Saturday, May 09, 2015

Here & There




It's been so long since I've posted. Life is changing.  Before the Fall, I'll be leaving the farms of Western Massachusetts, and this little house. I'll be leaving the best yard with the most sun I've ever had. And friends--I'll be leaving friends. 


I'm heading to the ocean. Provincetown on Cape Cod, to be exact. Population up to 20,000 in the summer and as low as 700 in the winter. JB and I are moving into our little cape house and we're determined not to clutter it. That means decisions about what to keep and what to leave. The place has an ocean simplicity to it: it's white and airy and relaxing and easy. But first, we have a house to sell. Wait, did I say one? Because it's TWO--my parent's house is going on the market at the same time. It is two hours away from me and in need of a cosmetic we won't do to my satisfaction. I hope some one, a family, walks into it and calls it home. It's been home to me for many years. My father and grandfather, and my uncle Sammy, built it themselves. That house too needs packing and cleaning and sprucing up.

It's all a bit overwhelming. I have a to-do list with at least 30 calls or arrangements to make a day. Masons and carpenters and emptying closets and file cabinets and Home Depot screw-ups and my work and the story of Christine Macabee and her family. And of course my own precious family including four littles, ages 8, 6, 3, and 1. And traveling to and from. 

Whew. 

This is the house where I'm heading. We'll be one block from the public beach and feeling the late afternoon sun on the back deck. I'll be writing and working and gardening here. I'll socialize. We'll adopt a shelter dog and I'll search for a publisher. If I'm smart, I'll also get myself in way better shape and not fail to regularly count my blessings. 




I'm also involved in the larger world. I've been following the events in Ferguson Missouri and now Baltimore closely- the black communities and poverty and the police. I think I know a lot about all this. I worked in a very poor inner city for five years as a therapist and I saw my clients in their homes and with their families. Plus I'm a counselor and I understand some things. 

The opportunities that used to exist don't. You can't make a real living on minimum wage. Not even on $ 12.00/hour. And even if you might come close, there are no jobs in the poorest communities. And no transportation. You get hired in a neighboring town and take three buses to get there and you get fired because you're too often late or you quit because three buses and four hours of traveling and eight hours working for $ 8/hour is  too much. Honestly, I don't think most of us would or could sustain that. But it's not just that. The effort puts you behind, not ahead.  

This is a reason why dealing drugs is high in poor communities. It's a way to make money. And a good deal of police activity is controlling drugs. It's a victimless crime but with great risk if you're a black male and you happen to encounter the police over it. That is just the way it is. Sad to say the facts bear this out. 

Petty drug dealing and use is a root of poverty, not to omit that there are also plenty of families in very poor communities that have nothing to do what-so-ever to do with drugs or crime but are also part of the cycle of poverty. It might look like a lack of motivation among those folks who could but don't work, but it's just the tip of it. I assure you that 2/3rd of my clients on welfare would work or agree to work if it wasn't so difficult and there wasn't so much to lose:  Public housing. Day Care. Food Stamps. Fuel Assistance. Health Insurance. Add those benefits up and you'd best be making $ 20 an hour or you won't even come close.

What's needed? Real Jobs. Unskilled and skilled both. And transitional or permanent supplements for paychecks that hover at the poverty level.

I wish I had the time and energy to contribute to solutions. But I don't and won't. Not to say that I don't look for ways to do my share, because I do. The thing is, I'm not as optimistic as I used to be, but I see more good than bad in most people and in the world. For me, that's my ace in the whole.

Best wishes and love,
kj



26 comments:

  1. I just became a whole heck of a lot closer to the world that you speak of. Whew!!! We, as a nation and a community have A LOT of work to do.

    In the meantime, though, I am house/kitty sitting on the beach in Maine. It's been many, many years since I've spent more than a week on the beach. I've fallen in love all over again.

    Hurry and get those houses sold so you can get to P-Town!

