It was announced on the news last night that Charleston SC was voted the most American city, has a low crime rate and low cost housing. They went on to say we also had the lowest gas prices in the nation. That, to me seemed like a strange thing to add to the most American city, but it is a very important part of our lives today isn't it?
Yesterday Denise and I were trying to decide if we wanted to take Tasha to the park near our house or go to Riverfront park, a favorite park across town. After checking our finances, and the gas gauge we ended up going to the park up the road.
It dawns on me, We shouldn't have to base a decision on where to take Tasha to the park on the amount of gas we can afford to get us through the week. It is a sad commentary on our times.
I remember walking to the park when I was growing up, by myself. Hanging out with my friends, then walking home at twilight, without a fear in the world. I also remember playing in the street, football, softball, kick ball with the kids across the street until 10 or 11 at night, even playing hide and seek never worrying about the stranger walking down the road or whether or not we had a sex offender in our neighborhood.
So what does being the All American City mean, now days?
I watch Tasha vigilantly if she goes out the front door, I am suspicious because I do not know the neighbors or neighborhood. But even if I did, isn't what they always say about serial killers the same thing, He was such a quiet person, I never would have guessed! So we look at our neighbors with suspicious, especially if they are quiet. :)
If I live like this in the All American City, how do those live who don't live in this type of city?
and if you are not the All American city, what countries city are you?
Charleston is a city of neighborhoods. One neighborhood gently blends into another with grace. The old neighborhoods, such as south of broad downtown speak of the cities history, of grace ladies in long skirts an umbrellas strolling down the street With gentlemen in fedora. The horse and carriage rides seem to belong on the streets more so then the cars, somehow modern life doesn't belong here in Charleston. But before you know it, as enthralled as you are with the beauy of the old, the reality of the new intudes as the neighorhood slips intot hepoorer areas, quietly without a gasp, the history of grand ladies changes to those who were not so fortunate, and are even now fighting the battle of survival. My grandmother told me once, she had never even noticed the depression:her family had always been poor, so the depression passed her by as simply the way of life she had always lived.
In a time of financial disater the middle class suffers the most, they have the most to lose The rich, have a nest egg the poor will always be with us, but the middle clas belongs not in either place, so they are the ones who find themseveles and all they have worked for slipping away as they grope for some sense of steadiness.
Charleston has a middle class, they live mostly in such historical places as St Andrews, Mount Pleasent James Island, but these places have their History as well. St Andrews used to be a large work farm for Prisioners, who toiled there day after day some whose only crime was color of their skin,and some were hanged there.
On the battery you can hear the cannons still firing, and one day I am sure I saw a soldier still standing guard tall and silently, looking out to Fort Sumter with his gun at his side, just for a moment then he vanished as quickly as he was standing there.
And all I had to do was walk three blocks south and look to the west to see the Yorktown, standing proud representing another part of our history, for a second the deck was filled with soldiers, doing their tasks ..then just as quickly they vanished.
I think, that must be what they mean by All American city. Charleston is America, American at it's mightiest. There isn't anything like Charleston, even the silence at Gettysburg, the solemness at Appomattox, the chill of betrayal at Antietam cannot compare to the feeling of Charleston.
It has it's embarrassing history, the fact the Afro Americans were not allowed south of broad after dark, lynchings, slavery. But Charleston doesn't hide it, it is after all a part of Charleston's past, so they celebrate it with everything. Isn't our past what shaped our future and makes us what we are? so it is with Charleston.
So, gas prices not withstanding, I guess we are the All American city and well we should be.
But so is yours, and the sad thing is Charleston history is there for all to see, so often we hide what makes us strong. But the good goes with the bad,and he result is Charleston. What is it in your city?