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Tuesday, May 5, 2015
A tale of two cities: Baltimore
       Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. moved to Baltimore six years ago much to the astonishment of many friends who thought they had surely lost their minds. After the tragic events of the past couple of weeks you might think they would be having second thoughts about the wisdom of forsaking peaceful South Nags Head for strife-torn Charm City.
       He is happy to report that this is not the case. They fell in love with Baltimore very quickly and nothing that happened last week has made them change their minds about it. This is a great place for people like themselves to live and they hope that what happened last week will turn out to be a positive step toward making it a good place for everybody who lives here.
       Unfortunately Baltimore, like many other American communities, is really two cities existing in the same location---one for the lucky, mostly white, folks who are able to enjoy all the good things about the city---and one for the unlucky, mostly black, population who struggle to survive in a place where jobs have disappeared with the collapse of American manufacturing. A case in point: the Bethlehem Steel plant which once employed 30,000 workers, many of them African-Americans, and now employs none.
       Chronic and severe unemployment has led to a host of social ills in the black neighborhoods of Baltimore which have persisted over generations despite band-aid remedies which have accomplished little to overcome decades of racial discrimination, segregation in housing and schools, Jim Crow laws, brutal policing and a grossly unfair criminal justice system.
       Whether the violent offshoots of last week's mostly peaceful protest marches will positively or negatively affect future efforts to ameliorate Baltimore's deep-seated and complex problems remains to be seen. In any case Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. aren't going anywhere.
       (Except to South Nags Head of course at every opportunity).

P.S. The pictures below are offered as an antidote to the negative images of Baltimore that saturated the media over the past ten days.

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The cherry trees in front of Uncle Jack's condo building are in full bloom.

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The public park across the street has reached peak prettiness.

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Thousands of tulips are in bloom along with many other shrubs and flowers in nearby Sherwood Gardens, another public park in the upscale neighborhood called Guilford which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.

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A typical front yard in Guilford where a small army of landscapers toils all year round to keep everything shipshape.

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The Johns Hopkins University Spring Fair went on as scheduled in late April. This duo known as Nelly's Echo entertained Uncle Jack and Mrs. U.J. on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Nelly is an incredibly talented singer from Nigeria.

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These kids wound up on the stage with Nelly before the afternoon was out.

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This colorful gent and his monkey entertained passersby with his ukulele and funny songs. The monkey collected tips.

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Mrs. U.J. and daughter Katy Maloney admire Kate's tree in front of her house in Hamilton Hills, an integrated working class neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore untouched by the recent unfortunate events.

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Meanwhile back in South Nags Head there are still a few choice weeks available this summer and fall in Uncle Jack's Beach Cottage. Google it or contact the Cola Vaughan Agency for more info about this delightful senior friendly house.

posted by Uncle Jack at 11:21 AM

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After retiring in 2005 after 35 years as owner/operator of Yellowhouse Gallery and Annex on the Beach Road in Nags Head, Uncle Jack, accompanied by Mrs. Uncle Jack (a.k.a. Susan), commenced to travel extensively. This blog is a chronicle of their ramblings around the U.S. (in their redoubtable Mini Cooper convertible) as well as visits to England, Ireland, France, Italy, and Malta, interspersed with lengthy stays in South Nags Head and Baltimore between trips. He took a lot of pictures along the way, many of which are posted along with each blog entry.
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