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Monday, December 30, 2013

Another side of Baltimore

    For many of us suburbanites our view of Baltimore is created by many negative portrayals of the city .  The local newscasts usually lead with the latest killings and gun violence in the city.  TV shows like Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire show Baltimore at its worst.  The book "The Corner", which I highly recommend, also paints a picture of Baltimore as a place run by the drug dealers.  I have blogged once before about the true heroes that are raising their grandchildren in Baltimore.
     Over the past 10 years I have gotten to know one of these grandparents very well.  I will call her Mrs. N.  I met Mrs. N when I was called by a social worker at Johns Hopkins Hospital one December day in 2003.  Mrs. N's grandson was in the hospital being treated for cancer.  He was one of 5 grandchildren Mrs. N was raising.  She has raised each grandchild from birth. Her daughter, the Mother of the children, had largely abandoned the children because of her drug abuse problem.  The social worker knew that I provided Christmas toys to families in Baltimore through the Toys for Tots program and she asked if I could provide toys to this family.  It seems that Mrs. N had told the kids that she wasn't able to do Christmas that year.  I will never forget the expressions on the kids faces when I walked into their small rowhouse with two boxes of gifts that year.
    Over the years I have always made it a point to be sure that Mrs. N's family has a Thanksgiving dinner and toys and dinner for Christmas.  I have seen her children grow up over the past ten years and most are now teenagers.  The oldest two, both high school graduates, now help Mrs. N with the younger children as her health has been deteriorating the past two years.  This year when I visited Mrs. N it was clear to see that her health had declined.  She is going back into the hospital in January for treatment and her prognosis is not good. There are literally thousands of Mrs. N.s in Baltimore on the front lines of raising their grandchildren in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Baltimore. Somehow I wish some movie or TV producer would see this side of Baltimore to show an inspiring story of true urban heroes.

P.S.
    I encourage all bloggers and blog readers to consider attending the next blog party at Alexandra's at Turf Valley.  Hocoblogs is hosting this party.  Free hors d'oeuvres ( I hate this French word--I can never remember how to spell it!!!) and a free drink coupon.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

Thanks for the shout-out about the party, Duane, and I'm glad to see your name on the RSVP list as well. The link for the party info is here - http://goo.gl/nA1jOn. And, yes, we'll have plenty of those "peskily" spelled hors d'oeuvres.