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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The New and Trendy Neighborhood

So, just now, from a post on news://alt.callahans, I was thinking about neighborhoods and neighborhood improvement.

And I thought about my old neighborhood.

I grew up on the vague edge of the agricultural lands on the outskirts of Duluth Minnesota. My Dad had our house hauled to the site on the back of a flatbed truck -- it was two rooms, at the time.

My grandfather used to grow potatoes in what turned into our back yard. He gave up part of his planting ground for Dad to put his house on. At the back of the half of the property that became my Dad's, and my home, there was a scruffy old shed, where my Grandfather had kept chickens for a while, and stored coal for a while. And there was the outhouse. My Mom could explain in detail what a "wringer washer" was, and how that was a the tech cutting edge at the time.

As I grew up, my folks got a Septic Tank & Field, which was replaced (the next year) with a connection to City Sewage (because the City would demand payment anyway). They added rooms, and a basement, and a "yardlight," and a bunch of other stuff. Say, for example, five kids. A ridiculous number of cats, and occasionally, dogs. Turtles, fish, mice, Guinea Pigs, hamsters, and so on.

My older brother and his friends built the Fort up in a tree, back a way in the woods behind our house. There were trails throughout the "Thirty-Acre Wood" behind our house, and we wandered on them all,

There are dozens of other "new things" that happened for me, growing up, in my neighborhood, and at My House. I gather one or two people may have mentioned details of the history of the '60s and '70s. It was my home, and I miss it.

A few years after my Dad died, my Mom sold the house. I lived in other states for years. Right now, the house is owned by some strangers. I can't go home.

I mention all this because I remember when The Mall was built to improve the value of the neighborhood. They started out by causing the death of someone who lived right on the border of their site. Some old lady, would have died anyway, just ask them.

Her husband was moved (by financial force), house and all, to the lot where my Grandfather's farmhouse was located. They just plowed it under, antiques and all. No warning.

But they paid money, so the fact they ignored their contract about notification of distruction is beside the point. And after all, they were Improving The Neighborhood.

I was gone for 13 years. Recently, I went back through the neighborhood where I grew up, that The Maul improved.

One entire side of the street, the equivalent of five or six or more city blocks, is mostly empty. Almost all the homes are gone.

The other side, the side I lived on, only 70 or 80 percent of the homes are gone, and the rest are huddled -very- close together. Not that they've been replaced by commercial sites. The remainder is utterly abandoned. The only marginally commercial site was a church, built when I was a child, since torn down.

Only one site has a business on it. The corner where they caused the death of old Mrs Stafford, is still bare ground. And all that new available Commercial Zoning is ignored, and returning to raggedy woods.

And The Maul is dying, and more and more of their tenants are moving outside of the city limits. So we'll have a demolished and abandoned residential neighborhood -AND- an abandoned and weed-ridden former Maul, with one tenant, suing to force it to remain open.

Sure glad to have the developers doing such a wonderful job of improving my old home stomping grounds. God forbid, we should have Residents in a residential neighborhood.

So, how's your neighborhood? Anyone still living there, who's not required to as a condition of their parole?

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