Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Ghetto Life

Took me a while, but I had to get back to commenting about Zoot's drama with the "Neighors from Hell".

I had a similar experience growing up in La Crosse. We moved to a cramped 2 bedroom apartment in the city from a sprawling 2 bedroom ranch house in the country when I was 9. My mom was finishing up her degree at Viterbo and the hour commute to and from every day after work was killing her. I hated it from the beginning...it was dirty, small and there were boundaries of where it was 'safe' to play. The park 2 blocks from our apartment had at least 5 shootings one summer. But we couldn't afford anything bigger or nicer or in a different neighborhood.

So we stayed.

For 6 years.

Until we got our own the Neighbors from Hell: They were a doped up couple who constantly foughtand rented the unit above ours. She was nice enough to me, but he always seemed to be drunk or doped up. Then one night, after bar time, they had a fight and she wouldn't let him back in our security locked building. They had an hour-long screaming match from the parking lot to her bedroom window (directly above ours).

Then he went ballistic.

He rang all of the doorbells to every apartment in our building (no one let him in). He smashed the windows on her car with his bare hands. And used the shards of glass to slash her tires. Then came back and rang the doorbells again. Finally, the police came and took him away.

I was 15 and terrified, but drifted back to sleep. The scene the next morning when I left for school was horrific. His blood (from all the glass) was all over our mailboxes, doorbells, sidewalks, railings, side of the house, everywhere.

We moved to a new apartment less than a week later. We always knew that we lived in a dangerous neighborhood, but it really hit home that night. My mom still lives in the apartment that we moved into that week. It's in a quiet, safe neighborhood. But we know what life is like in the ghetto. And it aint pretty. And that was only La Crosse, WI. I can't imagine what kinds of things children see everyday in bigger cities like LA and Chicago...


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