As I read and listen to the news about all the things going on, it hurts my heart terribly. Why can’t it be better than it is? There has to be an answer that works for all concerned. I know the world changes, but things should always continue to be better, not worse.
I want to relate experiences I had when I was a little girl. I was probably about 6-7 years old and lived in the city (Brooklyn, NY). There, I found myself busy with all my toys, friends, school and my parents. I played a lot alone, as I was the only child. All of my cousins were older than I was or didn’t live close by. My friends and I had particular times when we could play outside. We would go by each other’s home, but mostly we played outdoors. I liked it. We had plenty of room to run around, play hide n’ go seek, ball, potsy (chalk boxes with numbers) that we play with a coin or something. The point was you had to go from #1 to #5 (or #8) without touching down with two feet. What great memories. I couldn’t pick up a phone and tell them (friends) to ask if they could come by. In fact, I didn’t use the telephone unless a relative called, and my parents told me to say ‘hello’.
TRYING TO FEEL A LITTLE INDEPENDENT
So, this is a part of the life of this little girl. I hope it doesn’t sound like I didn’t enjoy my time as a little girl. I did, and I learned to play by myself; being Mommy, Daddy, Brother, Sister, Teacher and Friend (to myself J ) while I play house with my dolls. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my childhood. It was at special times that I had wished I had a sibling.
I liked the time when dinner was completed, dishes done and put away. My parents were ready to come outside and visit with our neighbors, as we children would go the two or three houses (farthest we could go) one way or the other to play. In others words, I could go play up to three doors away from where I lived. We had to be in a space where our parents could see us at all times. Whatever adults were outside would assume that they had permission to watch us and chastise us if we were doing anything that appeared beyond what our parents would have permitted. I do remember parents would call me or anyone else out, if they thought we were beyond where I was allowed to go, or do anything which I wouldn’t do if they (parents) weren’t right there watching me.
SPECIAL VISITORS WHO VISITED THE NEIGHBORHOOD OFTEN (Like Everyday)
What am I getting at by telling you these things? Well, I heard something on the news today, and it talked about the relationship or lack thereof that people have with the police these days. I’ve thought about that a lot recently upon hearing so much stuff over the news. Our relationship with the police was great, because we knew them, and they knew us. Yes, they came in two’s and walked what they called ‘a beat’ (some of you may remember this). We knew their names, and they knew ours. Our parents knew them by name. They would greet us (children) and our parents. In fact, we’d see them coming from way down the block and would run to meet them. They would ask us how we were doing in school, explain to us the importance of listening to our parents, etc. It was nice. I think having that interaction made the police more human and not just a person in a uniform. They seemed really interested in us, and what we were doing in school, etc. It was great days, and somehow we were reassured we were on the right track as our parents would encourage us to continue.
Sometimes, as I think back or watch the news today, I wonder what happen to the neighborhood. Oh, should I ask.. what is a neighborhood today? People come and go. We wave to one another, then we go inside our home and stay there until it’s time to come out again. On occasion, there might be a moment or two to visit. In some cases, people become friends. ‘Suburbia’ is what we call outside of the city limits. We stay in our houses for the most part and mind our business. In the city limits, there is energy. Kids running around, pets outside with the owners and neighbors visiting on the porch or in the yard. Basically, people moving about. It was a scene that was very active and lots going on. People were visiting together talking about the day’s events or catching up on what’s been happening with one another.
CONNECTION & INTERACTION
I miss that today. I see my neighbors from time to time. What about you? Do you visit or interact with your neighbors on a regular basis? I believe more people do that when they live in an inner city environment. My street is really nice, but most of the folks on this street do not know one another (I would assume). Even neighbors on one side of the street or the other generally wave and get in the car or stay in the house. There are rare times when you meet and spend quality time together. How does it work for you in your neighborhood? Children bring the grownups/adults together. No children, few connections. It doesn’t exist. However, I am not saying every single neighborhood is exactly like this. I have talked with folks who talk, greet and are acquainted with people in their neighborhood. This doesn’t necessarily mean they go in and out of each other’s home at all. It just means the bonds are deeper.
Coming from an inner-city, you have no choice other than to speak. Speaking/walking with people to/from the train station, or others walking past your house will often smile and say ‘hello’. What a movement that would be here where I live. People are kind, but not very open. Most park their car, get out and head straight into the house. They stay there until they need to get in their car again and leave. I am very used to the drill now, so it doesn’t really bother me. What’s nice is seeing their face now and then, knowing that all is well, and spending more than a couple of minutes before running into the house. The children do so much better at this community ‘thing’ and personal people connection.
However, I have to run now. I’ve got to get in my car, run to the store and come back to my home space. See you and speak to you in a week or two, if there is anything worthwhile to say. Otherwise, I will post the next issue of interest that I feel may help me and others make changes in the way we communicate and view our fellow man/woman/child.
GETTING TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER
I wonder if there was a movement started where people who didn’t know one another would clearly want to meet one another. I would also like to see our policemen visit our neighborhoods just to say hello and all of us to say hello back. That would be great and lead to an open dialogue and knowledge of the people living in the city. I believe it also opens up the neighborhood to one another. We become aware who lives amongst us and be an example to other communities. Happy Talking! It is really wonderful and gives the opportunity to see each other as people who have much to offer one another as human beings.
I hope this will start someplace, and I hope that our local police department will join us in meeting the people residing in the streets of our city. Happy Living! I, Rita wish you well, and hope that the information I’ve offered will be beneficial to you and your neighborhood.
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