I’m watching and reading the news about Swine fever and I’m worried about the rest of the WHYS team in Mexico City. I was relieved to watch their video and how they planned to produce the show. I hope they get here safely.
Today I’ve been shown around Kokomo. The lovely Lisa Fipps , a local journalist and the editor of the Kokomo Perspective, has volunteered to take me around. We went through the rough part of town and through there we stopped at this abandoned old auto-factory that used to be one of the Haynes plants. Now, as you see in the video above it’s deserted ; its parking lot full of abandoned old cars where you can get an odd spare part if you wanted. The reason it struck me was because it is very representative of the fears that many of the people in Kokomo have expressed to me.
Many are scared of what will come of the auto-industry and what will happen to Chrysler and Delphi plants , the main employers in this town. If something isn’t done soon people will move and many factories will eventually look like the one standing behind me. Lisa told me the last thing anyone in Kokomo wants to do is move. Life is nice and quite in Kokomobut the air of tension and uncertainty is palpable. Andy Jones is a father of two he workd in Indianapolis and lives with his family in Kokomo. He’s holding his breath and told me if the factories here would close, that simply means their house will be worth nothing. “no on eis going to want to live here if those factories close.” he told me.
We made our way through many of the locations we’ll be broadcasting from ; Howard Regional Health System , the lovely Op Shop or the Kokomo Opalescent glass company, Kokomo High School, Kokomo Rescue Mission ,UAW local 292 and downtown Kokomo. The place I’ll remember the most, however, is Bill Hall’s home in Mulberry St. it’s in the poorer part of town mainly inhabited by African Americans. According to Lisa, Bill is an amazing character a black historian who’s lived in Kokomo all his life and back in the day worked in a restaurant where he cooked and cleaned but was not allowed to eat there. Unfortunatelywe couldn’t find him , he’s still in rehab according to the folks in the neighborhood but his house is still there. Even in this poor neighborhood, where a bad economic situation is most apparent, I couldn’t help but notice how friendly and open everyone is. All you had to do is slow your car down or pullover and people start waving at you with beckoning smiles.
I really look forward to our show on Wednesday, in the meantime stay tuned for more videos and of course listen out to the show from Mexico City.