Last Summer on State Street by Toya Wolfe EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Author: Toya Wolfe
- Language: English
- Formats: PDF / EPUB
- Status: Available For Free Download
- Series: None
- Price: Free
- File Size: 3 MB
By the summer of 1999, me, Precious, and Stacia—all twelve
years old—ran around in this tight formation, snapping
through the block in neon colors like a school of tropical fish.
Sometimes you’d catch us flowing through the masses of guys
in white tees on a quick trip to buy candy from Ms. Rose, or at
Food & Liquor.
There were dudes draped around the
building’s opening, standing guard in the parking lot, the
tunnel inside the building leading to the stairway, everywhere,
really. All the spaces around the building belonged to them,
but we had our own spot, and for the longest time, no one
bothered us there.
If you drove up the 90/94, a highway built to separate
Blacks and whites without Jim Crow language, the Robert
Taylor Homes loomed off to the side of your car. The
buildings stared you down, their windows like eyes, watching.
Off the highway, on State Street, the number 29 bus would
take you on a ghetto tour, passing all those projects. You
would see building after building and people just standing
Half the structures were off-white, the other ones, rust
colored, and they’d alternate: red buildings, then a few white,
then red, then white, then red, and it would go on like that for
From the exterior, these brick towers shot up sixteen stories
in the air with neat rows of windows on one side and on the
other, iron gates running the length of each floor, creating an
opportunity for the residents to see out into the world and for
people outside to catch a glimpse of project life.
The elevator moved up and down the middle of each
building in an enclosed column of brick, and that’s where my
friends and I gathered, on the third floor, in that covered
square of space. Though it housed the elevators, it was also
spacious enough for people to carry their trash and large items
they needed to dispose of. We were grateful for its large,
smooth, cement floor, wide enough for our crew to run around
and, most importantly, to jump rope.
I watched the traffic flow in and out and around the square.
That summer, all these new faces popped up; they had moved
from closed-up high-rises. On both sides of us, up and down
State Street, there were blocks that looked like someone had
dropped a bomb, leaving the destruction of brick towers.
wires clawed out from the sides of the high-rises that were
ripped open, exposing colorful walls of vacated apartments. It
seemed random, the Chicago Housing Authority’s choice of
which buildings to destroy first; some blocks—like mine—
were completely intact, others a mess. I’d seen these horror
scenes from the State Street bus on trips downtown and knew
that the construction vehicles would appear on our block
someday, but someday could be translated into never when
you’re a kid.
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