Can There Come Anything Good?


Mildred Hatcher

January 1989

Sitting and thinking my thoughts travel back,
       To a place and a people on the wrong side
       of the track.
The boundaries were set-North, South, East, and West.
      “Boogerville”- A name always spoken in jest.

People in other sections knew only too well,
      The poverty and reputation of those who here
      did dwell.
The police knew the nearest way to the neighborhood
      For everyone didn’t always do that which was
      right or good.

Though many did stumble and some did fall,
       Yet it was still “all for one and one for all.”
Many were poor, hard working textile hands,
       with large families and no interest bearing
        savings plans.

So people outside the boundaries that were set,
      Didn’t often associate with Boogerville folks
      they met.
But the families living within these bounds,
       Had a closeness that today can’t be found.

Many things the people lived without,
       But learned what being a neighbor was all about.
There was time to sit with the sick and the dying,
       Time to share a neighbor’s laughter and
       their crying.

There were no privacy fences, no manicured lawns,
       Only sand and dirt ‘round the three room
       Shot gun homes.
Windows and doors were left open wide,
       Anyone who wanted to just came on inside.

No appointments were needed to visit a friend,
       Everyone felt free to just drop in.
And if the table was set and the food was hot
       The neighbor was always welcome to dip into
        the pot.

The people had little and expected no more,
       Than a playground for kids and U-can-charge
        it store.
A school and a staff that received little acclaim,
       Because of this section from which most
       students came.

A church financially struggling to fulfill.
       The great commission, which is still God‘s will.

A  mortuary with kind staff who understood.
       That some people would pay but some
never would.

The old neighborhood is no more
       Families and friends are gone-some
       through eternity’s door.
Businesses now flourish where houses once
       were found,
It’s no longer known as “Boogerville” but
       now it’s “Uptown.”

Years have passed and the barriers are down,
       Now these families can be found in the
       best parts of town.
Outsiders expected nothing good to come,
       From a place where everyone was believed
       to be lazy and dumb.

But people in general have had to do an about face,
        When they find Boogervillians all over the place.
You’ll find them in Medicine, Ministry, Education and Law,
        and their successes in businesses leaves one
        filled with awe.

They’ve invaded government-Federal City and State,
        Others provide essential services that society
        needs to operate.
Young men of this section answered their country’s call,
        Some returned home but others gave their all. 

As we look back through all the years,
        Our hearts are merry, yet some eyes are
       filled with tears.
New friends have been made,  new goals have been set,
       But our friends of old, we can never forget.

“Out of Nazareth can there come anything good?”
       Phillip the apostle was asked this question as
       before the doubters he stood.
His answer was given so clear and so loud.
      “Come and see” were his instructions to
       the crowd.

Concerning our old neighborhood there’s been
       the same question and doubt,
So tonight, by God‘s grace and mercy, come see
       what Boogerville has turned out.

Map of Boogerville
History of Linwood

Born in Boogerville

Shotgun shacks and poolroom nights
the street light hangs as shadows cross
knives slashing against young men’s bodies.
The playground lights shine
through the thick summer air.
as boys watch through the windows
the sewer rats cross the street
to the bricks where by day
the children pick the dewberries
The dirt sidewalks and front yards
are swept clean
as all go about the business of living.