Jan 21, 2010
My Grandfather's Horse
My grandfather lived on the corner of Chew and Jordan Streets. He butchered in a barn behind the house. For the sake of the vegans I'll spare the details, but suffice to say it wasn't for sissies. The house is still there, 301 Jordan, the barn is gone. He would deliver the meat with a horse and wagon. On the weekends, when the family wanted to visit friends, the horse insisted on doing the meat market route first. Only after he stopped in front of the last market on the route, would he permit my grandfather to direct him.
I managed rental properties between 4th and 12th Streets. Collecting rents or throwing people out is not for sissies. I developed a route between the buildings, utilizing many alleys because of the one way streets. While on my route, I got to know many people living in Allentown, and the circumstances of the different neighborhoods. I would often take pictures of people and things I considered photographic. Although I no longer have the managing job, like my grandfather's horse, I continue on the route. But things have changed, I now keep my car door locked. Not only don't I take photographs anymore, even making eye contact is uncomfortable. The streets are mean and the people are hard. Don't blame me, as an agent I always put the neighbor's comfort ahead of finding tenants. Don't blame me, as a citizen I ran for office and bluntly said what needed to be done.
reprinted from May 13, 2008