Formerly Boarded-Up House Found New Life
by Tina Mary Christine
A House Named Abigail
Editors Note: We had to change our site visitor's original title for this piece, due to some technicalities about the way the site works. But the author's title is priceless! Are you ready for "You and Me and Abigail. We are going to make history! They shall not build, and another inhabit…(a quote from the Prophet Isaiah)"? Enjoy!
Visitor Success Story: What made me, a singer songwriter who lives in France, risk her last penny to purchase a boarded up house on the south side of Chicago? What made Steve Sanderson, a top notch sales director come to my rescue to help pick up the pieces investing both time and money in the house I named "Abigail" with no contract and never even having met me? If you are curious read on.
Are we looking to be a ghetto property land lords? Hell no. Is it unhealed wounds from our past? Perhaps. Does it have anything to do with the harsh and rash white flight exodus of the sixties? Yes, everything.
Not only did my folks not move but also they bought a second house down the street to help a Korean family immigrate to the US in the 80’s. Few people really know what happened on Chicago’s south side in the 60’s. As a young girl I watched the European Immigrants shake like trees and leave our quaint "Swede Hill" Chicago neighborhood one by one.
Where are they now? Many have tragic stories with sad endings. And the blockbusters? Does the memory of those dirty conniving real estate agent rats inspire me to be part of a Chicago south side renaissance? Could be. Steve has his own reasons for sharing this project with me, for one his grandma lived 2 doors down and he use to play in the house as a child.
Today the average African American frowns on what is now both their and our old neighborhood. There are gang wars, boarded up houses and zombie crack heads roaming the streets. All that can turn around. It can change!
Abigail is located near 87th and Ashland in Chicago Illinois. It is so much more than a house. It is a life loving project. It is a heart beat from the past out of love for Chicago and a ray of hope for the future of Chicago’s south side. Are we dreamers? You bet. The house is now warm, loved and lived in. Steve and I both come from families of hard working independent European immigrants. We do our best to carry our own.
Editors Comment: Thanks for reminding us all of the importance of dreaming and not giving in to pessimism about neighborhoods that have been devastated by poverty, gangs, addiction, and abandoned houses.
We also would like to say that individual acts of courage are what saves neighborhoods even more than big projects and programs.
I hope you will inspire others to take on a community improvement project that somehow resonates with their personal histories.
You have our sincere thanks for sharing this uplifting story.
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