Samiu Bloomfield lost his house to the bank. He lost his wife to illness. But he didn’t lose his patriotism to a country that isn’t even his homeland. If anything, it soared.
He became a one-man parade on a street corner.
His face is tattooed with stars and stripes. An Uncle Sam hat juts from his head. One hand boisterously waves an American flag and the other flashes a peace sign as he prances the sidewalk on Broadway and Everett Avenue.
“They like me. I love it,” said Bloomfield, 66. “Homeless people come up to me and say, ‘You do a good job.’ When I take my shirt off, everybody is looking. Man, people are just screaming and they throw me a kiss. I say, ‘Honey, I love you.’ I’m a crazy man.”
His body is like a graffiti-covered wall, tagged with tattoos from scalp to toe.
“Everywhere,” he said, with a flirtatious wink.
Good words. Bad words. Misspelled words. Circles. Hearts. Stars. Flags. Pot leaves. Palm trees. Jesus. Fornicating unicorns.
He has tattoos on his eyelids. On his tongue, the number 69.
And he has a ballpoint pen through his nose.
Handy for signing autographs.
OK. Enough! What’s up with this guy?
Readers sent emails asking me to find out.
Actually, Bloomfield is more of a Why.
Why does he do it?
“It gives me a reason to get up every day.”
Why all the tattoos promoting love for the USA?
“America to me is heaven,” said Bloomfield, who grew up in a hut in Tonga, a Polynesian kingdom in the South Pacific. “I come from a poor country.”
Why this particular corner?
Why’s there a pen through his nose?
Well, most of us can relate to the reason. “I’d lose my pen. I’d say, ‘Man, where’s my pen?’ That’s why I keep it in here. Take it out, write it down, put it back there. I have the hole.”
His house used to be the roadside attraction. The 1920s bungalow on 16th Street east of Broadway was painted red-white-and-blue and festooned with Fourth of July bling and trinkets.
After his wife, Dora, died, he let the bank take the house. “She kept track of it and I didn’t pay anything,” he said.
Now, he and his 12-year-old dog, Blue, live in an old motorhome parked in the driveway of a relative’s house near downtown. The “God Bless America” sign that once covered his front door is in the yard, which he decorated with small flags.
He’s like a bag of Skittles that always has a rainbow following it.
Bloomfield performs his patriotic show at an intersection with a QFC, KFC, Chevron and Jack in the Box.
“I don’t beg for money. I do it for free,” he said. “If they give me money, I tell them, ‘Give it to God.’ ”
He accepts some tokens thrust from car windows. Water. Coffee. Chips. Want to make him really happy? “I love peanut butter.”
Not everybody is nice. He also gets obscenities and middle fingers.
“I say, ‘Thank you. Thank you very much,’?” he said.
Mostly, though, he gets honks and high-fives.
He’s a highlight on Mitch Neuharth’s daily route.
“I think he brings up the spirits of this morally bankrupt country that we are living in today,” said Neuharth, 32, of Everett.
“I appreciate his enthusiasm. He’s not looking for a handout. He’s benevolent.”
This despite losing the American dream.
Bloomfield said he stowed away on a boat to California at age 19 to seek his fortune in the land of money, jobs, women and cars he heard so much about as a kid. He worked on a fishing boat in Alaska and at a fish processing plant in Everett. He has four children and eight grandkids.
About 10 years ago, he paid $1,500 for the face tattoo. The hundreds of body tattoos were done by Dora, using a sewing needle and ink to create art that resembles Sharpie doodles.
She’d paint his fingernails bright red and blue. “Now I do it,” he said, showing off a manicure that few men could pull off.
He doesn’t color his hair, a bushy salt-and-pepper mass. Instead, he wears the Uncle Sam hat.
He goes to the Everett YMCA in the morning to work on his washboard abs, then hits the corner to wave.
“It is something for me to do,” he said.
— Andrea Brown (@reporterbrown) March 16, 2016