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January 17, 2010

We moved into our home in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, a little over a year before the assault. We had bought the house from an elderly man whose wife was born in the house and we were the first newbies to live in it.    It was an 80-some year old row with all the character that you would expect.  Original oak wood floors, ornate glass doorknobs attached to real, heavy wood carved doors fixed with working transoms, teeny tiny closets and bathrooms,  a built-in cedar closet in the basement.  It was a truly charming home for first-time buyers, one I fell in love with the moment I walked in.  The block was not devoid of character either.  It was very diverse filled with colorful people, old and young, black and white, hetero and homosexual. Elders that had lived there since they were born and  youngsters moving in to revitalize the old hood.  That is what I had wanted, to breathe life back into a very historic part of the city, with the hopes that other young families would follow.  I had dreams for our new house and neighborhood.

Because the house was so old it did need some work and updating.  We did a lot of painting, cleaned up an old bedroom that was covered in layers of intricate wallpaper, started updating an outdated bathroom with a rusty old faucet,  traded in the 1950’s stove/oven  for a newer model, and cleared our small plot of a backyard.  We consistently discussed our ideas for a new kitchen and layed out the garden areas in our backyard.  Our plan was to make  this our home for at least 10 years.

I wanted to put my roots down here, figuratively and physically.  I daydreamed about the various community gardens I would help create, ones filled with lush landscapes, fruiting trees and delicious vegetables. Children would congregate and explore the greens, tasting and smelling plants.  They would find insects, birds and furry little animals with the excitement of opening their Christmas presents.  My community would come together through the year, planning and planting with the common interest of making our neighborhood a better more beautiful place for our children.  It wasn’t too far-fetched, it was happening all over Philadelphia – Kensington, Fishtown, Northern Liberties, Mount Airy, and in Northeast Philadelphia.  I had big plans for my new home.

As you know, these dreams were shattered by the vicious acts of one man.  What had happened to this poor man to bring him to perform  acts of vulgarity at least FIVE times throughout  his life?  Who had destroyed his dreams?  Did he have dreams or was he a born rapist?   I wish I knew the answers, I wish I could understand where and what he was coming from.  I do not hold hate for this man, because if I did I would not heal.  I hate what he did, but I do not hate him.  Instead I am filled with compassion for this man who has lived a horrible life.  I still have this “I can change the world” mentality that I have had since I was twelve, but I do believe in my heart that I am close to something big and though I may have lost those particular dreams, I am so filled up at this time in my life, that I want to thank the one man who shattered my dreams because he brought me new life.   I am onto something big, ya’all watch out!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    January 17, 2010 9:45 pm

    Yes, Amy, you are certainly on to “something big”. To say you don’t hate the person but hate the act and that you have compassion for this human being and his horrible life is truly an indication you have remarkable depth and wisdom. You also have done a really good job of “working your stuff” around this trauma. I genuinely look forward to seeing to where you are being led in your life.
    Linda

  2. April 22, 2010 2:05 pm

    Your post reminds me of the grateful alcoholic. We learn so much from these traumatic events that we would not have learned had we not experienced them. You have made tremendous strides in healing. It took me 30+ years to get to the ideas that you expressed in the final paragraph of this post. You’ve done very well for yourself. Keep going!

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