Acres Homes is a community whose builders had the idea that every family should have an acre of land, thus the name Acres Homes. I am a fourth generation resident and recipient of that idea. Those who reside in the area know about familiar places like Orlando, Pewee’s Snack Shack and Burns Bar-b-que. At any given time you may see horseback riders coming through the neighborhood. Most residents have horses in stalls or barns. You will also see Pitbulls, German shepherds, Rottwielers, or Labrador retriever dogs in yards. When I was young I called my Big Mama’s house The Barn. I called it that because she had horses, dogs, goats, and chickens. My Uncle Bubba made me believe that eggs came from horses. I explained to him I was not going eat horse eggs. Obviously, I believed him because the eggs were brown, and I was only four at the time. I would never know why this topic of horse eating was so hilarious until I learned equinology later on.
This laughter was common in the community. Family has always been the center point of our community. There was always someone having a party or a get together for some reason or another. The cowboys and cowgirls would have a gathering at The Masonic Lodge. There would be the annual Easter egg hunt at Lincoln City Park. There would also be the usual school supply giveaway at a variety of neighborhood churches. Kim, a mother of two, told me that she went to various churches to find the supplies for her children before school started. Every now and then, someone would have a family dinner just because they hadn’t seen someone in the family for a while. I loved the music, food, and especially the fun of it all.
Acre Homes is not a predominantly rich neighborhood, although it is rich in love. You will see some beautiful homes like in the suburbs, but not that many. Most people are poor. Even in that they will feed the elderly and tend to the sick and shut in. A family will use beans, rice, and cornbread to extend a meal. Although you may not see a lot of name-brand clothes floating around, you will see the children dressed nice and neat. You will more than likely find that residents that have more than three children tend to have the children share their room. A few days ago, I witnessed a child walk into a house that was in obvious need of repair. The roof was worn and they had plastic around the windows of the house. Usually, income tax time is a time to make up for things like home repair and everything that was missed throughout the year, whether it was the purchase of new clothes, furniture, games, bikes, cell phones or computers. The main purchase is a new automobile. If there was enough money left over, maybe they would pay a bill or two.
The community believes that it takes a village to raise a child. Education was and still is very important. If adults saw you on the street, they wanted to know why you weren’t in school. If they saw you, and they did not know your parents they would ask who your people were. If you had graduated from high school, you either went to college or got a job. Those were your only choices. You just didn’t hang out all day. When I was growing up, the entire neighborhood knew each other and their children as well. All the children went to the same school according to their age. They would catch the same bus, and even walk home in a cluster. If someone’s child was acting up on the block, then, believe me, that parent heard about it before they got home from the other parents. This was after that child had been corrected by the neighbor, of course. Talk about double punishment! All the children had to be in the house by the time the street lights came on. That is one of those things I still see. It is good to know some things do not change.
The older generation has become more economically efficient. They are in the smaller, more economic cars, and are normally home by eight p.m. The younger generation is driving older cars. Cars like Cadillac, Delta eighty-eights, and Buicks. You will see the tinted windows, custom paint jobs, chrome bumpers or custom fronts and grills, and TVs on the inside. They will also change the rims. They will put what is called spinners, elbows or swangers (1000 spokes). They will drop some speakers in the back that will cover the whole trunk area. Then they will go hang out at the local car wash, especially on Saturdays. At the corner of West Little York and West Montgomery is a popular and normal car wash location where people go to meet the opposite sex. They use the camouflage that they were only there to wash their car. What’s so crazy is that they invest all that money in the vehicle, but barely have enough money for gas.
Church is the foundation of the area. You can pretty much find a church on every corner. There are definitely two and even three churches on some streets. When I was growing up, going to church five out of the seven days of the week was a normal thing. Church on Sunday was and still is an expectation. Parents didn’t just drop their children off; they went as well. If they could not take you because they were sick, the backup plan went into effect. A ride was called. Missing church was not an option. If there was a case when you missed church, you got the ever so loving, “We missed you at church today” phone call. Church was all day, beginning with Sunday school at nine a.m. and ending with evening service at three p.m.
The community has always been mostly Black. When I was a child, suspicions were raised when someone of another race was spotted there. The assumption was that he was there buying drugs or he was a cop. Through the years, the face of the community has changed. We now have White people and Hispanic people in the area, although it is still predominantly Black.
The Acre Homes community has not only thrived but survived the economic changes because they interact with one another, they support black owned businesses and they aren’t afraid of change or to get out and know one another or see what is going on within their community. We encourage our children to get a quality education, travel, discover who they are and to not forget to give back to the community.