There Goes The Neighborhood

"And those people in Golden Gate. For the most part, they didn't even take an active part in getting Golden Gate settled. They call themselves the Lola B. Walker Homeowners Association, but we couldn't get any of those people to come to the meetings while Lola Walker was living. Lola tried to get them to come and they wouldn't come. We had only two representatives from Golden Gate. Then after Lola died, everybody wanted to do this and do that and use her name.

"Right now I'm still telling the City Commission that the toilets they have out here at Grand Avenue Park look like the toilets they had back in the Twenties. Since May of last year, the children have been without a decent place in which to rest in the afternoon and to go to the bathroom; they had some old stink toilets, those portable things. In May of 1990, they put the portables out there and kept them nine or ten months. That job was supposed to take between 60 and 90 days. They might have fixed the toilets, but they're still working on the building, so as far as I'm concerned it's still Tobacco Road.

"One day during the McDonald extension thing, I went walking with Jack Mulvena, the guy who runs the Department of Off-Street Parking, and he told me, `Armbrister, when you die, girl, they're going to have a feast.' Now Barbara Johnson over at the CAA says the funeral should be at Dade County Auditorium so they can have me propped up in the casket so that when they come around to view my body, they can see me with my mouth shut and my lips sealed -- I'll be laying out there cold with gloves on 'cause they've never seen me with gloves on before. And they can hit me on the head or do what they want to do and say, `Damn, Armbrister sure enough is dead. Damn, she's dead and she can't talk, man.' So Mulvena says, `Armbrister, the day after we bury you, we are going to go into Coconut Grove and all this stuff you've been telling us we couldn't have, we're going to take it.' Then he had enough nerve to hug me.

"The thing about it is, they won't be taking nothing from me. They'll be taking it from everybody, because this is Coconut Grove. Not the Black Grove or this new thing they've come up with, where you're now considered as living in the West Grove. I don't know who came up with that phrase or that name. It's Coconut Grove, and that's what we've always called it. That's what it was when I came here in 1936. That's how it should stay.

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