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Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

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Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

Postby Greg B » Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:38 am

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mli45lmhg/19-gary-ind/

I can't believe that Charles' hometown lost by one point to my hometown as the most miserable in the U.S..

So says Forbes.
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Re: Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

Postby Charles » Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:51 am

Hey! How about that! Thanks for posting Greg.

I take pride in my hometown! I'm proud that I survived the place! :D

Still love Gary, Indiana and always will. :)

Things in Gary are so far gone that it literally can't get any worse. It's so bad that it's actually getting better. The city has lost more than half its population since my days growing up there. We don't have as many ghettos anymore cuz the worst neighborhoods don't exist. The houses are gone and entire city blocks have reverted back to nature. There might be one house remaining on a block and the rest of it has become a park with trees growing where homes used to be.

I tell my students stories of growing up in Gary and they are shocked. I was doing it last night in class and laughing about all characters I knew, the violence, the armed robberies and the times we nearly had our heads blown off. Good times and happy memories! ;)

It was difficult adjusting to normal life years later. That's one reason why I fear no executives. I've never been anywhere that has made me afraid. Except when I go back home to see the old neighborhood. Last time in Gary was a little better. I'm feeling things have mellowed but you still need to be careful. Carry a Bible instead of a gun and you'll be okay.

What was your hometown like?
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Re: Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

Postby Greg B » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:27 pm

Dang! That's harsh Charles.

Things are so bad in Gary, Indiana that even the ghettoes can't survive.

I grew up in PK and NYC. I've been through it all.

PK or Poughkeepsie used to be a wonderful place with only one problem, an abundance of mentally ill people from the surround three huge psychiatric centers. Other than that it had beautiful countryside, fun inner city with four movie houses, 3 major colleges including Vassar and Marist. Then sometime during the 2000s it turned into something scary. The population started leaving, real estate bankruptcies. Businesses are rehabbing lots of buildings but the old heart of the city isn't here anymore. No personality. Just a nice facade. We now have this 'crackhead' mist of meandering criminals that poisons everything. Add to that some real psycho sicko murders that have made the big time news.

Sometimes a city can get eaten from the inside out.
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Re: Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

Postby Charles » Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:07 pm

That's what happened in Gary. Got eaten alive by stuff that was way ahead of its time.

Gary was and still is a steel city. Had the biggest steel mill on earth. US Steel plus a lot more along the south shore of Lake Michigan. There was always an undercurrent of crime but it was in the shadows. Then in the 1960s it went over the top as it became a seat of the black power movement during the civil rights era. Black Panthers and Nation of Islam mostly. Lots of gangs and a mayor that just didn't get it.

Corruption set in and crime went through the roof. We had a little grocery store in a neighborhood that was storybook Americana. Then it all feel apart literally overnight. Held up at gun point so many times I lost count. I thought it was 13 but my father corrected me later on and said it was 12. Broken into repeatedly. Miserable era for us but we survived.

One of these days I'm gonna write all about growing up there and what it was like. But we had fun times too even when it was at its worst. The good people of Gary are about as good as you can get. On days when I get fed up with LA and the absolute bs that sometimes goes on here I'd rather be back in the hood where it's real and I can love people. Probably wouldn't last too long but at least I'd die loving people in the land of my birth.

One of my ambitions is to open an art school there and bring the light of creativity back to Gary. We'll see.

Man, I can go on about about this.

I'll share with you what I see. I see opportunity there. When a city bottoms out that's the best time to move in and start building a new present and a happy future. There's so much wide open space there and vacant lots and properties and it's strategically located close to Chicago. You can get some ridiculously excellent deals but there's still the aura of its past that hangs over it. Someday new life will come back and if Gary is ahead of the curve the same thing will happen in other places too. Maybe I'm dreaming but it doesn't hurt to dream a positive vision.
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Re: Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

Postby Charles » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:09 pm

Greg check this out. I've posted these videos before on the old forums. Take a tour of not only my hometown but the very streets I grew up on.

This group is called Thugged Out. They're from my neighborhood. I don't know if they're around anymore. They could be in jail or dead. Gary has it's own style of rap. This was recorded in 2005...

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Re: Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

Postby Charles » Sat Feb 23, 2013 5:29 pm

This is Thugged Out. Take a look at my streets.

At :30 you can see the park I played in as a kid.

At :50 the McDonalds that you see is where my best friends lived before they demolished the abandoned homes to build this. The house I grew up in is right behind it.

At 1:56 is the 1300 block of W. 5th Ave and Buchanan Street. That's the block where we had our little grocery store.

The fellow rapping at 3:00 in the blue jacket has been shot dead since this video was recorded so I gather. The song they're singing is "Killaz For Life".

At 4:25 again you see the park across the street from my childhood home.

At 4:50 they're hanging out right in front of our family store. I stood on that very spot growing up many years.

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Re: Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

Postby Charles » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:13 pm

Greg, check this out. This fellow is driving through my old neighborhood on Gary's west side. He goes to Michael Jackson's boyhood home and then drives back downtown to the near east side.

At exactly 27:15 through 27:20 is where I went to kindergarten and first grade. That very spot that you see in front of the now long abandoned school is the place where I was first beat up at 6 years of age. :D



There's many other places in the video that I can point out where I romped. Too many to target so I'll just leave it at that. :)

The video was recorded only 10 1/2 months ago.
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Re: Charles, our hometowns voted worst in U.S.!

Postby Charles » Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:12 pm

Check out this animation that just went up on Vimeo.

This is a native son of G.I and my brother as we were born in the same hospital.

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