Back in 1991, when I moved to the Cannon Park area of Milwaukee, I thought it would be for a few years. I'd go off to college in 1994. Maybe I'd come back to visit my parents, but I was going to conquer the world and see new places. Twenty years later, I was finally officially going to move away, but I'd grown so accustomed to the home that I decided to rent it out rather than sell. It wasn't about the money. In fact, not selling meant we couldn't afford as much when we moved. I simply wanted to keep the option of returning open.
A couple of weeks ago, that option of returning was magnified. I was frustrated with work, not feeling appreciated for work I'd done for church. I was having trouble getting anyone to do their own jobs to help me get a teaching certification and a doctor's appointment. And then there was a drive-by shooting in our "suburban" neighborhood, just a few houses away, that received no attention from police or the HOA I pay $500 a year to. Sure, it was snowing in Milwaukee, but it was sure storming down here in Florida.
Since I have a renter in place for the year, I decided I'd give Florida another chance. But I lived for 20 years on 93rd Street with not much more than a TPing of my tree and a middle school escapee who stole a neighbor's car. I miss being able to walk to businesses on 84th St. I miss being able to walk to the zoo. I miss being able to get right on the expressway and get somewhere in less than 45 minutes. I miss a grid pattern to streets that makes at least some sense. I miss the lakefront, a vibrant downtown, real professional sports, and probably 1,000 other details that made our area of MKE a great place to live. Friends and family, too, of course. But neighbors whose names I knew and knew me, that's a big deal, and I miss it.
Don't take your Zoo Interchange neighborhood for granted. The boring suburbs are boring, and then there's a drive-by shooting. All the neighbors talk to each other for a few days, and then nothing, hiding in the air conditioning. Keep the Cannon Park area a great place to live, because we might not be gone much longer.