05 April 2008

Signs of the Times

Most of the news these days is full of economic stuff. The American dollar has fallen terribly in recent months. Fortunately, this hasn't resulted in too much inflation, even thought it seems like ever $200 billion bailout of an investment bank (a la Bear Stearns) would seem to devalue the dollar further.

Here on Highland Drive, we have been pretty lucky. This area of Tennessee has pretty stable job status--and development is going full force near my school in Gallatin. A new shopping mall opened there just last month. But I do see the problems, both in my job and on my street.

I'll share them with you here.

A week ago an SUV pulled up in my driveway. It was my neighbor from two doors down, Kevin. He said they were moving Wednesday, and he asked if I wanted to take their dog, a Bassett Hound. Otherwise they would take it to the pound.

Kevin's step sons came over a lot. They were sweet boys--neglected, possibly abused, but nice kids. Sometimes I broke up fights and prevented them from terrorizing Owen or one of the other neighbor boys. Other times they came and we played Bionicles or rode bikes on trails in the woods.

A few weeks ago, Taylor (one of the boys) had told us they were moving. The payments on the house were too high, he said. I didn't believe them. The house is a small one--no way did it cost more than $110,000 when it was purchased five or six years ago. Yet Kevin, the guy in the SUV, was ready to move out.

The house is empty now, with the yard still looking like it was just used by little boys. There is no for sale sign in front. I am left to assume foreclosure.

Frankly, I would get rid of my SUV before I lost my home--but then, SUVs aren't easy to sell either. I know that from personal experience! Either way, Economic Crisis has come to one family on Highland Drive. Who knows where it will strike next.

At school I have seen the signs. I think of my student M.B., who had to move out of her home in January. It's tough moving around when you're a public school student, because you hope to stay in school, which means living within the school district. M.B. moved in with her friend, G.H.

Weeks later, G.H. was also looking for a new place to live! Needless to say, school hasn't been high on her priority list throughout all this, and she is failing. At least one other student of mine has been on the move in the short time since Christmas.

It's tough, and I live in a country run by George W. Bush, so it isn't going to get better anytime soon. I think it's important to know what's going on and to help where I can.

A friend just lost his job at a trucking company. He tells me that 45,000 small trucking firms have gone out of business in the past year. He's looking for work. He is the first person I want to help with this.

More importantly, I need to look around Highland Drive. There is suffering here, too. I hope to help.

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