Wednesday, October 20, 2010
St Francis Center community potluck
Tonight was the St Francis Center community potluck. An email had gone out last week letting us know that it will be a surprise celebration to honor Fr Tom's retirement after 48 years in the neighborhood. It was a good turn out. I sat with a group of elderly women who made up the Druid Hill Neighborhood Group who presented Fr. Tom with a card and some cash. These women were part of the great migration from the south. Gloria, who sat to my left, had lived in Reservoir Hill since 1956 and had seen the neighborhood through good and bad times. It was a history lesson for me to talk to them. She described how, in 1992, the city had condemned and demolished a row of businesses on Whitelock between Brookfield and Linden because of the drug and crime around it. The plan had been to redevelop these lots and had been pushed through by some white folks who had recently moved into Reservoir Hill. Unfortunately, the plans to redevelop the lots were never carried out and to this day, we still have a row of empty lots including the one Ellen and I adopted.
I also got to visit with Madeline and Jacob, a young couple and their infant. They moved out here from Berkely, CA, after finishing school. They bought an apartment building on Madison, one block west of RHHP, and instantly became landlords to tenants they inherited from the previous owner. After evicting the criminal elements and finding new tenants, they set about starting a cafe on the ground floor of their building. Unfortunately, they ran into problems with the contractor and ended up firing him but loosing some money in the process. I think that I am seeing a trend here. It seems that the energy driving the changes in Reservoir Hill is coming from the infusion of people with pioneer spirits and visions of what they want in their community.