The rental house belonged to all of them. Generations of friends had lived in it. More than a whole decade of them had called it home.
And their only requirement of it? The porch. A viewing post over their neighborhood, a bastion to watch the storms roll in, an oasis of cool breezes in the depths of summer swelter.
The walls could come tumbling down, the roof blow away, the kitchen utterly explode, the bathroom back up and vomit all over their floor, so long as their porch was safe.
And, for a while, that’s how their whole neighborhood was. Porch after porch after porch. Least, until the gentrification came.
It was the houses at the end of the block that went first. Zero lot liners went up, like zombies rising from the grave. Then from the other end of the block, condos were built on the graves of homes.
They grew like cancer, blooming and consuming until theirs was the only dwelling left without a keycard entry or private off-the-street parking. Growing until their bronzed cowboy boot ashtray was a point of contention rather than a point of conversation.
But, by that point, all was lost.
We’re very bad when it comes to reviving low rent artist communities into cool, several hundred grand elite communities. It happened in Cooper-Young, it happened Downtown, and it’ll happen again in the Broad area in a decade. Memphis is a profiteering community, it’s why we were founded in the first place, but, it lends to very bad habits. Habits that are best broken.