Just an Old Abandoned Building?
The story, as I see it, behind the AA building
History, in comparison to other cities in the country, South Phoenix really doesn't have much. However if you actually go down there and walk around the streets and take the time, you can find history. It may not be where George Washington spent the night or where Lincoln ate dinner but it is history.
One of the buildings that stick out at you is the old Alcoholics Anonymous building. It has seen better days, you can tell that by looking at the boarded up windows and the faded, worn looking sign above the front door. There is a chain link fence that surrounds the building, I assume for the safety of the public more than to preserve the building. Weeds have taken over any landscaping that may have once been there and some empty beer bottles, ironically, are now the focal point to the scene.
The stories that this place could tell would reveal a lot of history. You can picture the droves of people that have been in and out of the building, troubled people that were down in the deepest despair. You can still see the people wandering in. Maybe a young man that was at the end of his road. He moved to the Phoenix area when it was young and still developing, he received his cow and fifty chickens.
He probably works hard on his ranch and hopes to have many children to help ease some of the burden. Maybe the children aren't growing fast enough but the bills are. The ranching business isn't what he thought it would be. He needs his escape, his break from the responsibilities that reality holds for him.
As you look towards the entrance you can imagine a middle-aged Anglo woman walking in ten years later, a housewife that is falling apart. She is struggling keeping the house in order, the meals cooked, the laundry kept up, the dusting, not to mention the vacuuming. Between the demands of her children and her husband she just doesn't have time for her. The times have kept her a housewife and the depression kicked in and she turned to her friend in the bottle, it doesn't demand anything from her. Now, she has decided to turn it around and get help through her neighborhood AA.
As the story goes on another 30 years later or so the part of town that the building is in isn't as it was when the housewife or the rancher attended meetings there. The city has changed it isn't Phoenix anymore it is South Phoenix. Judging the way the building looks now you can picture the down on their luck homeless people wandering in for a cup of coffee if nothing else. Mixed in are also the people that now live in the area, which is a mostly Hispanic and African American community. Some being helped others just passing through non-the less a different variety of people that had once inhabited its halls.
Now, 2002, here the building still stands. Through all the years and all the people that had passed through its doors. All that it was there for and was able to help and even the ones that just passed by it. It stood there waiting to be of aid for anyone at any time, now though it is empty. Just another eyesore on the other side of the river, it stands abandoned in the "shady" part of town. Are they waiting for people to decide that it is a good place to live, close to downtown and a great view, so the land prices will go up before it is sold? What will take its place a trendy strip mall, a cool restaurant, or some new condos?
Just by looking at this wonderful old building you can feel its history. The souls that were aided there, the lives that were touched, all of that is a part of the past now. Soon it will be the "in thing" to live in South Phoenix and as that happens beautiful old buildings that have some sort of story will be replaced with items that a modern community wants, a dry cleaner, a grocery store, or a convenience store. It may not be where someone famous once visited but aren't its stories of the past just as important for our future? How can our city ever build a history when it keeps being torn down for the development and expansion of society?