Sunday, February 11, 2007

Neighborhood gossip

Yesterday I found out where our missing neighbor went, among other interesting tidbits. I went canvassing for our Alderman. (The primary is coming up, and since Chicago is a one party town, that's the "real" election. Some of the competition includes a former alderman who was convicted for taking bribes the last time he was in office, and another candidate who is pretty violent-which I won't get into).I like our Alderman, who has been responsive, and I think works hard for the community (and I think is honest). All reasons to get out and organize the vote.

Anyway, I got to walk around with some people who had the lowdown on the community, so I opened my ears and asked the questions. (and other tidbits were just volunteered)

Around the time of our wedding our neighbor sort of disappeared. It was really odd. This was a gregarious neighbor who really was the only one who really welcomed us into the community. Extremely friendly, and seemed like a really nice guy. Well, last I remember talking to him, I mentioned we were putting the rental on the market and asked him to be on the lookout for people. (something he said he'd do in the past). Well, he reacted sort of oddly-a little less friendly.

We had our wedding, then went away on honeymoon (this was back in August 2005) and we never saw him again. We had noone to ask, as everyone seems to be related to everyone around here. We figured that the guy either got divorced, died, or was in jail, but we didn't know.

Turns out that it was option C. The guy apparently went to jail for "drug conspiracy." We always saw him driving trucks, and new he was out of work, but didn't think anything of it. Sort of sad, as i guess he was just probably trying to provide for his family, and didn't know what to do. (not that that's an excuse, but it wasn't like he was robbing his neighbors which I think some others in the neighborhood do).

I also found out who the other criminals on the street were (this is really good information to have!), who had a problem with horses, who's wife left him, and a bunch of other stuff that Glenn enjoyed hearing.

Now, I need to figure out what other questions I should ask next week...

As an aside, the whole gentrification of a neighborhood brings about really interesting (though I think a bit sad) results. I've talked to various neighbors of different backgrounds ( ethnic background, economic background, older people, younger people, newcomers, old comers.) The commonality is that many do not seem to trust those that aren't similar. (though, oddly, I hear these things). One person (from a different background on the street) onetime told me that I was the only person he trusted (I think because of my CAPS sign). Someone else said, don't trust X person (that was a racial thing). It would be nice if we finished up some of the house more so we can invite some of our neighbors over.

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Blogger stevemanes8 said...

These things are always eye-openers. I got the low down on some people who recently moved to this block. I can't say anything about it, except to say that there are lots of law enforcement types who know who they are and got the rap sheets on every suspicious person who's walked into that house over the past year.

I'm waiting for the 4am SWAT raid I'm told is coming Real Soon Now.

February 11, 2007 1:30 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

Good for you getting out there. I did some canvasing as well and I'm excited to be hosting my first "coffee" to meet one of the Aldermanic candidates. In our Ward, there is quite a bit of discontent about the current Alderman. I am hoping for a change this time around.

February 11, 2007 5:06 PM  
Blogger Richard Cissell said...

I live in an "in transition" area in Columbus, OH and years ago someone started a roving party to get to know everyone. It involves having a 1.5 hour long party at 3 houses in one night, one right after the other. We do it every other month on the odd numbered months. Its a great way to meet all your neighbors and see the house rehabs in progress in the neighborhood. It has become so popular in our neighborhood that they were able to fill all the volunteer spots for this year in one evening. I've only been going to these for a year now and I know just about everyone in the area.

February 20, 2007 2:42 PM  

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