Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Meaning for Neighborhood


That said, I feel the need to rant. I realize at this point that I have no readers, which is probably for the best. I would probably be getting hate email and losing friends left and right.

So here goes. Friday evening, as I was sitting in my garden with my husband and an old friend, fire alarms started going off. It sounded close and at least two alarms. Then we smelled smoke. My husband, Brian said it smelled like a house fire. He was right. About eight blocks away a twin house burned. A four year old boy lost his life. A family lost a son and a home. Another was burned. Cops, who have kids of their own (one of which is my neighbor) tried in vain to save the kid. What a mess. Those are the facts to the best of my knowledge.

Now for my rant. I live on a nice, quiet street. Unfortunately, guys with extra cash have taken advantage of Chester's economic problems and bought up houses near me. These landlords are renting these houses out at a profit, I suppose. The problem is, those of us who have lived here all of our lives resent these "vultures" coming in and outbidding people who would become home-owners and, hopefully, part of the neighborhood. You know, take pride in their properties. What we have instead is a constant change of neighbors. It is very stressful to us long-term owners who take pride in our neighborhood and the community. The renters moving out leave a mess, and the landlords aren't in any hurry to clean it up. Crime moves in like a stray dog living under a porch. It makes my neighbors and me upset. I have a house two doors away with a broken window on the porch. The lady next door has lived here over 40 years and is ready to move herself. I would hate to lose her as a neighbor. I've known her all my life.

Now back to Kameer. An empty house is much better than a burned out one in which a child died. We can do nothing to bring that little boy back. What we can do is reach out and treat our community as a whole. It is vital. Understanding fosters communication. Perhaps our "renters" deserve the same respect that us homeowners have. We should get to know our neighbors. We should also try to understand the differences between people and develop a mutual respect. I don't want to hear your car stereo blasting out front, and I'm sure you don't want to hear me practicing the bagpipes. Enough said.

From what I read, Kameer's family lived in a rented home. He and his family were and are still part of the community. I didn't see that fire last Friday, but I did see the smoke and smelled the smell. I know I'm not the only member of the Chester community that didn't know Kameer but will miss seeing a bright-eyed little boy out playing with the other kids. I am very sorry for his loss.


No comments:

Post a Comment