Walking Whittier

I leafleted my assigned Whittier neighborhood blocks last month with an invite to the Democrat caucus. Caucuses make recommendations for the party platform, vote on officers, delegates, and local candidates. It’s important. All politics is local.

I hadn’t done a leaflet walk for a while. Whittier continues to change. Houses on whose shabby doors I once found shriveled leaflets left months earlier have been remodeled, their yards pristine. They now have Ring cameras, new porch furniture and recently arrived Amazon packages.

Bookstore info in Whittier

When this neighborhood was predominately black, it was also predominately Democrat. On my walk, a young guy who looked Latino stepped out to take the flyer I’d just left. I smiled and explained.

He grinned. “I’m Republican.”

“Really! Not many of those in this neighborhood,” I said, although I’m not sure that’s still true. “Are you voting for Trump?”

“Yep,” he replied, still grinning.


The grin vanished. He mumbled, then said, “have a good day,” and shut the door.

I ran into a former student who lives in the hood and told her that story. She pointed, “Trump sign at that house and one in the next block.”

When I canvassed in the old days, people said “of course I’m voting for Obama. Thanks for doing this work for us.” Maybe those days are gone.

I passed the biker club. I don’t know much about motorcycles. Monster Hondas and Harleys, maybe. Maybe Indians, the big bike Dad had in the 40s. The club was there when I moved into this neighborhood forty years ago, has a sign that says, “established in 1971.” Twenty years ago, a Denver cop told me fondly: “That’s just a bunch of old black guys that like to ride bikes and smoke marijuana.” The cop was a biker himself.

It was a balmy 64° that February Sunday, about a dozen huge, gleaming motorcycles neatly lined up in front of the club and about the same number of black leather jacketed guys hanging on the sidewalk, lively conversations in progress. The club too has changed: only a few of those guys looked old and their building’s been spiffed up. There were a couple white guys among them, surprising me into staring for a second.

As I said, they were on the sidewalk. I had to step through their towering group—I’m short, but these people were TALL. I waved my flyers, called out for takers.

“I’m Independent,” one said, declining.

“That’s good too—better than Republican,” I responded. I heard a couple chuckles.

Two guys put out their hands for flyers. Probably just being polite.

Cafebrería El Péndulo, Mexico City’s Zona Rosa, 2016

Two weeks later, we had a two-day snow, 8 or 9 inches here in town, the most in three years. Two or three days after that, blue sky, high in the upper 40s, streets and sidewalks clear and dry. On my walk, I saw bookstore signs telling how many miles they are from here. Some of my favorites: Cafebrería El Péndulo in Mexico City, Shakespeare and Company in Paris, The Strand in New York, Green Apple Books in San Francisco, and Powell’s in Portland. I’ve browsed in each of those fine establishments. And Tattered Cover, of course. One mile away.

During that walk after the snow, I was passed by young adults with dogs, jogging in shorts. The mailman was in short sleeves. That’s how Denver rolls, people.

And that’s the latest from the neighborhood. But stay tuned. Things change every time I walk The Whittier.

Bookstore info in the neighborhood

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10 Responses to Walking Whittier

  1. Philo Cavendish says:

    Too bad about the tree, but I LOVE the bookstore signs! Who are those people? We need to get to know them. They’re Whittier neighbors of course.

  2. Katharine Knight says:

    Thanks for taking us for your Whittier walks! I think Ram Dass said something like “We’re all just walking each other home.”

  3. Bob Jaeger says:

    Thanks, Pat. Yup, things change everywhere all the time.

    • dubrava says:

      Bob, how many times have we driven past some corner we pass three times a week to find it bulldozed and ask, “What was there?”

  4. Gregg says:

    Those Ring cameras! They’re everywhere, something I didn’t realize until canvassing for a politician a couple of years ago. (She was one of those progressives I always vote for. You know, the type that doesn’t have a chance of winning.)

    I was on a jury not too long ago, and the main piece of evidence on which we based our guilty verdict (domestic violence) was a video clip from a neighbor’s Ring camera. So there’s that.

  5. Michael Stipek says:

    Pat and Phil: Peg and I, like you, are so fortunate to live in neighborhoods that have such a variety of houses, from grand old dames to new (1970s!) places, along with the huge trees and a lovely mix of peoples of all ages and differences.
    We are also pleased with all of the young families that have bought houses on our block the last several years – 12 houses, six with children under the ages of about eight. There is nothing finer than the tinkling laughter of young voices to brighten the day.

  6. Michael Stipek says:

    Ahhhh, bookstores, the treasures of all eras! To add to your list of wonderful icons of (original) laptop pleasures: Elliot Bay in Seattle and Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara. You cannot get out of these places in less than two+ hours! In Chaucer’s I came across a large foldout map of all of the whisky (Scot’s spelling) distilleries in Scotland, which I gave to a teacher friend – from Scotland – who will be retiring there in a few years. And has a love of a wee dram on occasion from his homeland.

    • dubrava says:

      Michael, just found these last delightful comments of yours: drat WordPress. I thought we fixed that notification problem. Cheers in any case.

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