“Fallen On Hard Times”

So many stories here.

Once upon a time, my beloved grandmother, Florence Moulton Mirick Wild, born in 1877, lived at 130 Beacon Street, Worcester, with her large, extended, closely-knit, and well-to-do family. My brother and I grew up listening, saucer-eyed, to her adventure-filled childhood stories; she was a gifted storyteller of the Always Leave A Story Better Than You Found It School. (When she got to a good part, like the time she almost got trampled by Mr. Jones’ horse and sulky when she’d run into Beacon Street without looking, she’d clutch her pearls. Literally. Not in horror but in sheer, unmitigated excitement!)

Friday I spent a few hours exploring my grandmother’s childhood neighborhood—which, like so many neighborhoods in so many American cities, has “fallen on hard times.” So this will not be a story about my beloved grandmother.* This is a story about brokenness.

View of downtown Worcester from Beacon Street

This is also a story about how you tell the story. For as I learned at my grandmother’s knee, language matters. Specificity matters. Facts matter. For example, little Florence didn’t just willy-nilly run across Beacon Street. No, she ran into the path of a speeding horse—who, by the way, always sped down Beacon Street—because Mrs. Doane across the street had just invited Florence to come have ginger cake. Of course that little girl, looking like a Kate Greenaway illustration, just “dashed into the street!”

So let’s get real. Let’s tell real stories of real people who’ve lost their jobs. Let’s use concrete language when we talk about poverty, when we talk about the bottom-line decisions to close down factories or to move them elsewhere; let’s admit there’s nothing benign about neglect! Let’s not say “Fallen on hard times,” okay?   As if that neighborhood—known (ironically) as Beacon Brightly—had accidentally, clumsily stumbled when, in fact, it was pushed.

An interesting development: Right around the corner from my grandmother’s house, where a spacious and elegant home—maybe two?— once stood, there is now YouthGrow Farm! Where youth from that neighborhood can learn about urban farming, leadership skills, teamwork, and so much more. And are paid to do so.




*As a sign prominently displayed in an antique store wisely advised, “The only person interested in what your grandmother had was your grandfather!”

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1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, and greetings and salutations to you and to you AND FOR VERY ESPECIALLY FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, my awesomely precious and dearly special FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker woman who you’re FOR ALWAYS so, so very much!!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, Patricia!!!! WOW here!!!!! AWWWWW, oh, how I so, so very much love once again as usual as always as every this very well-crafted, riveting, and interesting blog post article here!!!! WOW!!!! AWWWWW, Patricia, I so love how you are so open with me and with all of us and share on your so, so very right on grandmother with here full of such "unmitigated excitement" stories like how she brilliantly and vividly described being nearly moved down by Mr. Jones' horse and sulky as a little girl!!!! AWWWWW, she sounds so full of such fun and as someone with such a brilliant creative genius I just know that she could tell such a great story, sister!!!! Sisterfriend, I can just somehow envision in my own mind as I imagine her as such a darling little girl being nearly trampled by Mr. Jones' horse and sulky and I can also just somehow see in my mind's eye as I envision you and your dear brother in my imagination as such little children very eagerly and delightfully listening with such sheer suspense to amazing grandmother Florence's so chock full of such excitement, fascinating stories!!! WOW!!!!! WOW, do I so enjoy reading more about her and learning more about her just as I remember so well that I had as well such reading pleasure reading your awesome blog post article awhile back as you shared about her in the so keenly sharp blog post article titled, "Excellent For The Times." WOW, what a sheer joyous blessing to behold even more about your so cool and creative, beloved grandmother, sistah!!!!! 🙂 <3 WOW, what a beautiful and distinguished name she had, sistahfriend, Florence Moulton Mirick Wild!!!!!! WOW, I thank-YOU, Patricia, for sharing more about this very soulful lady with ME and with all of us. Despite what the sign said in the antique store I just really so love, enjoy, and appreciate learning more about spectacular grandmother Florence and, in fact, all of your family!!!! What great food for thought and such grand reading pleasure, too!!!! I find all of this very interesting and fascinating, my dear, dearest, precious Patricia!!!!!! 🙂 <3 I can just see darling grandmother Florence excitedly clutching her lovely pearls as she told you two as such darling children all of her wonderful stories so chock full of such fun and excitement!!!!! WOW!!!!! WOW, what a joy as well to see a picture of her house, my darling friend!!!!!!!! I can just almost taste Mrs. Doane's very tasty, yummy, delicious, and delectable ginger cake which dearest grandmother Florence ate as such a darling little girl!!!! What fun it must have been of Friday exploring grandmother Florence's neighborhood when she was still alive and reminiscing about her and the glad times you all had at her home. How heartbreaking that the classist and racist policies has caused her former area to be so neglected . Your so, so very right on speaking such great volumes to such truth to power as to how there is nothing benign about this vast neglect. I love how you learned straight from the so chock full of such sagacity from your darling grandmother at her knee that language matters, specificity matters, facts matter. YOU BOTH are just so, so very right on, sister!!!!! I, too, am horrified at how perniciously pervasive classism and racism are the true causes of pushing people out and forcing these abysmal conditions on the tortured neighborhoods and communities which are very harshly neglected with the direct intent of doing so against indigent, the working poor, and working class white persons and black and brown folks, in particular those who were indigent, the working poor, and working class but also black and brown folks in general as well, sister. How interesting that darling Florence has a large, extended. closely-knit, well-to-do family and I am relieved that all of them didn't have to suffer like when that awful Great Depression hit in our beautiful country back in the day, sistah. I so love your very powerful sharing just telling it like it is like with your brilliant and quite fitting and applicable title like with the quote you used for your empowering title that the ones who spoke those words are actually being less than forthcoming when they had said that "Fallen On Hard Times," was the cause her for the downturn and you are so, so very right on when you urge all of us to not say those words which immensely belie the real and accurate truth regarding the situation and these neighborhoods and communities, sistahfriend!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! Sistah, I'm just so, so very glad, thrilled, overjoyed, and happy about the YouthGrow Farm. WOW, this is such an empowering program for the marvelous young teenagers who come from horridly indigent circumstances!!!!! WOW!!!!! And how superb that the YouthGrow farm is right around the corner from your dear grandmother Florence's home!!!! WOW!!!!! The YouthGrow Farm is such an opportunity for the young folks to gain necesary skills along with the money they need in their dire situations and, plus, they get such splendid access in the organic gardens which gives them healthy options for food for themselves and their families along with the access of the beauty of the gardens and of nature. This access would usually not be available to them in their neighborhoods and communities. WOW!!!! Oh, my so, so very right on, wondrously wonderful soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker white woman, Patricia, oh, how I so, so very much love, like, enjoy, and appreciate how you've here once again as usual as always as ever very graciously and generously feature and include such informative links here which are such a joy as I'm reading through everything. What magnificent food for thought and engaging reading pleasure as I'm reading through all of the links, my friend, Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!!! WOW here!!!!!! What a creative genius our Kate Greenaway was in her beautiful life as such a gifted and talented illustrator!!!!! WOW!!!!! I am so enjoying looking at her very realistic, life-like illustrations, sister Patricia!!!!! WOW!!!! WOW here!!!!!! Sister, as I think even more about the wonderful kids who are a part of the YouthGrow Farm I, too, say a very resounding and hearty, "Hallelujah!," and as well, "Praise be!!!!!!" WOW, this is just powerful here for these dear teens for sure, sistah!!!! WOW!!!!! WOW here!!!!!!

