We live on a corner lot and because of our location we are literally at a crossroads of neighborhood life. Across street from our house is Bowden Elementary School. Kitty corner from us is the Ella Austin Community Center which has been serving Eastside neighborhoods for over 100 years. A block away is Childress Memorial Church. A plaque on the building tells us it was built in 1908 by a Baptist congregation. The current congregation provides a wonderful community anchor. From our front porch we have a wrap-around view of community life. We can sit on our front porch and see all three of these community service and gathering places. On Sunday mornings and often times during the week we can sit on our front porch and listen to the lively spirit filled worship services coming from the church. During the school year we can view and listen to the daily start of school day activity....the sounds of children talking and laughing, the school guard whistle, the school horn signaling the start of classes or recess. The community center is busy all day with their activities....there are always people and cars coming and going.
Our front porch perch gives us great front row seats to what goes on in our corner of the world. However, lest you think that sitting on our front porch is this romatic experience of a by gone era, the reality is that from our porch we also see the gritty side of life in our neighborhood. Which is not a bad thing....it's good to have a balanced view of the world. Keeps you grounded. For us, seeing the needs and challenges of this old neighborhood has produced this interesting motivation to make this place better. We have been inspired by many of the long time residents such as Nettie Hinton, Betty and Diane Green, Hector Gonzalez, Evelyn Brown and others who love and believe in this community passionately....and I do mean passionately! They are always lifting up our neighborhood to the powers that be to bring recognition and improving the quality of life. Come to one of our nieghborhood association meetings and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about!
The point of this little ramble is that if you want to change the world you need to act, you need to raise your voice, you need to get involved, you need to hang out out with people who have courage and vision. And.... it helps to have a front porch.