On the Ground

WIGS, FAITH AND 'A CERTAIN FEARLESSNESS'

WIGS, FAITH AND 'A CERTAIN FEARLESSNESS'

When Julia, Seth and I walk into Sue’s Wigs and Fashions, the elderly Korean owner -- the store’s namesake -- gives us a polite greeting.

But she doesn’t want to talk to us.

“You come back later and talk to my daughter,” she tells us, covering her mouth with one hand. “She’ll tell you about the store.”

FIGHTING THE SOCIAL COSTS OF SEGREGATION - FROM A BUS

FIGHTING THE SOCIAL COSTS OF SEGREGATION - FROM A BUS

In the front window of Larry Freeman’s house is a handwritten sign, fixed to the glass with dozens of pieces of yellowing tape.

“Smile, God loves you,” it says, in large block letters.

His wife made it, Larry tells me, before she died in 2003. “I’ll never take it down,” he says. “It’ll go with this house.”

THE MAGIC OF A SINGLE HOUR

THE MAGIC OF A SINGLE HOUR

A man with white hair and a matching mustache is the only person sitting in Calvary Evangelical United Brethren Church, a grand but faded red-brick building at Shaker Boulevard and Woodhill Avenue.

He doesn’t hear me and Seth enter, so we tap him on the shoulder and introduce ourselves. He smiles and tells us his name is Mr. Primm. He’s a block club leader from a nearby street in the Woodland Hills neighborhood - Buckeye’s immediate neighbor.

FLOWERS, FRUIT AND A CENTURY OF MEMORIES

FLOWERS, FRUIT AND A CENTURY OF MEMORIES

Edward Wrobel’s earliest memories are of flowers, fruit, hard work - and more flowers. 

He grew up in a small apartment above Orban’s Fruit and Flowers, the business his parents owned near the corner of E. 115th Street and Buckeye. It’s still here, and Edward still owns it - one of the last remaining white-ethnic businesses from a time a couple generations ago when Buckeye Road was reputedly home to the largest population of Hungarians outside Budapest.

WAITING FOR SUNFLOWERS WITH D’ANGELO KNUCKLES AND ALI Boyd

WAITING FOR SUNFLOWERS WITH D’ANGELO KNUCKLES AND ALI Boyd

Today I meet resident and community activist D’Angelo Knuckles in an office at the St. Luke’s Foundation. We’d been planning to talk there for a while, but it’s a sunny day and we’ve both gotten an invitation to help plant sunflowers at the local library, so instead we head outside.

THE PROBLEM OF CRIME, BOTH REAL AND PERCEIVED

THE PROBLEM OF CRIME, BOTH REAL AND PERCEIVED

John Hopkins is executive director of the Buckeye Shaker Square Development Corporation, the neighborhood’s nonprofit development organization. He’s been helping me and Seth since before we moved in, assisting us in our search for space and providing invaluable information about Buckeye’s past and present.