The Uphill Struggle

I had a really hard time getting myself on my bike this time. Just the putting the bike in my car and getting ready to go seemed to be extremely burdensome. I did it anyway even though I really didn’t want to bother.

I had been feeling down and a bit depressed for the past few days. The feelings of loneliness of working at home with almost not human contact except for the boyfriend was getting hard to take. There is one thing I hate about working at home is lack of human contact and feeling disconnected with everyone. I was really upset and frustrated Friday night and was unable to do anything. I drove around in my car for two hours trying to think of something to do, or a way to not feel so bad. The more I tried, the more upset I got. The feelings subsided a little into Saturday but I still was feeling discontent. I started to think maybe seeing a therapist again would be good.

FemaleHospital_largeIn the meantime it was nice outside and I thought I need to get out. Maybe riding my bike would help. The worst part is getting started. Plus I had to figure out where I wanted to go. Last weekend I drove through The Hill at night and walked around a little. There were some things I wanted to see better during the day so I thought maybe I should go there. The big thing was to get some sun, fresh air and force myself out of this rut.

I started at Sublette Park, the site of the old Social Evil Hospital. For a period of four years in the 1870s, St. Louis legalized prostitution. There were some rules. First of all, all prostitutes and brothels had to register with the Board of Health and pay a monthly fee. This fee would help pay for the hospital. Secondly, all prostitutes had to submit to weekly medical exams to get a license. If they failed their medical exam they had to get treated at the hospital. At first this idea of legalized prostitution was popular but it’s popularity soon waned. Many didn’t like the fees and restrictions, there were moral objections, and there was widespread corruption. Soon legalized prostitution was repealed but the hospital continued to treat women and children. Famous dancer and activist, Josephine Baker was born here in 1906. Not too long after, in 1915 the hospital was torn down.

I wandered north to Southwest Ave and stopped to get some photos of some railroad tracks and then meander around the neighborhood. The Hill is known for their restaurants and it was Saturday night so there were a lot of people around. The streets were crowded. Some areas were pretty festive. I wasn’t feeling festive. I was interested in seeing a few specific things: the long industrial buildings on Daggett Ave, see the childhood homes of baseball Hall of Famers, Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola, and see some of the houses on Shaw that I saw at night a week ago. Of course I saw all these but since my rides are wandering affairs, I discover things.

kings-viaductFirst of all I decided to ride through where the Kingshighway viaduct was. There was some clear paths so I rolled in. Not all is gone. There are some spots with some interesting graffiti, some old industrial buildings. It really isn’t a large section but it’s enough to cause much traffic disruption since Kingshighway is a busy road.

There was a interesting sculpture in a yard called “Damsel in Distress”. It’s a nude woman in a classical pose painted red and green with spots all over.

All this exploring takes my mind off my worries and the things that upset me. I look at all the interesting houses, houses that are not like other areas in the city. I notice all the Italian pride – colors of the flag, actual flags, Mediterranean styles, Italian social clubs advertising bocci ball. St. Louis is a city of neighborhood and each have a unique flavor. I climb hills and tire myself out.

I end by laying down in the grass in Sublette Park, the site of an old hospital. I feel as though I brought myself there to get treated and now I leave feeling better. The golden glow of the evening sun, the cool grass, the sound of kids playing somehow puts me at ease again.

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