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

Every Day

Photo by Inye Wokoma

Photo by Inye Wokoma

Gary was born and raised on 28th Ave South, in the Central Area. He took up the tenor saxophone while a junior at Garfield High School, played in clubs all over the Central District, and went on to join the first cohort of black jazz students allowed admission to the New England Conservatory, in 1969. He came back to Seattle fifteen years ago to care for his aging mother, who still lives in the home on 28th Ave South, where Gary grew up. He teaches jazz at Ballard High School, and he shops at the Red Apple every day. 

Gary Hammon

That store is community, you know it because it's just like going to school. You see everybody there that you basically know. I have a friend, and she says to me, "Your favorite store." Because I'm there almost every day...I'm there almost every day for something, you know I mean having my mother and needing things, so I'm if I'm not there,  it's not a day or two before I will be there, you know. So they they pretty much know me and they knew my father for years.