by Jeffrey Stockbridge
Diana: My name is Diana Cooper, my daughter’s the oldest; her name’s Crystal Conway. She’s seven years old, and I got…the second one is Michael Conway Jr., and he’s five and a half, he’ll be six March 23rd. And I got Jonathan Conway, he’s three years old. I lived here all my life, I mean I’m thirty-four, and I lived here all my life.
JS: Can you tell me a little bit about what it’s like raising three kids here in Kensington?
Diana: It’s horrible…It’s easy when I’m inside the house, because they ain’t gotta see what goes on outside, on the corners. When I take them to school, they go to visitation school, it’s a catholic school on the other side, it’s like, on Lehigh, B and Lehigh, and every morning I walk them to school I see them, them ladies do prostitution on the corners, and I don’t…my kids always ask, “Mom, what are they doing?” and they see them jumping in and out of cars, I mean I…and like, you can see them smoking their dope on the side streets and everything. I mean, no matter where I go, if I try to take another way, they’re everywhere. And on the way home, the same thing. You know? And I’d seen a couple of them fighting because one got the john before the other one I guess. I mean it’s horrible, and I see a lot of drunks around here…
JS: How do you explain that to your kids?
Diana: I don’t know what to tell you…I said “I don’t wanna ever…” I don’t, I don’t want my kids turning out to be like that. I don’t know what to say to them because, I mean, that’s not a job, that’s not a good way to make money. You need to go through school, get your GED or high school diploma, and get a real job. That ain’t…I told my daughter, “that ain’t what kinda job you wanna get.” I mean, that’s not even a job, I told her. I said “don’t…”, I don’t…that’s why I wanna move out of the city, move away from here, ‘cause that’s not really a job, I mean, it’s nasty, they got bad drug problems, why don’t they just get help, you know? Then they sleep on the streets and they wonder why they’re on the streets because they money they get they, they drug it up. You know? It’s because they ain’t got nowhere to go, and I said…and I tell them but there’s shelters they could go to and get cleaned up, there’s rehabs…why do they gotta do that? I mean, it’s horrible. And you tell your kids not to talk to strangers or jump in cars with strangers, but you got these ladies, I mean, they’re setting a bad example for these young girls, they say “oh, they can jump in cars with strangers…” and the kids don’t know why they do that, but…they’re supposed to be setting…and no matter who you are, you’re grown up, you’re supposed to be setting good examples for these kids, like, not to jump in cars with strangers. And they’re doing it, you know? It’s horrible. She don’t even…they don’t…my daughter said, “she don’t even know that guy, he just pulled over and picked her up.” And they look horrible too, them ladies on the ave. They look bad, very bad. And they found… did you hear about that… they found prostitutes murdered, from this one guy…some people say they deserve it because they’re out there desperate to make a buck. There’s jobs out there that you can get through welfare; they don’t need to do that, you know? And if they got a bad drug problem, there’s rehabs. I mean, they don’t care about their lives, it seems to me. And every time I see ‘em, I get depressed, cos I’m saying, why are they gonna ruin their lives like that? It makes me depressed. I’m like, there’s too much in life to do that, you know?