Growing Up Wallace,Memories of the way we were- and anything else that crosses my mind.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The People

Just to clear up one point that maybe needs clarification, I loved living in the Bronx.Yes, it was scary,it was dangerous, it was dirty, and it was wonderful!The night I left to come back to the Northwest, I vowed that I would soon return and once again live there.I have never been back, and now, with the illness that has incapacitated me, I might very well never get back,for it takes a lot of energy to live, work, and play in NYC.Energy, that was one of the main attractions for me.You run,don't walk, or you risk being run over by the throngs of people,cars, and buses.When the lights in the crosswalks says"Walk". it doesn't mean"walk", it means you had better sprint, for the cars don't stop for red lights.

Why, you ask, do I love it there, with all of the blight, the crowds, the crime?Because with the possible exception of the Silver Valley, you will never meet more genuine people.What?Yes, you heard me right, the people in the Bronx are some of the most real people that I have met, and I learned to respect them for what they are. Manhattan, with all of it's spender, is not like that.LA is not like that. Seattle is not like that.The Bronx is special because the people know who they are, what they are, and they never pretend otherwise.It is the underbelly of a great city like NYC that makes it what it is. It is not the magnificent high rises, the parks, the financial institutions, the concert halls, the ball parks, the theaters, it is the people who live in the underbelly that make a city.

One very rainy day I was on my way to an interview in Times Square, and I was on Tenth Avenue.My ankle suddenly did a 360, and I found myself sprawled face down on the sidewalk. My ankle was swollen twice it's normal size, and my suit was soaked.Not one well dressed suit offered to help me, but instead they stepped over me like I was dog-poop in Central Park.I needed help in getting up, and there was no one to help.Out of the alley a young lady came running out to me. She was very slight of figure,her clothes like rags,her face and hair caked with dirt.She was the perfect caricature from a Charles Dickens novel.Oh God, I thought, I was about to get mugged.Her dirty face peering down at me, she said"I saw you fall,Mister, and I can't believe that no one helped you."Her skinny hand then reached down, enfolded itself into my hand, and gently, and lovingly helped me to my feet. I at least expected her to ask for money, a practice all too common in the City, but instead, her face beamed with the look of an angel, and she ran off back to her alley as quickly as she had appeared.She didn't even wait for a thank you.

She, too, lives in my heart and mind, and I will never forget her.I have more stories about people like her that I will relate later, but I will close for now with this thought.One finds the love of God in the most unexpected people and places.NYC has some of the most elegant churches in the world.I am sure some of the members of those churches were the ones stepping over me. But, the face of God was found in that ragged little girl.God bless her wherever she is today.

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