Last updated on September 5th, 2012 at 04:04 pm
No city in America has a monopoly on the homeless, but Seattle has one of the most unique.
Although his name and “address” were identified in the local newspaper, we will call him Thirteen Moons and his dog Waverley, for his dog is indeed his best friend. A wolf and husky mix, the canine doesn’t really know that he is homeless, just that he is loved.
What makes Thirteen Moons’ existence different among the 2,400 homeless counted living outside, according to the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, is he and Waverley live on a 14-ft. aluminum rowboat under a bridge.
It’s not the bridge over troubled waters you might think.
At age 51 (and Waverley nearly 10), the duo are proof that a home is what you make it. The streets were not an option.
“I’ve got a lot of stuff,” he told reporter Erik Lacitis. “I didn’t want to schlep it around town like some tramp. I’ve got more dignity than that.”
Underneath a brown tarp is a piece of plywood across the benches for his bed. Thirteen Moons sometimes reads or listens to Mariners baseball or classic hits on his battery-powered radio headset as the noisy bridge traffic above competes.
There are no drive-thru or home delivery pizzas down here. A Coleman lantern and stove (ventilated, of course) provide light and heat to warm up soup, or fry fish. Yes, with five spinning rods and a supply of worms, Thirteen Moons hooks perch, bass and sometimes trout.
How does he survive cold days and nights? He turns up the thermostat by adding two or three layers of clothing.
The $636 a month disability check he receives from the government (roughly $21 a day) enables him to take the bus to the Safeway on Capitol Hill, where he buys food for him and Waverley.
Thirteen Moons’ adaptation of a home security system is anchoring his rowboat about 10 feet out, then pulling on his waders for a walk to the shore. Any intruders who might pay a visit while he and Waverley are gone will have to wade into about three feet of muddy water. However, once he returned and someone had rifled through his belongings, and another time someone untied the boat and it drifted away.
Drifted is what Thirteen Moons has done most of his life, finding his way to Seattle in 1980. Growing up in Massachusetts and Florida and devoid of any real family life, he had
to find his own way. He stays in touch with a daughter, 24, her mother now deceased.
Along the way, he taught himself guitar and earned money as a street musician.
“This hippie in New Orleans told me about Seattle, said they wouldn’t persecute you for playing in the streets.” He quit playing last year because “my wrist kept falling asleep” due to tendonitis.
His disability, attention-deficit disorder as he describes it, is the kind “in which like I had 40 jobs in two years, and I got fired in all of them…Burger King, grocery store…sometimes I can’t shut my face.”
Unless the Coast Guard comes looking (likely, now having been featured in the newspaper), Thirteen Moons and Waverley are content to watch the stars.
“It’s a very peaceful experience.”