All my life I've lived in Garden Street; it's always been the place where I've called home. "G- Street" as we call it now was named "Garden Street" because of its beauty. A tailor who lived in the neighborhood at the time of its purity loved the beauty and serenity of the neighborhood, so he named it after his last name, which was "Garden." Garden Street was once an area where many different flowers and trees grew and flourished in the radiance of the island's tropical sunrays. Everyone in the neighborhood looked out for one another and cared about each other. They all followed one of the most important commandments written in the Bible, which is "Love Your Neighbor as Yourself."
If one neighbor saw another neighbor's child up to no good or simply just misbehaving the neighbor would not hesitate to correct them as if they were their own child. The neighborhood was filled with many moms, dads, aunts, and uncles. Everyone was polite to each other, and treated each other with the utmost respect. One neighbor would never walk past another neighbor without greeting them and sharing a few kind words, before they went on their way.
On Sundays most of the families attended the historic All Saints Church faithfully. This was something traditionally known to the people of Garden- Street. After church there would be fish fries and block parties. This would last from the afternoon until late in the night.
Garden-Street was a neighborhood that had well built homes, with beautiful gardens in front of them. A lot of prominent doctors and lawyers were born in the neighborhood in those days.
When I was younger I remember playing outside until the streetlights came on. There were no worries of being shot by stray bullets, or even being taken by strangers. There was peace in the neighborhood. Garden Street had no "turfs" or a "block," and there were no gangs and drug dealers to speak of.
But over the years my neighborhood has undergone many changes. The crime rate has gone up, the buildings have fallen into disrepair and the male population has gone down. The once peaceful garden has now turned into a dreadful graveyard.
I was about ten years old when I first heard gunshots. At first I thought it was fireworks and in much anticipation I quickly rushed towards the front door to see the red, blue, green, and purple display. But as I raced towards the door I was met by my horrified mother. She quickly locked the door and ordered me and my brother to turn off all of the lights. This was a very new experience to me because I never saw the look of terror on my mother's face before. My mother slowly explained to me and my brother that the noises were not fireworks but the sound of gunshots. Later that evening I overheard my mother say while she was talking on the phone, that our neighborhood was no longer a safe place to raise children.
Over the years I've gotten used to the sound of the gunshots. Almost every night before I go to bed like an alarm clock I hear the firing of gunshots. I've even learned how to categorize the different guns by the sound of their shots.
Instead of prominent doctors and lawyers, murderers and drug dealers are now being born and raised in G- Street. Every morning that I wake up I see the young men of my neighborhood, those who are fortunate enough to be alive, on the block selling and buying weed. They have no need for books to educate themselves. They live by the motto of, "You live by the gun and you die by the gun." They no longer have respect for the elders who helped in raising them.
Unlike the days in the past there is no longer anytime for cordial greetings and warm smiles. Neighbors no longer discipline another neighbor's child because they are either afraid to or just because they feel like it would do no good. In the back of their minds they know that they would become another statistic of the neighborhood. Their futures can be seen no further than the jailhouse or the cemetery. In most of the neighborhood you can see the cycle of loss of ambition, loss of pride, and loss of self worth in the males.
The Old Danish homes in the neighborhood are now decrepit and run down. These homes are simply unlivable. The beautiful flowers that once grew in front of these beautiful homes have now turned into weeds.
Young children now have to be indoors by at least 6:30. This is to prevent them from being injured by stray bullets. Everyone lives in fear each and every day. On Sundays there are no longer fish fries and block parties. Instead of this there are prayer vigils against the crime and violence that is plaguing G-Street now.
Garden-Street and G-Street are two completely different neighborhoods. Garden- Street was a peaceful livable neighborhood, and a home to everyone who chose to settle in it. But G-Street today is home only to a few, but to most people they just see it as a graveyard.
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