Will and I had our first appointment to view a potential house this morning. A safe area with quality schools is our primary objective as we know our first rental won’t be the glorious mansion we will eventually inhabit. The property was districted for Snowden Elementary– a great school– so I went in with an open mind and cautiously optimistic expectations. In Memphis you can literally cross certain streets and go from gorgeous homes with luxury vehicles in the driveways to poverty and blight within a matter of feet. We knew the area and the price were a bit of a gamble but nothing could have prepared us for what we saw.
The entire place was boarded up and in shambles. Trash and broken bottles littered the overgrown lawn. Only two other residences in the cove actually had occupants. It looked as if it was a ghost cul-de-sac, the entire street a victim of foreclosures from an unforgiving housing market. I found it very disheartening as the thought of a family having to abruptly leave their life– pile up their treasured possessions in the street as they were forcibly evicted– and became upset when I saw a pink, plastic butterfly hair clip belonging to a little girl caught in the door frame of the front porch. What happens to those people? Where do they go? How does it feel to be in such a helpless situation? I am not so naive as to think that foreclosures and evictions only happen in ‘bad’ areas but being in a place where this seemed to be an all too common norm as opposed to an unfortunate exception was very upsetting.
Once inside the home, I loved it. The previous owners obviously put attention into the interior maintenance as it was very clean and well-maintained. I wasn’t crazy about the small living room but the kitchen was large and open and the four bedrooms were all spacious in relation to the overall size of the house. Suffice it to say the adorable home we saw on the realtor’s website was not a fair and accurate representation of the place we toured today!
With two children, safety is not something we will compromise. If I wouldn’t want my kids– or anyone else’s for that matter– playing outside [even with adult supervision] that is no area to raise a family. And that’s just heartbreaking. Far too many areas are like this. Wake up, Memphis! It’s time to take back our city. We deserve so much better.
Today wasn’t a total failure, however, as it definitely got me thinking…..and we made a very important concession that we’re open to the idea of an apartment. Originally we had limited our choices to rental houses and that was a selfish mistake derived from our desire of ‘our own space’ as opposed to the best interest of our growing family and general safety concerns. Furthermore, we’ve set a budget that includes deposits and are aggressively pursuing apartments while keeping houses on the back burner. Live and learn.
With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,