Everybody has parties in my neighborhood. When it first warmed up in June, I made some noise complaints to the cops because it was 2 a.m. on Saturday and I guess I was the only one planning to go to 9 a.m. Mass. So why do I care if the yellow house has a party?
The yellow house is on the northwest corner of the intersection north of my house. It's where there are guys frequently hanging out selling drugs. I think some of them knew the guys who got killed in my house. I met one guy last fall, drunk and smelling of alcohol at 7:30 a.m., who told me his version of the fire in my house, which featured cops spitting on the corpses and a near riot breaking out. It could be true. I haven't seen that particular guy on the corner that much, but I got more afraid as I lived there longer and have not gotten close enough to take a good look.
Last winter, I met a guy named Jose who moved into the yellow house with his family. He seemed very nice. The family had fallen on hard times--I gather Jose had lost his job and the family was forced to leave their home in Brighton Park for somewhere cheaper. His oldest son was at Curie. He asked me to pray for him and his family. I did. They ended up moving east of Ashland, because they didn't feel safe in a house where drug dealers stand out front day and night.
Over the summer, I was walking down the block and some guys were sitting on the stoop next door to the yellow house. "Prime fucking example," one of them said as I approached. He repeated himself, I'm pretty sure with intent I should hear. "Prime fucking example." Sounds like they think the neighborhood is changing, and not for the better from their point of view.
I was calling the cops on them last fall but this summer have been a bit afraid of them spotting a causal relationship between me walking by and cops appearing if i call too soon after seeing them. In the fall, sans foliage, I can see to the corner from inside my house, but not in full summer leaf. And I'm not here in the afternoon, when I actually think there's more trouble.
The owner finally showed up at the August CAPS meeting, saying she and her husband want those guys gone, too. She said none of their tenants are black. I hate to say it but that makes it easier for me to decide to call, since now I know for sure none of them live there.
I don't know what happened in the last month, because I thought I remembered seeing guys out there a couple of times, but last night I went past the yellow house and there was loud music blaring. Mexican music--accordions and polka-like. The front door on the first floor was open and I could see an older man in a white Stetson two-stepping with a woman. There were guys on the corner. They were Latino. There were little kids. They could have played til two in the morning and I wouldn't have said a word. I hope it's not the last party at the yellow house.