Humans of BHS : Jeff Cullins

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Mikayla Michael, BHS Journalism

“It was very different from living in Overland Park, or even Baldwin. In Chicago I lived in a primarily African American neighborhood, and the area was much poorer. The crime rate was also higher. However, I didn’t really notice any of that until I moved. When we were in elementary school my brother and I were very popular in the neighborhood, because we had “the good food”. We always had things like doritos and bread and lunch meat for sandwiches, which a lot of my friends did not. As kids we played a lot of Basketball. We had a hoop that was on wheels so we could roll it into the street, and that was very popular with my friends. Everyone plays basketball where I grew up, but they usually had to go to a park, which was sometimes sketchy. So being able to do it in front of the house was a really big deal when we were kids. Looking back I realize now that we did not live in a very good or safe neighborhood, but as a kid I did not know any different until we moved to the suburbs. The schooling was not very good. We had a lot of gang activity which began recruiting new members quite young. My Mom pulled me out of school and began homeschooling me in the 5th grade. I remember being one of the few members of my class who could read well, and my teachers would always sit me with the worst readers in my class so I could help them. Lots of good ones. I remember going to White Sox games a couple times a summer, and enjoying the atmosphere at the ballpark. I really miss the food from the south side.The Italian beef and pizza back home are just something else. We do not really have much to compare it to here in Kansas. I do still visit. I have nieces and nephews who still live in the city, but in nicer regions, like Pilsen and Logan Square. I do not travel as much as I used to now that I am a teacher, but I still try to go home about once a year or so to visit family. I lived in Chicago from birth to about 14, then we moved to a small suburb of about 100,000 people called Kankakee County. I lived there till I was 18. I also moved back as an adult, but I lived there for only a year and in a much nicer region of the city called Boystown.”