Thursday, June 18, 2009

1 of 10 left in Overton Park

Overton Park used to be known as the Tech Ghetto. Now there are only 10 original houses in the community as it continues to go through a major face lift. I spent an afternoon with the Johnson Family from Guyana.

In a white house on Mac Davis Lane, Winston Edward Johnson has made his best memories.

He raised his granddaughter here. He can easily conjure images of her racing back and forth from door to door, her spinning to Caribbean music in the living room with the table pushed aside to yield a makeshift dance floor.

It brings a smile to the 59-year-old's face. So much time has passed; she's now 13.

He and others in this once-blighted neighborhood also have plenty of memories they never wished to make.

"It was like a war zone," said Dennis Vasquez, 47. "One night, I saw something glowing," he said, pointing down the block.

A man had set his ex's clothes ablaze.

"Across there," he said, pointing straight ahead, "a guy beat up his wife. He was beating her to a bloody mess."

Today, the discord consists of construction equipment rumbles and hammer strikes... (read more of Marlena Hartz' story: Last Houses Standing)