DAYTON — Vendola Lawrence will be the first to tell you nothing ever stays the same. But not even she was prepared for the changes she saw to her childhood home’s neighborhood in west Dayton.
Vendola returned a couple years ago after she had moved away in 1989 for a job with the Veterans Administration. Her parents passed away, and they left their home to her.
Retirement was now a part of her life, and she figured what better way to enjoy life, no work, and relaxation than on the front porch of her little blue house which sits off West Third Street.
“I wasn’t used to something like this,” is what she told News Center 7′s James Brown as the two talked on the same front porch she played on as a child. “Paper, baby diapers … cans,” is what she said people toss out into the street like it is their own personal dump.
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So, “Instead of complaining about it, I just started doing it.” She came up with a plan, and she went to work with her gloves, garbage bags and three-foot -long stick to grab the nasty trash she said nobody should have to touch.
As James walked Vendola, she went from one piece of trash to another. “This is paper, also a plastic soda bottle,” as she grabbed each piece and put it in her garbage bag. “I don’t like seeing trash as I’m looking ahead at that empty lot.”
She zig-zagged down her street which was about the length of two football fields. Then she took a hard left turn into an alley. “This is the kind of stuff I was not accustomed to seeing when I was young.” She referred to the piles of trash she said people dumped. As Vendola worked, she went from carrying the trash bag - to dragging it because the bag had become too heavy.
When James asked her what she had to say to people who are careless with their own garbage, “Those littering stop doing it! Put their garbage in a trash can!”
Vendola admitted she did not envision working three to four days a week on trash detail during retirement. James asked her, “are you making a difference? She paused for a moment and said,
“I think so. Because the streets look better, the community looks a little better. I want them to know there is someone who cares about their community. "
It’s nice to see how a 65-year-old woman’s wonderful childhood memories can still inspire her to make a difference.
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