People In My Neighborhood
- Nashua, New Hampshire, USA
- June 21
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This is a blog about some of my neighbors.
Like a lot of people who spend considerable time reading newspapers and websites, I sometimes feel I’m more familiar with the lifestyles of the kinds of people who show up in the lifestyle sections of the paper than with the lives of people who are way closer to my income level. This is an attempt to find out more about the working- and middle-class people around me.
I live in Nashua, New Hampshire, which isn’t a poor city. The average job in the metropolitan area pays about $28 an hour, according to the state agency that collects that kind of information. Unemployment in the area is under 5 percent. But I’m continually astonished by how hard things are for many people I see every day.
I chose people to interview for this blog pretty much at random. I didn’t pick them out because I thought their stories would illustrate a particular political or economic idea. They’re just people I saw around who were generous enough to talk with me.
MY RECENT POSTS
- Anger Issues
August 29, 2013 07:20PM
- A Dispatch from the 47 Percent
September 19, 2012 08:52AM
- The Coach
September 13, 2012 07:47AM
- Parents and the Future
September 12, 2012 12:52PM
- The Diagnosis
August 15, 2012 11:48AM
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I'm always amazed at how
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great to talk with you!”
May 24, 2012 08:56AM
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Rolling, thanks for the tip on
April 20, 2012 01:53PM
- “Great moment, well told.
I was craning my neck to see
guy was talking
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everyone! Just want to make
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A note: I wrote about Sarahann and her family in an article for Salon about the low-wage economy, but I thought her story deserved more space than I was able to provide there. So, this is a bit more about her life.
When I found out that Sarahann Gorham has… Read full post »
This summer, I was chatting with my parents, and I happened to mention that my husband and I pay pretty much no federal income taxes. My dad was shocked. What about withholdings from your paychecks, he asked. I said we get it all back in our refund.
I was kind of… Read full post »
At the local elementary school playground Tuesday evening, my son ran into one of his new kindergarten classmates, Conrad Daigle. Conrad and his twin brother, Caleb, were spending time with their neighbor Tom Mitchell.
As the two boys ran from the balance beam to the monkey bars,… Read full post »
Erin Weigand, who lives at Bronstein with her fiance and three children, has had trouble finding work lately, even in retail. She’d like to get a night shift job so her fiance could watch the kids while she’s working.
Otherwise, she said, “You’re working to pay for… Read full post »
I met the woman I’ll call Sasha while I was working on a story for the Nashua Telegraph about how parents at the Bronstein Apartments public housing complex think about their children’s futures. Some of the parents of young children talked hopefully about teaching their children… Read full post »
Rick Everhard was pulling little pink shirts from a box when I saw him. He was setting up a display at a yard sale outside his new home.
Rick needed to get rid of some stuff, he said. He was downsizing from a three-bedroom apartment down the… Read full post »
Mike was returning to his apartment from a convenience store, holding a bag of groceries on one hand and an unlit cigarette in the other, when I ran into him on the bike path. He has a million lighters at his place, he told me, and he managed to… Read full post »
Last week, I had the chance to write a story for the Nashua Telegraph about how my neighborhood’s Bronstein Apartments public housing complex was doing in the heat wave. I was struck by the contrast between the public housing units and the private apartments in the run-down Tree Street… Read full post »
Thanks to fabulous social media work by Open Salon editor Jake Sugarman, Business Insider's reprinting of some of my blog posts and some shout-outs by friends on the interwebs, this blog has been getting more views than ever lately. Of course, that's not saying all that much, but still, I'd like… Read full post »
When I saw Bill standing, shirtless outside his modest house on a tiny, densely packed street, my first thought was that he could have been posing for a stock photo titled “disgruntled older white man.” Most of what he had to say didn’t change my impression.
He’s a… Read full post »
On Friday, the speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, William O’Brien, suggested the state should pass a law to stop people on welfare from spending their benefits on tobacco, alcohol or lottery tickets. Sitting next to him at the press conference was a woman wh… Read full post »
(Angel Morales (front) with friends.)
Like any city neighborhood, my section of Nashua transforms itself when the weather gets hot. Things get loud. Teenagers are everywhere, skateboarding and flirting. People pull out cheap chairs and sit outside chatting for hours.
My neighborhood is most… Read full post »
(Chris and Desiree)
was walking up the bike path behind Chris Dumas, a couple
approached on bicycles from the other direction. At the sight
of Chris and his pit-boxer, Desiree, they swerved slightly to the
Chris said he’s used to having that effect on people,… Read full post »
Hello blog readers. Apologies in advance for this, but I'm writing with a plea for support.
I have the opportunity to exand the reporting I'm doing on this blog with the help of the Nashua Telegraph. The paper has been doing some great reporting on the city's plans… Read full post »
(Angkelia doesn't like the winter in Nashua.)
Shortly after I ran into Angkelia on the bike path, she decided to sit down for a while on a graffiti-covered rock. She was tired, probably from walking in the heat, but also from spending the past year in a country where… Read full post »
Kevin was hanging out with his girlfriend on comfortable chairs on the porch of Karl Tiedemann’s house Sunday evening, cracking jokes with Karl and anyone else who walked by and looking so at home that I assumed he was part of the large extended family that lives there.… Read full post »
It was a quiet evening on a leafy section of the bike path Tuesday. The cool, overcast weather had kept the usual crowds of biking kids and families with strollers at home, but three middle aged men were gathered at what remained of a stone bench, drinking cans of beer and… Read full post »
Jackie Weigand with daughter Erin and grandkids Destini, Ian and Breanna (right to left).
On Memorial Day morning, I met Jackie Weigand heading to the parade on Main Street with her daughter Erin, and three grandkids. As they left Bronstein Apartments, the public housing complex… Read full post »
(Kids run Memorial Day water races outside Faith Baptist Church)
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. In many places, that means relaxed barbecues in backyards with acres of manicured grass. In the residential neighborhoods of downtown Nashua, it’s something different. T… Read full post »
After raining all day Tuesday, it had finally cleared up a bit when I saw Lucy Corley navigating the sidewalk, pushing a heavy looking shopping cart.
Laundry, she explained. It hadn’t gotten quite dry, so she was going to iron it right away when… Read full post »
When I met Hillary Locke, walking down the sidewalk on one of the bigger streets in my neighborhood, she’d already been trying for a while to reach her boyfriend on the phone. She needed to meet up with him to figure out what they were… Read full post »
(Tyrone's part of the neighborhood)
I first saw Tyrone running by me at the playground, where I was hanging out with my kids. He was surrounded by four boys of various ages, leading them off to play in a nearby field, carrying several huge, candy-colored toy guns. Afterward he… Read full post »
(Graffiti at a skate park near where I met Shawn Adams)
If you met Shawn Adams, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that he’s an aspiring hip-hop artist. He’s 27, muscular and brown-skinned, and when I met him he was wearing a hoodie and a hat with… Read full post »
(Karl Tiedemann and his dog)
When I introduced myself to Karl Tiedemann, I tried to ingratiate myself with his dog, reaching out my hand to let the muscular animal check whether I smelled okay. The dog growled.
I got the sense Karl was also slightly irritated at being… Read full post »
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