Per Wikipedia: Sing Sing Correctional Facility is a maximum security prison operated by the New York State Department of Correctional Services in the town of Ossining, New York. It is located about 30 miles north of New York City on the bank of the Hudson River.
I lied. In an earlier blog, I painted my life as being (one reader observed) "Rockwellian" in nature. And, for the most part - it was. But, for whatever reason, my parents couldn't wait to ship me off to my Aunts every weekend, to Ossining N.Y.
Though it was only ten miles away, it may as well have been on another planet. My Aunts' house was right on the bank of the Hudson River, actually a tributary to it - and across from Sing Sing Prison. It was the epitome of the word: 'Ghetto'. Though omnipresent, we rarely talked about the prison itself. It was like the proverbial elephant in the room; We were taught that if we heard the siren sound, it was signaling that an inmate had escaped, and we were to drop whatever we were doing, and run home - only to remain in the house, under lock and key, until the prisoner (s) were caught. As a child, I didn't know how to feel about that. I guess I was supposed to think it was normal, like the garbage everyone dumped behind her house. Like the stench which permeated her property because of what people poured in the 'river' behind her home. Like how we could never go to the store alone, we always had to travel in groups (preferably with boy escorts, and not to flirt with, either).
I guess I know this is wrong (my current living conditions), because I've already endured it - in an earlier life. And, I remember how much I dreaded going to my Aunts house, and how grateful I was to return home Sunday night - no matter how dysfunctional it was.
The funny thing is, now Ossining has been gentrified somewhat, enough for my (white) step-sister to feel comfortable living there, and raising her kids there. Life is funny. 30 years ago, you couldn't have paid her to visit Ossining, yet now she lives there. That's hilarious to me.
Ask her - and of course she'll say it doesn't matter, nothing matters. She makes enough money to insulate her from the horrors of Sing Sing, and the stench and fear it evokes. I guess it also helps that there are plans being finalized as I write this - to convert the prison into a museum. Aaaaahhhhhh..... Capitalism at it's best......
And so, yes - we've come full circle to money, and the fact that if you have enough of it - you can see things you want to see, and you can afford NOT to see the things you don't. That's what I want - the luxury of having the choice NOT to live next to a swamp, or across from a landfill - or down the street from a prison - if I don't want to. That's what I want.