Fairview Village. Inside of Camden, New Jersey, one of the most crime ridden cities in the country. My hometown. I lived here as a child. I live here once again as an adult child. I cursed the Gods for my own decisions that as if they had something to do with everything that has led me here in a couple of years of indecisive despair. Camden, New Jersey.
Fairview. Oh how you lured me back into your grips. Oh Fairview, I am back and you have changed more than I have. You were once a beautiful Village in a fancy town. As Camden fell, you Fairview, kept your cool and were certainly a town with pride. A Village Square with candy stores, restaurants and a grocery store. Now the stores meet covered in graffiti, trash and a violent dirty smell in the air. A Hispanic grocery next to an old barbershop with a cracked striped pole.
Your boarded up houses try to keep smiling as the drug dealers hide in your shadows. Unknown and well-known murders, rapes and muggings try and hide but some of us can smell it through our tired ripped screen windows. I used to hide. Over two years of hiding I finally feel free.
Suddenly the County of Camden has sent hundreds of black uniformed storm troopers to “sweep” the town clean as they told me. Dozens standing on every block, friendly yet stern. Confident yet uneasy. To an outsider it may look like a Police State or even a Fascist takeover. To me it looks like freedom to step foot in my own neighborhood with out the fear of being hassled or even mugged. Oh Fairview, I feel something new from you. I feel hope. I see courage. I am not afraid, not because of “protection” but because someone cares about you once again. People are making the difference. The proud hardworking families can be proud once again to live in a community.
I hear echoes in your dark alleys and streets whispering complaints and curses directed at the County and the Guardians. The dark lords are in hiding and some are running or locked up. I know in my heart that you, Farview, you are beginning to see the future and it doesn’t hurt. We don’t have to hurt anymore.
Where I lived until 5th grade
Where I live now