Well it has been 10 years. After much research and thankfully having one of my bids for a smaller house on 5th Street not go through, I landed in Truxton Circle, eastern Shaw on a wonderful block that had its problems. I was single, younger (29/30ish), and making the starting salary of my profession (low $30K range).
Slowly, over time, this block, this neighborhood and the hood right next to it (Bloomingdale/ Eckington) have become more attractive and pleasant. There have been changes in that 10 year and I am going to try to spend the next couple of days reflecting on those changes.
Back when I began the blog sometime in 2003, and thought only a few of my friends were reading, I guess my names for people was a bit mean, Drama Momma (DM) and Cindy the Crackho, being two that spring to mind. Then there is Alley Cleaning Man, who would tape up terse messages. I still see them around. I don't still see the crazy woman who lived across the alley and would scream at her kids all night long. Nor the crackhead Velveeta, yes, someone was named Velveeta, I did not make this one up.
Drama Momma (DM) may have moved in around 2002 or 2003 with her son who had some serious anger issues. According to others she and her son had lived a block up some years before, where her son terrorized the neighbors up there. When she landed on our street it was rough. First she was f*ing loud. Stereo blastin' all day and all night loud. Then was the busted water pipe that winter. I'm the first of the basements, though I have more of a crawlspace/ basement for munchkins, and the water from her house rolled down hill and hit my crawlspace making my sump pump go off every 3.5 minutes for days. I had WASA come out and they cut off her water. She retaliated and cut off my water. She'd also curse me out on the street. She moved out sometime in 2008 or 2009 after her landlord starting losing a lot of properties to forclosure. I see her around, so she's only a few blocks away.
Cindy has been around forever. People who lived on one particular block during her working years all had a Cindy story. There was the time one couple spotted her working in the alley from their balcony, and they yelled at her. Another neighbor found her 1/2 naked in his yard cleaning herself off with a hose. She's also very friendly, she's not mean. Thankfully I haven't heard of her doing any more work lately, but she still walking around. She'll hit up the two places near us that serve food to the homeless and I'll see her taking a plate with her.
I think Alley Cleaning Man is a homeowner. When I first arrived he was the one posting signs threatening to call the city for dumping. Oh, and would our alley get dumped on. Illegal dumping was a serious problem early on. If the dumpers didn't dump in somone's backyard, they littered the alley. But as more people moved in, fixed up and put gates on their back property, that became less of a problem. Then the notes turned on us. He mistook one of IT's art installations that IT placed in the back garden as trash, and slapped a sign on B and IT's fence about the "trash". Then he put a note on my fence insinuating that I had dumped something in the alley. Now the signs are no more. I still hear him in the alley sweeping trash to the sides.