Tree Blue Night

It is a tree blue night in a topsy-turvy world… don’t ask why the donut in the sky.

Youngstown is now the poorest city in the nation, some highest poverty concentration rate per some report by the Brookings Institute, and thanks to two of my dear sweet sisters, I have now officially become a bag lady.

Yes, they have gifted me with my very own shopping cart. ūüėÄ

As far as shopping carts go, this beauty is a Cadillac. It is sleek, black, big and rolling on big wheels. They mail ordered it out of a catalog. It is the same size as one that the little old dude I sat next to on the bus today had parked in the flipped-up handicap seating spot, which is why I politely asked him if I could share his seat, as the bus was pretty packed full and climbing stairs to the upper level in the back is difficult for me. Okay, so most people would not volunteer to sit next to a little old homeless looking dude with a taped up clunker of a shopping cart, but he didn’t smell bad and looks can be deceiving. I figured that he was just a little old dude getting by just like the rest of us. I saw a little twinkle in his eyes, like a little smile or a giggle that he was hiding down inside.

This city having the highest concentration of poverty rank in the nation does sound pretty bleak, but then when I stop to think about it, it is all a matter of relativity. I read the comments on the news station website, someone asking how people have internet service and such if they’re so poor. Well, guess it boils down to priorities. I have internet but I watch free TV via antenna, if I turn it on at all. I wander this city via bus or taxi at a monthly cost much less than the cost of owning and operating a motor vehicle. (Okay, so I had to give up driving because my feet don’t always listen to me, not good when the foot on the gas petal ignores LIFT even if the other foot hits the brake.) And other people, those worse off than me (I’m poor but not impoverished)¬†also have to make choices… people home share,¬†get food stamps or other assistance, find ways to get by.

Rent is cheaper here, depending on the neighborhood.¬† I have a nice little one bedroom apartment in a well-kept older building with pretend security (limited access buzzer system).¬† It has¬†LOTS of storage space (four closets, two built-in¬†book shelf cupboards) and seven windows¬†provide good light and air flow.¬† It has on site laundry and off street parking.¬† Heat, water, and trash service¬†are included in the 375 month rent.¬† Just to the suburbs here would jack the rent up at least a hundred. ¬†I can’t imagine what this place would go for in NYC or LA or even Cleveland.

Okay, so I have to deal with inner city bull like occasional “firework” noises with recognizable calibers in the night air (much less than when I lived in Warren, so it is not so bad) and chemical whiffs on a summer breeze¬†of too much lighter fluid, like someone firing up a BBQ at 3 or 4 AM, not exactly sure what that is about, so yeah, there are pros and cons of living anywhere… but, this city is also rich in art, music, diverse cultures, etc.

People are friendly here. I like that. I spent three years living in my “home town” where the only people who would talk to me who wasn’t somehow related to me was a couple of neighbors and the taxi cab drivers. ¬†If I talked to someone in a store, they’d look at me all paranoid, like “why are you talking to me?” as if I was crazy or something. It is like they took that “don’t talk to strangers” rule way too serious.

I like living in Youngstown… people talk to me everywhere I go.

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8 Responses

  1. I liked the essay, Nancy. I’ve always ridden the bus and we watch T.V. with an antenna, too. I live in a beautiful house with lots of windows and storage, but only because I live with my mother — I don’t think there is anything within miles that rents for $375 — not even a room in someone’s house.

  2. Thank you Sharyn. We are blessed in many ways.

  3. I enjoyed reading your take on Youngstown, also. When we are lucky enough to really like the place we live, as you said, we are blessed. When I came here to Ellensburg, WA from big city Seattle, I was not happy, hated being away from “my” city. I had lived there or in the immediate area for so long that it was home for me, though I was born in MO. I came here to be with my daughter who was struggling with finances. I don’t help a lot, but my money added to her job helps a lot. Getting back to Ellensburg, it is a very small town(there are many smaller, but next to the city…) and it took me getting out to try to find a way to sell some of my work to figure out that this is a pretty nice place to be. Within the community I have found so much heart! Going to the gallery shows on 1st Friday’s Art Walks, I have learned more about the town, and what it is like to actually be part of a community, though a small part, because I don’t get out much. I have done some volunteering at the gallery to give the curator a break to do other things, has been the extent of it. But that is more than I got involved with in the city!
    You are so lucky to have rent such low rent! That is about half of what we pay just in rent, then there is garbage, recycling, and yard waste removal, and of course all the other amenities. We lived without cable for almost a year, but we had internet which has enough tv on it to soothe this wild beast. You are also lucky to have mass transit there, we only have a bus provided for collage kids to get to shopping from their dorms. It makes a round of the collage and the shopping areas with a few stops in between. I can’t complain too much though, it is free, but so not convinient. I walk mostly, that is why I don’t get out much, walking hurts. There is no substitute for a good transit system. Nuff bout that! Looking forward to more posts.

    • Your quaint college town reminds me, in some ways, of Kent, Ohio. Curious: is there a program for free classes there? In Ohio, anyone age 60+ can audit college classes tuition free, if space is available.

      • What a great program! This is the best thing I have ever heard about Ohio. I wish California would do this…

  4. Not sure WHY I like this picture so much, but I do ūüôā AND I like hearing more about you and your view on the world along with the pictures as well!

  5. Thanks for the idea, I will check into the audit thing, couldn’t hurt to maybe sit in on a business course or marketing something or another. Bus there and back is free! lol

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