Welcome to City-Zen: Real Conversations with Real Baltimoreans, a question and answer series with locals sharing their thoughts on issues that are top-of-mind to many. Whether just starting out, raising a family, struggling to get by, or at the top of your game, we all have something in common. It’s easier to communicate once we understand the perspective of others.
Meet Becca B. and Wayne H. – Decade-plus residents of the Glenham-BelHar neighborhood off of Walther Avenue. Their friendship started as teacher and student at a local high school and grew as they discovered they were neighbors. Wayne is a charismatic young man with an imagination that doesn’t stop. He’s helped Becca view the world with new wonder and amusement while keeping the realities of youth in check.
How would you describe your neighborhood vibe? Architecture, people, walkability?
Our neighborhood has a lot of single-family homes and a nice mix of people (young and older, different races and income levels). We love walking to Walther Gardens for a snowball in warmer weather and seeing other classmates and teachers who live in the area.
What is the most positive community action happening in your area – somebody making change – that you’d like people to know about?
In addition to serving fantastic snowballs, the brother and sister team at Walther Gardens are rehabbing the property to create gardens, make a community use building, operate a little shop that sells housewares and decor, and they are incredibly welcoming and lovely. We are excited to see the changes that are coming in the next several years.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Becca: Although I’m outgoing and gregarious, I’m scared of parties where I have to meet new people.
Wayne: That I’m very sensitive, and one of my favorite people is a short, middle-aged white lady who used to be my art teacher –let me stop.
What makes you want to shut the world out? How do you make that happen (what do you like to do)?
Becca: Ever present poverty and inequality shuts me down so I obsessively redecorate my house to get my mind off of things.
Wayne: School is stressful, so I watch television and sleep.
How are you making a difference in Baltimore?
Becca: I’m working to create support systems for teachers in Baltimore City and ensure that all students have a voice and access to arts education, no matter what school they attend or neighborhood they live in.
Wayne: Working with younger children to not be bullies.
What is your most significant personal success?
Becca: Having the opportunity to serve Baltimore City students for the past seven years as a teacher and being trusted with families’ stories and realities.
Wayne: Getting my first job this summer.
What are your top 3 FREE activities to do in Baltimore?
1. Walk around and talk to people on the street (I look like a creep but that’s what I do!);
2. Go to lectures at MICA and in the Station North neighborhood;
3. Go to the Walters Art Museum and sketch from their Cabinet of Curiosities!
1. Go to the mall with friends;
2. In the fall, I watch the leaves fall off the trees;
Chris is the Account Manager for Baltimore Fishbowl.With 30+ years of experience in media, a background in journalism and a career in advertising and marketing, Chris has spent the past 5+ years dedicated to Baltimore Fishbowl, helping local businesses reach Baltimore Fishbowl viewers, with a little writing sprinkled in here and there.