Dear Kids of CB East, Bucks County, America, and Society:
Tonight, in just a couple of minutes, a house the next street over from me went up in a red plume of smoke. It was the house of a childhood friend. It was the house right next to my Uncle’s, a house next to my father’s colleague. And in just a few seconds of seeing a trailer destroyed, in just a few seconds of seeing a neighborhood friend put it out with the help of his fire company, and in just a few seconds of seeing the kindness, the helpfulness, the caring…I felt so angry—not at what I was seeing, but at your biased misconceptions of us.
I want to address that.
I want to extend an apology to some of you. I am sorry to those of you who find the existence of my neighborhood an embarrassment and disgrace to even exist. I am sorry that you find a mobile home (aka trailer park) nasty and grimy, unaesthetically pleasing, and filled with people you view as trash that are unfit to walk among you, share classes with you, cover a work shift for you, ride the same school bus at you…
But that’s your problem if you want to call us awful names, give us the finger when we brake in front of you to turn into our development, or start a fight. To the kids I went to high school with, I’m not saying you need to grow up because many of you are already young adults capable of making decisions on how you choose to live your life. It’s just my opinion that negativity won’t get you very far. As long as you’re happy with yourself, I forgive you…although most people say I shouldn’t.
And this is why.
Sure, doctors may not live here, but we have nurses and phlebotomists. We have EMTs and fireman. We house the people that do your landscaping, fix your electric, build your extensions, change your oil, and pump your gas when you’re too lazy to get out of your car.
You may be right in saying that there are a lot of illegal immigrants in this neighborhood and those who have less then perfect pasts, but just like you, the people of Valley View are humans and should be treated with dignity—especially KIDS who have had no choice in choosing to live here. And don’t you dare think that I am giving you a chance to bash their parents or guardians.
The reason why so many parents move into this neighborhood is so their children can go to one of the best school districts in the state, in the country, but cannot simply afford expensive pieces of real estate. I want to point out to you that this is a Central Bucks EAST neighborhood. So then why is it that a separate bus comes every weekday morning to transport most high school students to West?
Even though it is true that a select few “entitled” Tohickon Middle School and East High School students can bully peers so much into transferring schools, it isn’t fair. You may see us as the bad kids, the ones who will result to punching you in the face if you insult us, but behind that is the breaking of a student’s self-esteem, the breaking of a student’s desire to achieve in school or out. And, it’s frustrating.
It’s frustrating that when I go to get my prescriptions filled, I get into a conversation with the pharmacist who congratulates me on making it through East. Her son just stared middle school, and already he wants nothing to do with my high school. So, she asked me how I did it, so she can pass the advice along, and this is what I said, “I didn’t advertise where I lived.”
She pursed her lips, and offered a shy smile.
What I didn’t tell her was that I never told my friends my address until my Junior Year, hardly had them over. Never dated before I was 18 or gave a guy my number…except for once which ended in an invitation for a booty call. I cried myself to sleep for a week, because he called me a worthless trashy slut when I said, “no.” I worked too hard to not fall into the stereotype of “trailer trash”—took too many honors and APs, tried to involve myself too much in extra curriculars, all while battling depression, all while developing an anxiety disorder. It crippled me, and my senior year of high school, I lived in guidance.
I don’t harbor any resent, or regrets, or judgments, because overall I loved my high school experience. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it, but some days life was awful because it took all my energy not let man drag me down enough to hate them.
Just like a lot of kids I know who grew up in Valley View, I find happiness in non-material goods, and in accepting that everyone has their own free will. I look for happiness inside myself, because at the end of the day, if my home were to burn down in 2 minutes…burn all my belongings…burn all my money…I know I would be alright. As long as my dad, my three dogs, and I went unscathed, I know I would be happy, and most importantly, thankful.
Would you? I hope so.