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Ed McWhinnie

Ed “Fast Eddie” McWhinnie

(1945-2007)

This page is a tribute to a great friend I met during my time living in Seattle.  In the spring of 2004, I decided to make a big change in my life by moving from the Twin Cities to Seattle.  I planned to live very cheap and found a boarding house in the U District on 11th Ave.  I didn’t know much about the area, only that it was centrally located and I could rent a room for $400/mo.  After hearing how expensive Seattle was, I was happy that I could sacrifice personal luxuries in order to enjoy my new city.  My plan was to find work and get in shape during the process.  There wasn’t much I could do in the winters in Minnesota and it seemed like I packed on 10-20 pounds every January.  I was kind of tired of that and wanted a new active lifestyle.

After a few months in Seattle, that is exactly what happened.  I got thin after using the city as a “playground” by running, walking, hiking, rollerblading and biking everywhere.  I did not want to spend too much time in my small room sharing a bathroom on the floor below and a weak wifi internet connection.  It was never the plan to stay home anyways, the boarding house had some OK people in it from what I could tell.

There was one “old guy” that lived on the 2nd floor next to the bathroom that I would see from time to time.  He wore glasses and was often in a bathrobe.  I did not know what to think of Ed when I first met him but we always had pleasant hallway conversation despite our poor living conditions.

As the days went on with me coming back home from all-day walks and workouts, I wasn’t the only one to seek out Ed for a chat, he got along with everyone!  It was amazing for an old man to be the “Social Center” of the building.  He had visitors at all hours of the day and night, some buddies lived outside the building as well as several of us who lived in the house.  Even though we were from completely different backgrounds, Ed could bring harmony to any group of people.  Always upbeat and interesting.  He later told me that verbal storytelling was a lost art with young people.

Ed became a great friend over the course of the summer.  He always backed me in what I was trying to do as I was starting over again in life.  He appreciated Seattle and taught me a lot about its history.  He talked about drugs. women, money, travel, sports and the “glory days” of the hippy revolution.  He really loved talking about the 70’s when he owned the blue Moon tavern down the street.  But despite his great storytelling, he wasn’t stuck in the past.  He was very interested in what was going on around him.  He could connect with people.

Ed was a lovable alcoholic, I’ll never know if all his stories were true or not!  Regardless, he’ll go down as one of my best Seattle memories and I’ll never forget him.

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