It’s a Wrap!

I’ve been doing this for a while now.  Not as much anymore.  Not at all in the future.  This is my last post here.  It’s been tough for me to come to grips with, but I think I finally got it straight in my mind.

 

Bojon Town isn’t a place.  It’s a time.  It’s the past, a past that I miss more and more each day.  But that time has passed.  I realized it a while back, but I found it tough to admit it to myself.  My Bojon Town died, and has been replaced with something that sort of looks like the place I remember.  It took a major slap in the face for me to admit it, and it happened in the oddest way.

 

Last week, my wife and I went to a Pho restaurant in Pueblo West.  It was early, and there was only us and one other table, and at that table were Pam and Joe Kocman.  Pam and I have had some differences over the Bojon Town/Eilers Heights thing, and I took it too far.  I was never mad at her personally, but I probably said some hurtful things and it always kind of hangs in the background whenever we talk.  She asked me if I’d be interested in attending a meeting of the Eilers Heights Neighborhood Association at St. Mary’s School.  I’ve been wanting to fix things with her, and I really like going into the old school once in a while, so I told her I’d be there.

 

Due to a scheduling conflict, that meeting was cancelled, because the EPA scheduled a meeting concerning the status of the Superfund site designation.  My dad is square in the middle of that mess, so I went with him.  There are 1900 residences in the area that is designated as the Superfund site, which is the former Smelter that turned a few square miles of beautiful land into a toxic waste dump.  Out of the 1900 homes, about 200 have agreed to have the EPA test the yards and in some cases, the houses, for lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals.  19 of the 200 tested homeowners have agreed to have the EPA come in and clean up their houses and yards.  My dad is one of them.  His house and yard are so contaminated that they are putting him in a hotel for 5 days, and treating his house like a hazardous materials spill.  They are paying for everything, including new carpeting.  They may also dig out a few feet of soil from his yard and replace it with new topsoil and re-landscape it.  The government is taking this very seriously, and this is the first time that the EPA has ever paid to clean the insides of homes in a Superfund site.

 

They are terrified that the children in those affected houses are going to be exposed to a variety of health issues from living in these places, 100 years after the ground was polluted.  My question is “Where were they 50, 60, 75 years ago, when the pollution was even more concentrated, and I and people my age were playing in the slag dumps and climbing in these dirt piles”???????  They didn’t warn us at all.  Why now?  Well, the meeting that I went to kind of gives me a clue as to why now.  I walked into a room at the library where over 100 residents of Eilers Heights (I will no longer refer to that neighborhood as Bojon Town) were seated, and I recognized my dad and 3 other people.  They had a table in the back where you could get a set of headphones to listen to a Spanish translation of the meeting.  I know this will come off wrong to someone, but the hell with it.  I just realized that my past died, and I don’t really give a  crap that much.  In my version of that neighborhood, which obviously no longer exists, no one needed a translator.  Not the Bojons, not the Italians, not the Mexicans, no one.  Because we all spoke English outside of our house.  We may have spoken Slovenian, Italian or Spanish at home, but when we met as a community, we spoke English.  I don’t want to sound racist, but when people assimilate into a community, the community obviously works better.  There is no argument on this.  Not on my blog, anyway.

 

I listened to a few of the questions, and the people aren’t the people I knew.  They were rude, they were self-serving, and they obviously gave zero of a shit about the neighborhood past their property line, and most of them don’t really care about the property either.  Take a ride through that neighborhood.  There are maybe two dozen nice houses, and the rest are shitholes.  And the shitholes are next to the nice houses, so those poor people get to live next to these scumbags like that asshole that live at 1205 Bohmen, next to my dad.  The place looks worse that the dump, and the worthless city just turns a blind eye to it.  There have been at least 3 meth busts in the neighborhood in the last year, with weapons and huge amounts of cash being seized.  I’ve faced it.  It’s a slum and it ain’t going to get better until it gets worse.  It’s no longer worth writing about, and it’s not worth reading about either.  I’m 60 years old.  I’ve been fighting a medical condition for 40 years.  In the last 2 years, I’ve been also diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, seizures, something called a complex sleeping disorder, glaucoma, and some other things I can’t even remember.  Maybe if the EPA was around 50 years ago to clean the lead and arsenic out of my mom and dad’s house, I might not be in this nightmare.  Sucks to find out that the place you write about so fondly is actually a toxic waste dump.

 

 
To the good residents of Eilers Heights, good luck and my God help you out with this mess.  To the people that are ruining it, do us a favor and move out.  Or die.  It matters little to me.  To the people that humored the meanderings of a sad old man for these last few years, thank you.  Thanks for giving up your time to read my words, and thanks for the kind things that you all say.  Thanks to those of you that are part of these memories, those that helped me to be able to be here to remind you of how good we had it in that time when we made these memories.  I’ll be writing, but it will not be here.  This place is officially closed.

 

 

 

 

 

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One response to this post.

  1. Mike, I was heartbroken to lear this would be your last blog about BT. ( the letter after m does to seem to be working) . As a physical place I know
    it has’t bee the same for the past 30-40 years but the idea will live forever as lomg as we keep telling the stories. BT was forged by Slovemaim immigrants with the Americam Dream, opportunity. They assimilated imto the country, didm’t ask for ballots im their our language, did’t speak amythig but English. They never tried to make Slovenia here because they were proud to be a American. It was a place you would be taught math, science, English amd readimg . You got am education at Smitty’s, Medveds’ amd as you aged the pool hall. It is amazing what you could learn by listen and keeping you mouth shut. It’s sad to see the physical comditiom today but what was really lost was the semce of community. 15 years before we were born WW11 started, do you think the people of today would be willing to make all the sacrifices necessary to wim the war? It might get rid of a large group of illegal immigrants however. I know it cam to be recreated, and I miss it more every day as the country gets put into special interest groups. God bless you ad keep you cause I ever was to lose you.

    Reply

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