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

Pumpkin Pie

Photo by Inye Wokoma

Photo by Inye Wokoma

Roberto “Chuy” Amaral’s family moved from Nayarit, Mexico, to Seattle, when he was 8 years old. He has worked at the Red Apple for 16 years. When he’s not working at the Red Apple, he plays with local Mexican band, Banda Vagos. 

Roberto Amaral

This lady, her son is autistic, so he has a hard time with a lot of stuff. He likes pies. He likes pumpkin pies. She goes every day to the Red Apple, and she will buy him a pie. Sometimes she doesn’t have enough money, so sometimes the cashier will complete the money. Most days he gets his pie. Think about that. Think about how hard it’ll be for that kid to go there and not have that. Makes me cry.

There's this lady that used to come in, in her walker, in her wheelchair, the electrical scooter? And I used to see she was fidgeting with it a lot, you know, what's going on, so I was like, "Hey you know, I notice that you've been having a hard time with that, for a couple of days, could I see that?" She's like, "Basically it's like $150, but I need to order a part." So you know, I took a look at it. It was something easy. It's like a paddle if you press it one way it goes forward, you press it the other way it goes backwards. I grabbed a box knife, I put three holes through it, and I put in on there, and it worked fine, perfect. That's a lady that lives at the Cannon House.

A lot of times, people are short on their bill, so a lot of times, the cashiers will help, out of pocket, there you go. You know. Especially when it's like families and stuff, you can tell they're having a hard time. 

Right across the street, they're apartments, but they're also I think assisted living. And most of those people walk. And then if you cross the street towards Yesler, there's that place called the Cannon House, and you know most of the people there either walk or have their little scooters. My mom used to stay at the Cannon house when she was alive and you just basically get a breakfast, lunch and dinner, you know. If you need a snack, then you have to take something from your breakfast or from your lunch, you know, like an apple or granola bar or something, and take it up to your room, but otherwise you don't have anything that you would really want to eat, so they go to the Red Apple to get stuff from the deli, or little treats, or seeds, or something to drink. So I mean we get em all day, all day, all day just driving their little scooters over, or walking with their walkers, stuff like that. So it's going to be really rough for them, really tough for them to head down to the valley or head up to Madison street, you know to a bigger grocery store, you know cause, yeah, so it's gonna be tough for them.