I read Google Alerts for the City of Camden and they are awful. Mostly very bad news about some people in Camden. Bad and sad news.
But, how I wish that people who don’t live here in Camden know that thousands of good and ordinary people live here. Believe me.
Listen! Here’s a typical Camden slice of life for me, a retired teacher.. Yesterday morning I took my ten-month-old dog, Finn, for a walk in Von Neida Park in the Cramer Hill section of Camden. As he dragged me down the hill with his forty-two-pound puppy energy, my neighbors laughed and waved to us…
My neighbors were outside enjoying the sunshine—not selling or buying drugs, nor shooting each other, nor doing anything that was not lovely. They swept the little patios and driveways, they washed cars and they scrubbed barbeque grills. They welcomed grandchildren into their arms. They asked me about my dog and said he was beautiful. (True.)
Most neighbors weren’t home, though, because they were working to maintain their family and property. Their kids have nice manners when they play outside and have often shoveled our walks. My neighbors care for little gardens.
Don’t think I am a Pollyanna about living or working in Camden—I’ve had my car window broken twice as a teacher in Camden City Public Schools, once across from the former Lanning-Fetters building and once across from Wiggins College Preparatory Laboratory Family School. I had my purse snatched twenty years ago in front of the former Kim’s Market—if you’re from the old days, it was an appliance store on 27th and High Streets in East Camden.
In 1983, someone stole my new red (sob!) Toyota Celica in front of my mom’s house in Cramer Hill. Going back to the days of my youth, my purse was stolen at a party in the Student Center at Rutgers Camden…1969!
Frankly, lots of bad things have happened here, but Camden seems to be safer with more police officers—at least, here in Cramer Hill where I live.
However, please know that thousands of decent people live in Camden—ordinary people who work, take care of their homes, worship, take good care of their children and elders and even walk their dogs on sunny March days. Ordinary good people who never make the news.