I lived a significant portion of my teenage years (from 11 until 14) in the inner city of Regina, also referred to as North Central or Moccasin Flats. It’s the most impoverished and most crime ridden neighbourhood in Regina. While things were not all rosy while I was there in the 1980s, things are far less rosy now.
Nevertheless, here are a few lessons I learned growing up in inner city Regina during the 80s.
1. Gangs exist.
2. Prostitutes peddle their wares on residential street.
3. Abandoned schools make attractive playgrounds for teenaged boys.
4. So do apartment building parkades.
5. Apartment building managers don’t like teenaged boys playing in their parkades
6. Turf wars can be settled without guns.
7. Some children eat only two meals a week.
8. Children start having sex at an early age.
9. When my brother and I threw a party, it was the first party our friends attended that was free of beer and sex.
10. A lot of children go to empty homes after school.
11. I made friends as easily here as I did when I lived in The Crescents.
12. People may still break into your house even if you live in subsidized housing.
13. People will try breaking into your house even if you bar your doors shut.
14. A big dog can be helpful in preventing people from breaking in through a basement window.
15. Some teachers don’t take any smack.
16. Schools without air conditioning can be hot during prairie summers.
17. 12 isn’t too early to start smoking.
18. Poor kids like sports.
19. Poor kids can succeed academically.
20. Rap and heavy metal are popular among poor kids.