I’ve spent a vast majority of my time in Baltimore since I was 16 years old. If someone had told me when I was a 16 year old skater girl hanging in the old Fells Point square that I would eventually call the neighborhood home, I would have laughed. I loved the city and often looked for any excuse to try and move to the city while trapped in the Howard County suburbs where I grew up.
In 2003, My husband and I found a condo in The Belevedere building and we finally made the decision to move to an urban environment. Since then, we’ve never wanted to leave. Although we have moved a few times since then, our decision remains the same: We love Baltimore. We’re not leaving. We had a small child and we were staying.
A few years ago, Columnist Lenore Skenazy made a few headlines with her story about her nine year old son, who begged her to allow him to get home via mass transportation.
By Himself. *cue collective gasps*
The comments on her article were ranging from “It’s about time!” to “You are a TERRIBLE mother!” This particular situation was very interesting to me because I had a daughter whom I trusted to walk from Canton to Fells Point every day. She started walking with a group of people at age ten. I couldn’t understand why many of my suburban parent counterparts were so astonished that I allowed my daughter to walk home with her friends. They asked me if I was sacred. I wasn’t. They asked me If I thought about the dangers of the city. I understood them. They asked me if I had told my daughter of these dangers. I did. Yes, I have a “Free Range Kid”.
We stay in Baltimore for many reasons. Those many reasons have been mentioned in previous entries and we agree that being able to walk to our favorite coffee shops, night spots and parks is awesome. One of the most important reasons, however, is that my husband and I were able to instill a sense of Independence in my daughter early on. Lizzie is now 16, attends Institute of Notre Dame. She spends her summers volunteering at St Vincents. During the the summer she walks to work every morning from our Patterson Park home. She often walks to her friends homes and spends time in Patterson Park during the winter and summer months. She maintains that while she isn’t scared, she is always aware of her surroundings and is much more attentive to what is going on, sometimes, much more than her friends who were raised in a suburban environment. In a year and a half, I’ll be sending her to college. My husband and I are confident that we will be sending her off with more of a sense of independence and awareness because of her upbringing in the City of Baltimore. Although she hasn’t made a decision on what college she will be attending, after much soul searching, Lizzie will be staying in an urban environment. (yes, Mom does hope It’s Hopkins!!!)
Yes, Baltimore has its ills. Doesn’t every city? However, Baltimore is much more than what was portrayed on “The Wire”. I’ve managed to raise a successful honor student with her sights on a top tier college in an urban setting--They said it couldn’t be done! It took some hard work, but I am confident that the community we chose to raise her in played a large part of her intellect, awareness, independence and compassion.
Lori Travis lives in Patterson Park with husband, Aaron and daughter, Lizzie. She is a full-time IT Tech Support person and part-time photograper.
There are countless reasons we've all chosen to raise our families in downtown Baltimore, but sometimes we may need to be reminded. Every Monday we will post a few pictures and words that capture one of these reasons in our series, Why We Stay. If you would like to share why YOU stay, either leave a link to your own blog post in the comments or email us your contribution to be posted on the DBFA Blog in the coming weeks.