Listen: Let me give you a little inside on how pieces come together for the Neighborhood Project: I start with one or two contacts, call them up, and get them to spill their knowledge of the neighborhood. Most importantly, I try to come away from every conversation with a fresh handful of people to who can be harvested for more ideas. Sometimes, throughout this process, a person keeps coming up in every exchange -- in Walker's Point, Frank Gonzalez was one of those names.
Frank and Nancy Gonzalez!
I met with Frank and his wife Nancy two times at a senior center in Clarke Square (they spend a lot of their afternoons at the senior center, but they've been living in the same house in Walker's Point for over 30 years!) to get some reflections on the Walker's Point they grew up in during the 30s and 40s. In this piece, Frank tells us why he loved and loves where he lives: As things turn out, Frank and Nancy were hanging out with Marilyn Peela, who had also been born and raised in the neighborhood. Frank and Nancy teamed up to paint a picture of what it was like to be a kid in Walker's Point when they grew up: So if your wireless is down and you can't figure out how to spend your suddenly apparent free time, come back to this piece for some suggestions!
Of all their memories, Frank and Marilyn's descriptions of the streetcar running between Mitchell and downtown were most vivid: Given the recent discussions of bringing a streetcar back to Milwaukee, these reflections are interestingly apropos -- funny how things come full circle sometimes.
And just as I was heading out the door during our final interview, they sparked up a conversation of the recently closed hot dog joint, Coney Island (if you haven't heard of Coney Island, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a wonderful article on it a few months ago):