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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Day 13: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

It is a beautiful day in this neighborhood, as Fred Rogers gleefuly sang.

Each day I can, I take a long walk around Suchdol … which I liken to any near-urban neighborhood that each of use knows from somewhere in our past. I’m interested in the architectural changes I can see taking shape in Suchdol. With all the money coming into people’s pockets, everyone desires to change their domiciles into anything but what they used to resemble: neo-commie drab.

Suchdol has a lot of house just like this one (below), which shows the unmistakeable signs of … can you say “rehabilitation”? Good, I knew you could. Out with the old gray stucco and in with the new painted stucco — and modern wiring, central heating & a/c, Pella windows, hardwood flooring, bitch’n light fixtures, and everything else money can buy in the New West.

Suchdol rehab

Below, you can see a newly remodeled found just outside the city center. Notice the double-paned Euro windows, the matching color scheme, proper landscaping, and fenced yard.

Suchdol rehab complete

Then there is that house that we all remember. It’s that nutty neighbor each of us had in our hometown community. You remember, (below) the family that wanted to mix & match styles and colors from period, epochs, generations, and paint companies. Ouch!

Suchdol Nightmare House

Finally, I happened upon this home (below) just around the corner from my neo-commie digs. This family must think they live on a San Diego beach, not the hill country of upper Bohemia. For Christ’s sake, is everything to become Westernized?

Suchdol beach house

Perhaps, and here is direct evidence from the sidewalks of Prague: I watched two teenaged girls walk out their gated home post-supper. Both dressed like teenie-boppers from any American suburb of your imagination’s choosing; a cell phone rang with the too-loud sounds of female gangsta’ rap; these teenies were “going out” — that phrase every teenaged American uttered from about 1950 onward to ward off uncomfortable parental questions about 1) where they were going, 2) who they were going with, and 3) just what the hell were they going to do? Of course, this all came as the parents themselves prepared to sit in front of the television for an evening of escape before the rat race resumed 12 hours later.

I jest, but only just so. You see, these girls weren’t even born when the Czech Republic became its own nation once again in 1992, after 51 years of totalitarian communist government. But today, the only communism they know comes from textbooks and grandma’s stories, from mom and dad telling them how “in their day” school was 3 miles aways, and “we had to walk uphill! BOTH WAYS!”

What the hell is the world coming to, anyway? I’m not sure, cuz it was the same when I was a teen, and I loved it. But now … well, here’s a picture of the times I’d have liked to live in:

Prague Castle

That is, as a king, anyway. Or I might have liked Court Jester.

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