October 30th, 2013 | by adamcarr
“You’ve been devastated, but you’re still in the garden.”
When I was looking for a new place to move, it was with me and my four children. At that time, they were 3, 6, 9, and 12 years old. So my main emphasis was on a very healthy, wholesome environment for them. I wanted a 4 bedroom house, we wanted it close to schools. Because of their ages, we needed both an elementary school and a middle school. And high school wasn’t too far off, so that was in mind. The house that we found was right by the Frank Lloyd Wright houses. I would have loved to get one of those, but it wasn’t big enough for me and the four kids. The domes were nearby, the police station was right here on Burnham, and 35th & Burnham, there was a grocery store, pharmacy, and dime store. My kids’ doctors office was upstairs from there. There was buses if we needed them. There were parks nearby. It was a wonderful place. We have a yard with a fence and trees in it. And the churches. We only need one church for ourselves, but it was a really good sign that there were a lot of churches in the neighborhood. To me, that was indicative that a lot of our neighbors also have a faith. The more that we have, the better. I like having the differences, because that way we can compliment each other.
“How long ago did you move here?”
Let’s see. About 28 years?
“So I’m 28 years old, so you’ve lived here my whole life, so why have you stayed here?”
As we got to know the neighborhood and our neighbors, we just fell even more in love with it. It’s got a very healthy mix of people who have been here their whole lives and people who will only be here for a short time. I don’t know the specific breakdown of the properties, but between the owner occupied and the rentals, it’s maybe 50/50 or whatever it is. And some of the neighbors have always lived here have passed on at 100 and some years old, in their 90s. I felt very fortunate to have gotten to know them during their lifetime and they could share with me the history of this specific region. And on the other side, there’s the neighbors who have only been here for a short time, the ones that come and go — each one adds something. Their unique personalities and things that you remember about them. I just really enjoy that a lot. So do my kids. My kids have grown up with a very worldwide appreciation, even if they don’t travel. They have traveled, but by being here, you get the same type of influences. People are people.
“You described love. I think love is a very complex thing. Love involves being hurt, love involves celebration, love involves commitment, love involves sacrifice. It involves all these different things, and it can go through seasons. One of the things I’ve found in having conversations with people around here is that a lot of times people have these very complex relationships. In one breath, they’ll say, ‘I love this place. It’s perfect.’ And in the next, they’ll say, ‘It drives me crazy. There are these problems around here and it worries me.’
By having the complexity of the neighborhood, as I’ve already started to say — When there’s the difficulties and trials and challenges of life, which there always will be, it’s very easy to realize that we’re not alone. I’ve lost people who have been very very close and dear to me. So have some of my neighbors, I’ve lost a lot of neighbors, but then again there’s new neighbors. It’s an ongoing thing. Because our neighborhood is multi-generational, it’s a way of life. If you live somewhere where everybody’s pretty much the same, you’re all gonna get old at the same rate. You’re all going to be dying at the same time, sad to say. Not to say that we haven’t had difficulties, because it’s true. We’ve gone to many funerals for some of our Vietnam vets and a World War II vet. One lived a couple houses to the south and the other a couple houses to the north. And yet, we’re all part of the community and by being able to be there for each other, it helps me to realize that whatever I’m facing, I’ve also got the love and support of the community. Whether I vocalize it or not. Sometimes you have pain and problems that are so big and so strong that you can’t really put the words out. Even inside of you, you don’t want to deal with it but you have to. And sometimes being around other people that you realize would be loving and helpful and supportive in every and any kind of way. Just knowing that, even without telling them, ‘I’ve got cancer’ or ‘Somebody very significant to me died last night.’ You have like a cocoon. Like a nest. You’re still in the garden. You’ve been devastated, but you’re still in the garden. There’s still going to be little children laughing and smiling and playing. The older people are still going to be happy to see you. They’re gonna smile when they see you. As soon as you realize you’re not happy, they’re gonna be concerned. But by living in such a community, you’re pre-destined to be able to go on. To deal with whatever comes, because you’ve been there to help other people through their hard times and that’s helped you to grow. Or me to grow.