Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.

Always in the View of an Elder

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Vivian Phillips

It was. I dunno, it was home! I had a cousin and an aunt that lived on 23rd where Monica's Village is right now. I had an aunt and a cousin that lived right off of 19th and Washington, where Pratt is now. I had another aunt that lived on 20th and Alder. My aunt and uncle bought their first house on 22nd and Columbia.

I could go from one place to the other very easily and see my cousins and hang out with my aunts. My godmother, Fiona Bailey, lived in the biggest house on 26th Avenue right between King street and Lane street. She had eight kids. That was my second home. So those eight kids were all like brothers and sisters to me. And sometimes if I was caught doing something that I wasn't supposed to do one of them would rectify it. But it was you know I don't feel like...there was much room to do the wrong thing. Walking home from Coleman school I passed by, you know, all of the homes of people that knew my mom and dad. I knew all of the people of all of the businesses all along Jackson street. And so I was always in the view of an elder. It was safe.