Memphis Fast Fiction Home
21.12.2011
ecstatic
Ashley Roach

Tyler Glover stood inside his own wound.

The walls of what used be his restaurant were blackened with ash. Smears from the fire department’s hoses looked like a nine year old’s ecstatic finger paintings.

The building and everything in it was a total loss.

“Oh god, Virginia, this was everything I had. This was my life.” He said, falling to his knees in the middle of the debris.

“Well, that doesn’t exactly speak to your opinion of your wife of only forty-eight years.” His wife joked gently.

“Virginia…”

“It’s just walls and things. We’re the heart and soul of this place. The rest all be fixed as good as new.”

“That takes money. Money we don’t have. Hell, money we’ve never had.”

“Ty, we’ll find the money. You’re the Mayor of Orange Mound, the biggest damn cheerleader this community’s ever had. And this building’s place as been here long as anyone can remember.”

She pulled her husband to his feet.

“People will remember that. They’ll remember you. And then everything will be just fine. You’ll see.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Cause if they don’t, I’ll knock their heads in. Now, c’mon. Let’s get this place cleaned up.”

Memphis Note
Tyler Glover is affectionately known as the mayor of Orange Mound, a title bestowed upon him by a previous mayor of Memphis. His restaurant, Tyler’s Place, was know as the City Hall of Orange Mound. In 1998, after an electrical fire, the future of the restaurant was uncertain. Thankfully, several community organizations banded together to get Glover the money he needed to keep his doors open.

16.08.2011
pride
Scott Brown

I checked that my car doors were locked before I walked up the steps to my father’s porch. Couldn’t be too careful in this neighborhood anymore.

“Hey, Dad.” I said upon reaching the top. He looked away with a frown.

“Given any thought about what I said about getting out of Orange Mound?”

“I like it here.” Was his terse answer.

“Dad, I know you’ve got pride in your neighborhood, but it’s time for a change. Time to see something new.”

“Feh.” He spat a wad of tobacco into the yard. “I was in the Army. Saw Europe, Japan, Korea. Reckon I seen more of the world than you. And even with all that, I’d rather be right here than any place I know.”

I shook my head and laughed.

“What’s so funny” He asked sharply.

“W.C. Handy said the same thing about Beale Street almost a hundred years ago.”

My father regarded me sternly for a moment.

“So, what you’re sayin’ is if hang onto this house long enough, people are gonna be bang on my door to turn this place into one of them fancy neon light bars?”

That was the first time we laughed together in years.

Memphis Note
Orange Mound was formed when a real estate developer bought an old plantation and began to sell the land to African American families in the late 1800s. The area grew into one of the most vibrant predominantly black communities in America. Sadly, the positive act of desegregation was a double-edged sword for Orange Mound. Young people with new mobility chose to move out of the neighborhood, property values dropped and crime moved in. In recent years, Orange Mound has been the target of large revitalization programs that are breathing new life into the historic community.