Wednesday, May 6, 2009

requiem for a neighborhood

from this

We have lived in this neighborhood for 34 years.  It is an inner city neighborhood that was in serious decline when we moved in, but the price was right and, more importantly, there were no deed restrictions so we could operate our studio out of the house and garage, plus it was a very cool 100 +/- year old house.  About 7 years ago, a move from the suburbs to the city began and our neighborhood has been swept up in gentrification, being so close to downtown as it is.  Where before we had craftsman style cottages on 50’ x 100’ lots (or bigger) with mature trees and families, now we have two and three story lot line townhomes with no green space bigger than a postage stamp on every 25’ x 100’ fronted with garages.  Where before we had a mixed neighborhood of blue collar families (white, black, latino, asian, old, young), now we have young white singles and couples with dogs that they have no yard for.  Every morning and evening the parade begins down our street because our block terminates in a city park.  Most of the new people are very nice but there has also been a rash of complaints from some of them.

I miss the diversity.  I miss the families.  I miss the trees.  I miss that people strove to get along because we were all just doing what we could to get by.  

I’m tired of waking to the sound of bulldozers demolishing another cottage.  I’m tired of waking to the sound of chain saws clear cutting the land.  I’m tired of driving through my neighborhood and wondering where the hell THAT came from.  Or when?  These new homes go up so fast it’s hard to keep track.  Worse, I can’t remember what used to be there.  

It is time to go but it is hard to give up the place where we started our little studio, where we raised our two children, where I have lived longer than any other place in my life, the first place that was totally mine.  That world is gone though and we are starting a new world out in the country, remaking ourselves as our old neighborhood is being remade.

to this


  1. That's so disheartening. I can understand why you feel you're being ousted in a way. Those bulldozers are breaking down what used to be, in more ways than one. I hope you find a wonderful new place to begin again. It's still a step forward. The next stage. Good luck.

    And thanks for visiting my blog. :)

  2. I have never thought that a garage on the front of a house was a very good idea. I am sad for the lost nooks and missing natural vegitation. Perhaps it will cycle around again in time. Peace.

  3. Sad and exciting all at the same time. Moving on, things change. Keep moving...Keep moving...can you see me the tour guide, walking backwards with my hands in the air flutterinng my fingers, come hither?? A new world in the country..I'm excited for you. Good great fun luck.

  4. I don't blame you. That is just sad. Reminds me of Southern California which is why we kept leaving there.

    I mean, what does it say when you know you're going to come home looped one night and try to get into the wrong house because you can't tell the difference?

  5. I saw your comment about losing your beloved dog in a horrible fashion on Red Silk Streams....I know exactly how you must have felt. I had a similar experience last July with my old girl, Louise, a goofy sweet St. Bernard. I am so sorry for anyone who loves their pets to have had to experience this. Sad that you are losing your old home to a new neighborhood, but won't it be fun to go on to the next adventure?

  6. Thanks all. You made me laugh Verily and you too California Girl. I try not to dwell on the loss because I am excited about the new life. The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes. As soon as we get the new shop built we can make our complete move to the country. Right now we are straddling two worlds.

    Kathy, thank you so much. It was such a painful experience that it still makes me cry to think about it. That was the first time in all these years I have been able to tell what really happened. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Wow, I feel for you completely, You described this phenomenon so well. I am wondering where in the country you are moving to... we've been driving all over looking at land, but everything seems too far out right now... even 30 minutes away seems like it. Maybe you already said in a previous post. I will enjoy reading back a ways.

    And I'm thrilled you visited my blog. A fellow blogger in the same city!

  8. Ellen- I found my way here from Joy's site. (Also saw your post on your beloved dog- I'm so sorry!) I grew up in a neighborhood where every house had it's own charm, lawn, and families milled about and chatted with one another.

    It is sad to see cookie-cutter houses spring up right next to each other with no privacy or lawn.

    I hope you find something that you really fall in love with!! There is something uniquely pastoral and American about being in the country. Good luck and I enjoy your posts :)

  9. Sydney, I had no idea that the park you referred to was Hermann Park. I imagine the climate change was a huge shock. Thanks for visiting. btw, my sister refers to the chickens as the Borg. We found a place outside Wharton out 59S, about an hour out. I'm going to do a post on it and our new place soon, just gathering some pictures.

    Dani, so nice to have you stop in. And thank you. Being a city girl all my life, we are finding moving to the country to be very entertaining.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


I opened my big mouth, now it's your turn.