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    1. cindi, ah maine. it's such a great state. enjoy.

      love
      kj

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    2. Saya sangat bersyukur atas rahmat yg diberikan kepada saya dibulan ini karna alhamdulillah melalui MBAH RAWAIRE saya sekaran sudah bisa sukses atas nomor yg diberikan kepada saya dan saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW dari singapur yg gajinya tidak pernah mencukupi kebutuhan keluarga saya dikampun dan alhamdulillah berkat bantuan MBAH RAWAIRE kini saya sudah bisa pulang kampun,saya bersama keluarga dikampun sudah punya usaha sendiri dan saya tidak pernah menyanka kalau saya bisah seperti ini,jika anda ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi MBAH RAWAIRE di nomor 085-316-106-111...karna alhamdulillah saya menan nomor togel dari MBAH dan kalau uang indonesia 750 juta,,ini bukan rekayasa dari saya dari IBU RISKA.untuk lebih lenkapnya silahkan buka SITUS MBAH RAWAIRE












      Saya sangat bersyukur atas rahmat yg diberikan kepada saya dibulan ini karna alhamdulillah melalui MBAH RAWAIRE saya sekaran sudah bisa sukses atas nomor yg diberikan kepada saya dan saya yg dulunya cuma seorang TKW dari singapur yg gajinya tidak pernah mencukupi kebutuhan keluarga saya dikampun dan alhamdulillah berkat bantuan MBAH RAWAIRE kini saya sudah bisa pulang kampun,saya bersama keluarga dikampun sudah punya usaha sendiri dan saya tidak pernah menyanka kalau saya bisah seperti ini,jika anda ingin seperti saya silahkan hubungi MBAH RAWAIRE di nomor 085-316-106-111...karna alhamdulillah saya menan nomor togel dari MBAH dan kalau uang indonesia 750 juta,,ini bukan rekayasa dari saya dari IBU RISKA.untuk lebih lenkapnya silahkan buka SITUS MBAH RAWAIRE

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  2. Let me start by saying you're both making the right move to permanently set up shop in P-Town. You don't get much closer to the beauty and the fury of the Atlantic than a block from the public beach. I personally think some of my finest days were as a sailor in the 6th fleet.

    Secondly good luck selling your two homes, i think the one that you family built would be the harder to let go of kiddo. But may it find the right folk to breathe fresh air into it.

    You know the area of Baltimore they decided to burn their own homes and business' in is a mirror image of where i live in Detroit. 50% unemployed, 23% HS graduation, pretty much abandoned by any law enforcement agency (we went through our police vs black citizens from '64-'67). Now that portion of Baltimore will get a highly reactive police force and every shift will have more NPF (No Problems Found) written on them than ever before. wonder how they will like 6 hour to never response times. The cops nationwide, rightfully or wrongly are under siege, why would they put themselves in the middle of a gun fight between rival drug dealers or crazy fighting couples. It's easier to bury the dead or write NPF.

    I think most of what you wrote about the situation kj, was insightful except you left out that much poverty is generational, and at least here, when the 250,000 manufacturing jobs left, education had already been devalued. Now it's front page news 9seriously) when one man beat the odds and graduates college (tomorrow).

    The median wage in this country is $24.57 hr. or $56,000 obviously LBJ's great society was not the right roadmap to get there but then Malcolm X and MLK were murdered--those two may have been able to lead the Black community to respect itself and educate. There has not been a leader like either of them since, them that came after with few exceptions were pulpit pimps sheering the sheep.

    But then what do I know? Another few years, maybe, and it won't matter to me anymore. i will have cycled out of this place that has been grinding me down since the end of the halcyon days.

    Be Well babe and remember lift with your knees.

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    1. mark, you're right about the emotion of selling my family home. plus it's in disrepair and my Father would roll over from that. your insight about NPF is chilling and no doubt accurate and understandable. it's so crazy and sad. i completely agree about poverty (and passivity) being generational. what i do see, with some hope, is a lot more black professionals--newscasters, politicians, writers, business owners, who have something to say and who have a valuable perspective, with balance. i have hope from that. i am disappointed that the last 8 years have not been about jobs. damn it--Jobs. whether it's mandatory or voluntary, that's got to be the key.

      thanks for your encouragement. you know i love you.
      love
      kj

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  3. I was just made aware that my daughter helped a young woman who was falling fast to get her GED and apply to community college. Sadly, people are falling through the cracks faster than society can (or wants to) reach them. I want to believe that if each of us does something we can turn the tide, but even usually optimistic me is losing hope. *sigh*

    I do wish I lived a little closer to you. I am quite handy and will work for food.

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    1. 8, the problem is huge. it's going to take transformation, and our leaders and politicians aren't great at that. and males in the black community needs to somehow find and hold on to empowerment and family.

      i am thinking about how to see you before I move. that is on my short list.
      love love
      kj

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  4. I would buy your house, it's lovely. To be honest though, I wouldn't want to live in the States. There is too big a gap between the rich and the poor. It's getting that way here but just barely. It's not the way I want my world to go. Last week my conservative province elected an NDP government. NDP stands for social democracy which I'm hopeful will make things better here. Alberta got tired of corrupt politicians and lies.

