, but it’s been years since he’s seen her. “Last time I heard she was doing great – she was a registered nurse. Unfortunately, I lost contact since she moved from Dallas, and I haven’t been able to connect up with her, which I’m trying to do right now. I have two friends who are trying to help me find her through the Internet. I do miss her dearly — my only child.” In spite of troubles, Larry says his life has turned out well “thanks to the grace of God. And I would like to say [to the readers] that I’m very grateful for their support. They have really jumped me up a lot and helped me in my time of need.”

Artist: Jonah Uyyek
Jonah's Bio here

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