Excerpts from: Part 1
When Mr. Eugene Bradley Robinson migrated from a small town in southern Virginia, to North Philadelphia, in the early 1950, it was a much more passive neighborhood than the crime-ravaged one it turned out to be twelve years later, when he moved his family away from it. By that time Mr. Robinson, could no longer tolerate the urban blight and violent conditions surrounding his home. Twelve years prior to his move, that very neighborhood could almost be called ‘clean” and “mixed.”
Back then; they had ”Block Captains” who organized “Street Cleaning” days. On these street cleaning days, residents of the block was urged to join in on a communal effort to “beautify” their particular block. Through their pooled donations, gallons of paint, brushes, brooms, trash bags, gloves, and other supplies were purchased. Every household member participated. It was a festive labor of love. The results were freshly painted exterior homes with great “curb appeal” that at the end of the day helped distinguished their block as a “block that cares.”
On “Street Cleaning” day, the ultimate goal of total neighborhood involvement was usually met. Those were the so-called “good old days.” Neighboring parents chatted cheerfully, while their children gained valuable domestic experience in how to sweep, scrub, clean, nail, and paint. The block captains also were responsible for organizing each summer’s “Block Party.” These were always held on a Saturday. The block was roped off from traffic so that that B-B-Q grills, card tables, domino tables, and dance areas could be set up on the street. Music blared from radios and tiny turntables. All the children enjoyed the variety of delicacies offered by their friendly neighbor’s tables and everyone enjoy a great day of fun in the spirit of good neighborhood communion.
In addition to those events, and in plenty of time before Christmas, the captains once again took up donations, and made sure each house was strung with festive Christmas lights. The results were that their entire street--including the light poles and hand rails--was aglow with warm colorful lights for the entire holiday season.
Those times were truly the time when that community, in particular, could be considered the classic definition of a true urban village that cared for one another.
Now, in the time span of just twelve years, it was considered the classic definition of a “ghetto” or a “slum” if not a “concrete jungle” where only the strong survive...........Back then; there was not a lot of racial tension because the civil rights movement was in its infancy. In point of fact, for a little while, it was the epitome of a close-knit, urban community. Due to the development of so many multi-family dwellings, of course, there was an abundance of very active children jam-packed on narrow blocks of streets, which were only wide enough for one lane of traffic. It was in such a constricted urban setting that Marvin Robinson and his sixteen-month younger brother Carlton viewed the world..
Excerpt from Part 5
.....After giving the matter careful thought, Marvin decided it was best for him to enlist the help of some “tutors.” His girlfriends always got better grades than he did. He had already begun to call on them to come over his house and help him with his homework. And while they were at it, why not combine a little pleasure with business. Have some cute girls come over, let them think they’re doing some kind of charity work by helping him improve his grades, fool around with them a little, do a little homework. Fool around a little, do a little homework. It seemed like a good plan to Marvin. Soon he was approaching all the pretty girls in school to be his “tutor.” His prospects, of course were limited to the ones he felt he could at least get to “third base” with.
.....Before long, and to a lot of people’s surprise Marvin’s grades were actually improving. And at the same time, he was having a lot of fun doing homework. Marvin “tutors” of the week” plan was working like a charm. By the time his next report card was issued he had raised his “Unsatisfactory” grade average, to an “Average” grade average. Marvin was ecstatic!
Excerpt from Part 8
.....“Alright, Marvin, listen to me” Homer said with a serious manner more appropriate to appeal to an inferior intellect.
“Here’s the deal. These people around here are serious people. They are serious about making money. They are professionals. They don’t play around when it comes to making money. They don’t take it lightly. They don’t hang out and drink wine all day. They may smile and look friendly and all that, but the fact is that they are well trained in what it takes to make money. That’s what we do here---make money! These agents compete to see who makes the most money. They win prizes for making the most money—like vacations, cash bonuses, etc. Our managers compete against other managers to see who’s team can make the most money. It’s all about money around here. That manual that’s in your hands is the first step necessary to start you on your way to make big money. Don’t look at it as something difficult to do and start crying about it’s going to be too hard for you to do. That won’t cut it around here. I brought you in because I think you got what it takes to be a big-time player but--I may be wrong. I hope I wasn’t wrong about you. But we’ll soon find out. It’s all up to you.”
With that Homer eased up on his fresh protégée, hoping he had not been too hard on him.
Excerpt from Part 9
For sometime now, Marvin practiced positive “self-talk” that was designed to ward-off negative thoughts. He found that his daily positive affirmations kept his mind calm, clear and completely under control and focused on what he wanted to do and the kind of person he wanted to be. He found it to be an invaluable technique. He came to detest the very word “negative.” He had seen too much of its destructive results in his life. The “Book OF Wisdom” he read years ago taught him that: It is virtue that is the sunshine of our world. It makes a person wise, trustworthy, honored, and a universal “hero.”
He also came to literally despise the word “Procrastinate.” Albert had said to him years before his death: Destiny is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved. The single most common attribute that every successful person has is the determined devotion to attain his or her goals.”
Thus, the battle between procrastination vs. ambition raged on violently in Marvin’s spirit. But he knew it was only a matter of time before ambition would win, because Marvin believed in ambition. His trusted his “gut instincts” more than the voicing of disbelievers. It was only a matter of time before he took “a leap of faith.”
Fortunately forhim an opportunity was just around the corner.
For the rest of the story:
Buy "The Neighborhood" by Bobby Richardson
ISBN # 9781449053130