Thursday, June 18, 2009

Remembrance Of Crack House Past... (Summer Visitation 2009)

Photo By John Hoff

A few days ago, I spent 9 hours pulling staples out of a stairwell at Hawthorne Chair Peter Teachout's house. My son played games on my computer, keeping a window open to YouTube so we could listen to music videos together while I worked.

After ripping out "tack board" around the perimeter of the stair landing, I dug around in a wall crevice hoping to find old wheat pennies, buffalo nickels and mercury dimes. Instead, I found...

...a broken piece of a crack pipe.

The Teachouts had been aware their house was a "drug house" before they bought it (and how glad the police were when this nice family moved into that old house!) but this scorched glass fragment was the first direct evidence they'd seen of crack smoked in the house.

I find it hard to imagine that beneath those lovely wooden arches in the livingroom, in front of that dark wooden buffet, crackheads used to carry on doing whatever it is crackheads do. But the house is not like that anymore and, indeed, the entire BLOCK is not like that anymore, thanks in part to years of hard work by the Teachouts.

Now little baby feet toddle on the lovely old floors, and JoyAnne Teachout rocks the newest arrival to the family ("Baby Jack") to sleep. But in a crevice of the wall, there it is...a little reminder of how far we've come.

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