    I think education is the best way to move people and society forward. My son, the drug dealer who was twice jailed, just graduated with his business degree last weekend. He's depressed though because he doesn't think anyone will hire him. He texted me that rehabilitation is a lie and doesn't apply to people like him. He made mistakes and he did the time. I am hopeful that a company will look at what he's done since he was released.

    I hope the move and the sales all go smoothly for you. Enjoy your lovely new home.

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    1. thanks deb. i hope your son has some help with his job search. he's right that there are barriers and assumptions and hopefully there are programs and people to make sure he operates from a clean slate. i am rooting for him for sure. i'm also glad to hear about social democracy! the u.s. has its troubles.

      love
      kj

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  5. Good luck in your new home,interesting post and comments.

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  6. Good to hear from you, Karen. Keep calm and sell two houses :-) You have to have just two buyers and you can go to the beach.
    Poverty, drugs and no education: it is a pest!

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    1. great advice, wieneke. sometimes it's only about poverty too. once you're entrenched in a poverty neighborhood,, it's hard to break out, even with support.
      research has confirmed this.
      love
      kj

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  7. Good luck with the move and everything connected to it.

    As for the rest: this country has just signed up for another five years of misery with the rich getting richer and the poor disappearing into black holes.
    Although I belong to the ‘have enough’ class, I wish I could live in a country less mean and nasty than the one in which I am now stuck.

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    1. i feel the same way, friko. operating on a belief of scarcity rather than abundance makes people mean and blind. breaks my heart.

      love
      kj

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  8. What a thoughtful, moving post.
    I wish you the best of luck in the changes in your life.
    Let me know when you are in that house at Cape Cod, I'm on my way!!
    (Just kidding, I hardly ever get out of Georgia, unless it is to visit my in-laws in England.) Take care.

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    1. thank you kay. i think you would like cape cod, since you're already surrounded by beauty!

      love
      kj

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  9. Big moves ahead for you KJ - I'm excited for you and JB - and the shelter-dog-to-be-adopted! xo

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    1. yup, big moves, amanda. we keep trying to figure when we can adopt that dog, or two. it's been a breeze to come and go without planning, but it's only temporary :^) hope all is well with you,

      love
      kj

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  10. That's very exciting to know you're finally making the permanent move. I know it's bittersweet, though.

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  11. cs, it's happening. i'll be glad when it's behind me :^)

    love
    kj

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  12. Drug dealing a victimless crime? I guess it depends on the drug—whether it destroys its users, forces them into crime, causes gang wars, puts children in danger of abuse and neglect, and victimizes the drug’s producers and transporters who are often desperately poor people who have no good options. Of course, if every drug was legalized—or at least decriminalized—fewer people would go to prison, but might not drug-use itself skyrocket as drugs became more available and prices went down? I suppose another approach might be to greatly increase the penalties for drug distribution.

    “I wish I had the time and energy to contribute to solutions. But I don't and won’t.”

    Maybe you would if you hadn’t lost your optimism.

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    1. I should add that I rely heavily on narcotics for pain control, and that there is currently a DEA campaign to portray narcotics as horrible drugs that kill people by the thousands and, by implication, have no therapeutic use. The DEA is doing everything it can to threaten doctors and to make narcotics harder to get for those who need them. I wouldn’t be surprised but what the day will come when I will be one of those who is out of the street looking for heroin because the DEA has so intimidated doctors and been so successfully in its campaign to vilify drugs that I can no longer get what I need for pain control. I decided some time ago that a life in pain isn’t a life worth living, so if I can’t at least alleviate the pain enough that I can have a life, I won’t choose to live. If alleviating the pain means heroin, then I’ll use heroin. No one hates the DEA more than I, because I have no thought that their bottom line is helping people but rather getting funding by trashing the very drugs that suffering people so desperately need.

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  13. KJ! I thought my life was busy, but I can see it's not as busy as your's. You are an inspiration! You know where your priorities lie and you are caring and giving. All the very best with your move and all that it entails. I know what it's like to downsize and clear - I've been doing it for the past few months in our readiness to move into a smaller space in order to make way / room for family that have arrived back from overseas. I have boxes packed with stuff I may never unpack. It'll be interesting to see what I will miss and what I will forget I ever owned. (They are only things after all).

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