From Feb. 9 2009–Visioning Through Bi-Focals

Posted on January 3, 2011

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Visioning Through BiFocals     // Edit
   

        It has been a real delight (most of the time)to attend so many meetings relating to the interests and concerns of residents of Ward 9. “Ward Nine is
Yours and Mine” was of particular interest to me because it concerned
the block of Broadway I can see from my front porch. This is the
block on which I will be shopping when I’m old and grey. Okay,
oldER and grayER. It is of great interest to me what I will be
looking at in the final hours of my life.
        I have watched the closure of a grocery, a drug store, about five gift stores, three sub shops, a bike shop and a used clothing store.
 (And remember, I am a relative newcomer to the ward, I’ve only been there 10 years.  One person in attendence would have been able to fill us in on the days when the girls from the sewing shops bought soda at the A&P, if he had been allowed to speak–which he is being allowed to do now..)
          It was obvious from the turn-out that others shared my concern. Even out Alderman was there, with a former State Senatorial candidate. It was great to hear the points of view from everyone from a four year old to an octogenerian.
         With the exception of the Kindergarten Contingent, those in
attendence were all adults. We were a little old, and perhaps a
little opinionated, to be herded into verbal lines like we were in
second grade. Last thing I heard, the Bill of Rights had not been
repealed, nor had Freedom of Speech. Maybe people who spend most of
their time talking to toddlers lose the flexibility to join in lively
freeform discussion. Or something. Perhaps I prefer “brainstorming” to “visioning” and I prefer to listen when everyone is being allowed to express their opinions without the rather rhythmic accompaniment of cell phones and timers.  Unfortunately, some of the best comments on the subject being discussed were made outside on the sidewalk by people who had walked out of the meeting. People who are literate and write compulsively and love to communicate WILL communicate. Stifle our voices and we just go home and write.  Sometimes we even write each other….
     As my former neighbor, Steve used to say, Ward 9 is what it is,
and Kingston is what it is, and no amount of regimented comments is
going to change that. We are part of a city that is getting older
and poorer, with a collapsing infrastructure, an increasingly
disinterested public servant base, and a large percentage of the
population that would move if they could get up and go. No amount
of “Visioning” is going to change reality. The best we can do is to
preserve a constructive outlook on the reality. Maybe, considering
the emphasis on Victory Gardens, we need a garden supply store. Me,
I liked the idea of an ice cream store. Sprinkles, anyone? Hey,
Phillip, care to join me in a chocolate mint double scoop, and we’ll
write a choral poem about Visioning to the music of Harmonizing Cell
Phones?  We can investigate whether one of the clothing factories I used to work in belonged to your family.   Hey, anyone want to open a blouse factory in the former Happy Apple?  Just for its historic interest?   They used to try to shut me up in the blouse factory, too.   I’m still here, still weird, and I have a brick from the now-demolished factory for a paperweight.  “Visioning” is as much about looking back as looking ahead–that is the only way to adequately judge one’s direction.  Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it…or did I just say that?
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