Park Street, Soulville, Border Town by Melissa McEwen

Every summer, Da takes me and my sisters to Border Town because he lived there when he first moved to Heartford. It wasn’t called Border Town, then. Back then, it was known as Soulville because lots of blacks lived on Park Street at the time. Now the locals call it Border Town. It’s where Park Road turns into Park Street. Corner stores turn into Bodegas. Yes turns into Si and English turns into Spanglish. Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and Portuguese hang in doorways of apartment buildings or out the windows, as do their flags. It is colorful in summer –fruits and flags adorn storefronts. Names they are used to sound beautiful and new to us – Adoracion, Caridad, Guadalupe. Pretty women with pretty curls line sidewalks. This is the real reason father brings us here. Ma says so. Sometimes she comes; sometimes she stays home but tells Da to pick her up some Dominican shampoo from the beauty supply store because the ones near us don’t sell it. It smells better she says and makes her hair thick. But Da says he comes for the food, the sounds, and to see how much it has changed. “Back then, when Border Town was called Soulville, soul food restaurants lined the street. Every face you saw was black and the last names, too – Judkins, Wilson, Jenkins. Everybody felt like kin. I miss those days,” Da tells us every time he brings us to Border Town, pointing out his old apartment building and old hangouts.


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Filed under Melissa McEwen

15 responses to “Park Street, Soulville, Border Town by Melissa McEwen

  1. mimmcewen

    Great!! I love “Yes turns into Si”
    I am IN this story!

  2. Love the writing in this, the little details and lists that tell so much.

  3. love how this is all about transitions – past and present – nice

  4. Randal Houle

    The turning really accentuates the border town theme. Nicely done.

  5. Missy

    Thanks, y’all. I appreciate the comments.

  6. Nice way to show the borders. :)

  7. shaneshane

    Heartford, ha

  8. shaneshane

    It is colorful in summer , this is wonderful

  9. This brought back some wonderful childhood memories for me, and your use of lists and rich sensory details made this vivid scene so wonderful!

  10. Love all the different types of borders — the geographic, the temporal, the ethnic, the generational. Wonderful story. Peace…

  11. all the different crossroads and juxtapositions were a wonderful clashing cacophony. nice job.

  12. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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