By Susan Kelleher / The Seattle Times
SEATTLE — Fifteen minutes after meeting Hillary Clinton at Elliott Bay Book Company on Tuesday, Krissy Shaw and her friends lingered among the book stacks, their phone cameras pointed to the top of the stairs where Clinton remained seated, greeting fans.
“She’s American royalty,” said Shaw, 34, as her friends nodded in agreement. “We have a queen.”
Nearby, Alice Huang hugged a signed copy of Clinton’s latest book, “What Happened,” and with tears in her eyes recounted her brief encounter with the woman she says changed her life.
“I told her that her book, ‘Living History,’ helped me become who I am,” said Huang, 35, who read the book when she was a young woman living in China. “It was so inspirational. I can’t believe that, 12 years later, I’m standing in the same room with her.”
Huang was among hundreds of people — most of them women — who lined up for hours in the cold for a chance to meet Clinton, a former U.S. senator, secretary of state, first lady and first woman to run for president as the nominee of a major party.
The event followed Monday evening’s 90-minute conversation between Clinton and author Anne Lamott in front of a packed house at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle.
There, over loud cheers, Clinton told the crowd, “For all those people who say, ‘Go away and keep quiet,’ I say, ‘Noooooo.’ I’m not going anywhere but into the debate about our future.”
The events attest to Clinton’s enduring popularity here, and the powerful hopes she stirred in coming so close to being the nation’s first female president.
On Monday night, she encouraged people to remain hopeful, telling them that she finds hope in small acts of kindness.
“That recognition of one another’s humanity. That sense of yes, we are all in this together. And that is the core of my hope,” she said. “I find hope everywhere, and I hope you do, as well.”
Tuesday’s event at Elliott Bay was an opportunity for more personal connections with her fans. Some people moved on quickly after shaking her hand, while others shared personal stories and things she’d inspired them to make.
Things like the superhero capes and skirts with Clinton’s likeness all over them that Kristy Shapcott made for her daughters, Oona, 5, and Nyree, 8. The girls spent about a minute talking to Clinton. As they turned to leave, Shapcott said, “Thank you so much. We love you!”
Many left the bookstore in tears.
“We could have had it all,” said a tearful Jennifer Longo, 45, who brought her ninth-grader, Cordelia, to the event, where people left with signed copies of Clinton’s latest book, which recounts her historic presidential campaign.
Cordelia Longo, 15, credited Clinton with inspiring her to launch a successful campaign to get free tampons and sanitary napkins stocked in her Mercer Island middle school. She seemed awe-struck that Clinton had read about her and the tampon campaign, she said.
“I’m inspired by her,” Cordelia Longo said. “She’s been through so much, and kept going.”
Sixth-grader Sophie Yang was ecstatic as she pointed to where Clinton had signed her sketchbook on the same page as a drawing she’d made with the word “RESIST,” and the phrase, “When the storm comes, I will be READY.”
“It was like meeting the angel,” Yang said. “She would be president. She would.”
Yang, 12, said she followed the election “too closely,” and took Donald Trump’s victory pretty hard.
“He’s done so many terrible things,” she said. “How can it get any worse? I tell myself every single day. And then, it gets worse.”
For people like Carissa Leeson, who teaches psychology at Seattle Central College, Tuesday was a chance to put an exclamation point on a campaign she had followed closely from its inception.
“I watched the whole Democrat convention, watched every single debate. I was there for the whole time. When she got the nomination, I wept, and it was really personal,” she said.
Recounting her brief meeting with Clinton on Tuesday, Leeson wiped away fresh tears. “To be able to share with her how much it meant … (It) was really too much.”
Reporter Nicole Brodeur contributed to this report.