|Highway sign white letters on green field read You are now leaving|
Greenbelt with yellow warning sign in yellow with black font
reading Exit Only
2014 has been a year of failures and disappointments for me. I am exhausted. While efforts to improve a neighborhood on the verge of urban decay for a very long time have seen changes like new management, renovations and better maintenance, the largest garden style community on the East Coast is still the rough part of town. The retirees who raised their children there were forced out by 2012. Between 2007 and 2010. crime peaked and a series of fires caused by a combination of faulty wiring and arson burned out legacy residents. Stability has returned but it had come at great cost. My idea of building community ties there just wasn't going to work. Too many residents see west Greenbelt as a hotel/transient lodging rather than a legitimate part of greater Greenbelt.
|Mu with big sister at Greenbelt's Mother and Child Statue|
We are residents of Montgomery County now. I have very mixed emotions about moving. It was something I urged other parents in our former county not to do. At the time I truly believed that someone had to stay and fight for change. But things had reached a critical mass, and my husband realized, as many special needs families do, that migration towards better services is the only way to improve the quality of our children's lives.
Starting over sucks. There is no other way to put this. Moving with a neurodivergent young man is
|Art Deco Styled Community Center, Greenbelt|
Mu and I haven't adjusted to the new neighborhood yet. We are strangers in a strange land. So I guess the historic Greenbelt nostalgia comes in part from that. But I'm also confronting a painful reality. Like increasing numbers of autism families we had to try and find some place where his needs would be met without the mountain of negative challenges constantly facing us in our old county. I miss Greenbelt, the New Deal town. I miss the light of understanding of where we were headed dawning on Mu quickly by the familiar turns in the road and the pedestrian crossings to buses, the old town, the park or mall. I don't miss many more things however. I won't miss the obstinate need to retaliate for our speaking out to help our son, the ableism, in short the autism wars for inclusion. I won't miss the disparity in health care and education given him. I won't miss the presumption of incompetence that seemed standard fare for anyone considered a foreign or non white parent.
|Sign for New Deal Cafe , GreenBelt, MD|
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