The house I bought last year is over one hundred years old, but it was taken care of and renovated. It’s on the southwest side of the city they now call “SoWe.” The people on my block try to take care of things like trash and mowing and cleaning up porches. This street is so eclectic, so many different colors and styles and people. I don’t have a front porch, but I always try to say hello to everyone. (Yes! I have a stoop!)
Just across the street to the south is a large red home built sideways. The front doors face north, and it is condemned, for any number of reasons. The second floor balcony is beginning to fall, but I can see the ornate white gingerbread trim. I believe it is one of those city houses that fell on hard times. But when I look at it, somehow, I see it in its prime, glistening in the sun.
Just a week ago, I noticed a folding camp chair on its porch. Squatter? No. for the next day the Bilco doors to the basement were open, and a workman was going in and out doing godknowswhat. Nothing looked different when he left, but the next day, he was back again. I am hopeful. Maybe someone cares enough to fix the house.
I don’t look at these city houses the way I would have two years ago. There are people who don’t care, but there are also people who do. If you asked me what bothers me the most about where I live, I would have to say, trash. I pick it up, not just in front of my house, but around the corner and down to my garage. I even keep a white trash bag in the garage in case I need it. Sometimes, people look at me funny: “Is that woman really picking up trash?” Yes. Yes, I am.