The Grand Opening of TGI Fridays (now just Fridays having dropped the confusing “Thank God It’s”) in the Westgate Mall felt like a big deal. The buy one-entree-get-one-free coupon, the stained-glass lighting fixtures, the peppermint striped awning— all added to the festive feeling.
My dad got the steak and asked for the whiskey glaze on the side. It came with the whiskey glaze on top, of course. We anticipated a fuss, but after a weighty pause, he approved while pushing the sauce around with his knife. I thought the dining room appeared dark for a family restaurant. The bar-waiting area was playing Gary Stewart’s I’ve got this drinkin’ thing, to keep from thinkin’ things. . . It didn’t help anything. Our table was sticky, too, which reminded me of the whiskey glaze. A few minutes later, my Wednesday Burger arrived. I ordered it medium rare and let’s just leave it at that. The table next us was enjoying an oversized basket of Nachos. They looked pretty good. We talked about family in Memphis and how hot it is there, how Uncle Leo called my mom flea and how she enjoyed whatever little attention she got. I suggested we try the Nachos next time. Mom and Dad looked like some horrible news had just been delivered. Sorry I even mentioned the Nachos, and The Blue Raspberry Lemonade was tempting no one at our table. And it’s a lonely thing… The power walker hums along as he huffs. His arms swing with pride. But it’s the only thing. . . that heart broken love suicide, the Falls, the memorial park and the aerial view of the broken-hearted crack at the mouth of the lake.
A wonder! A wonder!
His ranch house (the Furies hurl!) reconfigured into a park clubhouse We were heading west on Ladue Rd. past the haves, whose futures look bright whose families have thrived in the Ladue school district, then pass some forgotten 70s condo units, where two grown-ass men are enjoying a front lawn lounge, Bud Light koozies: Life is sweet reads one T-shirt, I Hate Everything reads the other, likely from the George Strait song, a kind of consolation prize, or as my dad used to say, a constellation prize!
And this, a more damaging myth: “By 1950, St. Louis City had reached its peak population forcing returning soldiers to look for housing in St. Louis County. Wage-earners wanted bigger houses, more yard space, and places to park their new cars. The automobile industry had a vision of two cars for every suburban family: one for dad to go to work, and one for mom to drive to the market or to the kids’ activities. The new affordability in the automobile industry, along with the construction of highways, further pushed the westward movement away from downtown.” Put that expansion-to-the-suburbs myth next to the real Harland Bartholomew, urban planner, whose vision was renovation by demolition. For Bartholomew, the bulldozer was the best tool for postwar urban planning. His vision guaranteed no people of color could inhabit this westward movement to the suburbs. In 1939, St. Louis approved his proposal to demolish over 20 square miles of inner-city real estate, over 400 apartment buildings and houses, mostly renters, mostly Black families. And with the destruction of those homes, also came the destruction of a bohemian culture of bookstores and coffeehouses, demolishing what was once termed as the Greenwich Village of the West. To this day, massive stretches of downtown St. Louis remain either scorched or poorly developed—handfuls of low-rise buildings stand alone on empty lots and stretches of highway on-ramps headed west to the suburbs. “Everybody has roots. We go on living. We permit ourselves,” Mr. Paterson, “to continue.” For who? For who wants to hear it? What is the story, the myth again, the namesake? Tell it, please. Can it be told with pictures? Through The State Historical Society of Missouri? Their archives? County libraries? court documents? Can the story be told through transcripts, revised transcripts, revised interpretations? “Something else, something else the same.”
THE GRRRREAT HISTORY of that
urban housing disaster
P R U I T T – I G O E !
Originally the Wendell O. Pruitt Homes and William Igoe Apartments
known together as Pruitt-Igoe
“We were visited to check on standards for cleanliness! The walls always had to be painted white. The welfare office restricted the type of food we bought, the jobs we could apply for, surveillance was a constant fixture.”
Is there a right way to power walk? Any movement, no matter what you do, is better than none. But if you want to get faster and fitter, then it does make sense to pay attention to your walking form. There’s plenty to think about from head to toe: how your feet hit the ground, the movement of your hips, the angle you lean, the swing of your arms, even the direction of your gaze.