I got an email today from a reporter at The Pitch, an online Kansas City newspaper. Evidently he found me on Google after typing in "Harlem" as the search word. Here's what he had to say:
"I am a reporter for The Pitch, a weekly paper in Kansas City. I saw an interesting blog you wrote about the Harlem neighborhood in Kansas City. I'm interested in doing a story of some kind about Harlem, because I don't think a lot of people know it exists. I was wondering if you might have some time to talk soon about Harlem, share your memories, give me some ideas of interesting things about the place. Let me know? My contact info is below. Hope to hear from you!
If you do a search on my blog for Harlem, you will find several entries. See for yourself by clicking HERE.
I will gladly share my memories of Harlem with anyone who asks. I think I have cousins who would remember more than I do, but I'm not so sure if they would be interested in talking about it. See, I am the one in the family who, in spite of the fact that I am an introvert, doesn't mind spilling my guts online. I'm not so sure about the others.
We moved to Harlem once for a brief time, and there was actually a small, three-room, grade school there. They moved me to a higher grade than I had been in, in Iowa, and I hated it to the point where I even hid under a desk to keep the teacher from asking me questions. We probably didn't live there more than a month that time. My parents liked to move.
The second time we moved to Harlem, we had been living on a farm at Eagleville where Daddy worked as a hired hand and my mom worked at a grocery store and for a while at a cafe/truck stop. I loved living in the country, and I hated being in the city. If it hadn't been for the Missouri River, I might have never stopped hating the city; but because I could climb up and over the levee and look at the river, I found some sort of peace. I also learned to love the Kansas City skyline while looking out the window of our three-room apartment: the KCPL building, with changing colors at night; the Folgers building, with a giant can of Folgers lighting up the sky. It was a sight to behold.
Harlem was a poor neighborhood, and we were among the poor. I wasn't always happy with the hours I spent at McElroy Dagg elementary school, and I have some really bad memories of riding the school bus (why wouldn't the bus driver, who was attending the Baptist seminary, make those boys who were holding me down in a seat STOP? It didn't go too far, but I was terrified.
Nevertheless, I have good memories of Harlem. Our first television. Living so close to the airport that I could walk a little way up the road and watch planes taking off and landing any time I pleased. Climbing the steps up to the ASB bridge. Awesome!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. But the good memories outnumber the bad.