Polyvalent Images May Be Invisible in a World of Scapes
We moved from a very nice condominium in south-central Ohio to what is called near-east Indianapolis, before the recent purchase of our new home just outside the near-east. The near-east home was located on Denny Street where during any night from January to September we did not know if we were hearing fireworks or gunfire. Usually, it was a mixture of both. At each end of the street, near the alley entrance, we ignorantly could not figure out how come it took several months for three men or more to finish working on the same cars. Later, we learned by watching the local news that a raid unearthed the invisible. This multipart image was a stage for selling drugs, guns, and people; a lot of each.
All this was in a neighborhood that was once called the Hollywood District. RCA had a six-square block plant where electronic devices were built for Hollywood and radio parts were built for NBC. Neighbors say in all of Indianapolis it was the place to live, because one had a good-paying job, they could walk to work, good schools, churches were in walking distance, kids could play outside with their friends; even at night, plus if they worked at RCA for some period of time their house was paid for by the company.
Since the working adults had no need to drive to work, church, or the grocery store there was not a need for a car. So, none of the homes have a garage within about a half-mile circumference. The homes are of similar design because they were purchased by RCA for the employees out of Sears catalogs. Many homebound seniors I met to suffer from isolation issues. Yet talking with them the images of yesterday seem to overlay the suffering of today even if it’s just for a moment. Therefore, I try to keep them talking about their favorite memories. I think Ms. Pink would say that this is a way for me to help hone my ethnography skills.
Before Pam and I began looking for a home to purchase, we thought we would try to find a new rental to try and cut down the chronic earshot ethnography! Today, though, many of the homes are being repainted and yards dressed up while the interiors look much like the following.
When Pam and first arrived, we were much more willing to talk with our neighbors. We chose to talk to those who looked like they were longtime residents. One could almost see their memories coming out in polyvalent pictures as they talked about how beautiful and safe their neighborhood once was; before RCA closed and their lost their jobs.
After the plant was excavated, a nearly six-block pad of concrete lays bare of any legal or productive activity. Maybe after the EPA gets ahold of this, in twenty years or so, the neighborhood will have a park with homes that will shove out the long-term residents: Gentrification.
I volunteer as a pastor and my wife works for a compassionate agency that is seeking to bring new life to the neighborhood which encompasses two zip codes: rebuilding or remodeling 145 homes, serving meals, driving people to their doctors’ appointments, and now helping remodel an elementary school due to be demolished in a beautiful center for low cost senior living and daycare. (Pam brings home the bacon- we’ve either switched as the butcher or both brought home pig parts in our married life).
A twenty-second video reveals some of the school prior to what the rejuvenation appears like above.
Looking past a world of scapes and discovering a world of polyvalent images!