    Sister, the pictures which you've very graciously and generously feature and include with this very endearing blog post article are just perfect, picture-perfect here and perfectly add to and complement your very fine and excellent article to the very heights of perfection. The pictures are also very fitting and applicable to the very great themes and topics of your very salient and succinct writing here, my friend!!!!!! AWWWWW, Patricia, I thank-YOU and Spirit continually FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR VERY PRESENCE IN MY VERY LIFE!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!! WOW, YAY for YOU, Patricia!!!!!! WOW!!!! YAY!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!!! YAY for our very sistahhood and friendship, Patricia!!!!!! WOW!!!!! YAY!!!!!! YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Oh, my so, so very dearest and darling, precious sisterfriend I so, so very much love, like, enjoy, and appreciate joyously reading with such immense and blessed joy all of your masterful compositions in the written word and all of your brilliant writings as well as very delightfully and eagerly responding with such blessed joy with all of my very heartfelt and detailed, thorough thoughts, ideas, and comments with all of my responses the way I so love to do!!!!!!! I look so forward with such bursting and delightfully eager anticipation as well to each new blog post article you very graciously and generously share with each and every one of us, darling Patricia!!!!!!! 🙂 <3 !!!!!! AWWWWWW!!!!!! Patricia, YOU ARE my very life's and eternal blessings and such a joy and a blessing!!!!!! AWWWWWW!!!!!! 🙂 <3 Please have a totally thrilling and terrific Thursday, such a wondrously wonderful rest of your week and weekend ahead, and may all of your very days be so, so very especially blessed, sister!!!!! Sisterfriend, Spirit so, so very much loves and cherishes YOU, Patricia, AND SO DO I A WHOLE LOT AND A WHOLE BUNCH, TOO!!!!!!! 🙂 <3

    Very Warmly and Sincerely FOR ALWAYS, my so, so very FOR ALWAYS awesomely special and dearly precious soul sistahfriend Christian Quaker white woman who you're FOR ALWAYS so, so very much, Patricia, sisterfriend of mine, with My and Spirit's VERY PEACE AND LOVE FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, sister of mine, AND WITH SUCH BLESSINGS AND SUCH VERY EVEN MORE BLESSINGS FOR YOU FOR ALWAYS, friend of mine, 🙂 <3

    YOURS FOR ALWAYS soul sistahfriend Christian black woman AND FOR ALWAYS in the very great spirit of unity and solidarity, Sherry Gordon in Iowa City, Iowa 🙂 <3

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