The light in a dark place

By Zoë Bechdel

Warren, Ohio, is not a very safe place to live. This is no shock to hear and sadly, a town that was once known for its businesses and thriving population is now just another town where it seems like nothing good can happen. However, there is one little circle in Warren that not many people know about, and it does exist outside of the madness of drug deals and shootings. This small circle is not far at all from the bad areas, but to its advantage, it does feel hidden away from most people except those who reside in it. This circle makes up the neighborhood of two streets: Carlton and Regal drives.

The minute someone steps foot or drives into this circle, it’s astonishing to see how different and how much brighter it is compared to the rest of the streets in the same city. No matter what time of day, something interesting is always happening. Residents are always walking their dogs, but some go walking by themselves or with a friend.

Jason Makosky, who is currently living here and has for seven years, said, “I like riding my bike around to visit all of my friends, and I love when I hear Tom outside.”

Tom Weller, who lives in this circle with his wife, Peggy and their two big black poodles, enjoys going outside on nicer days to practice playing his bagpipes. Between Tom playing his bagpipes in the woods behind his house and his tiny wife Peggy, riding around on her bike with a huge, padded seat while ringing her bell, they make everyone laugh with joy.

Most families living here are predominantly middle to olderaged people. Another thing that makes this neighborhood so appealing is how approachable everyone is. Even though every neighbor is aware of what city they live in, and what happens even a mile away from them, all of these neighbors are so friendly and kind. Cindy Angelo and Connie Miller are always together doing something or another. The two best friends live across the street from each other, and they are the definition of entertainment. They are always together, whether they’re going to the Olympic Club to swim and join in on the line dances, or just sitting playing cards while gossiping.

The Carlton/Regal Drive circle is a few streets away from the Warren McGuffy School and is also within walking distance of the Warren Olympic Club. Those two landmarks are both in the east direction, but if you look more to the other side outside of the circle, there is a dangerous motel and a smaller gas station each one street away from Carlton and Regal. At Riverview Motel, there are incidents occurring weekly, including drug overdoses and shootings. Sometimes these incidents and the emergency vehicles can easily be heard from the circle, as well as screams for help.

“It got to the point where almost nightly there were police cars and ambulances there,” Shannon Hodge, who lived in this circle for four years, said.

The gas station and convenience store located right next to this motel is mainly known for being robbed and for drug deals taking place in its parking lot.

The Carlton/Regal neighborhood makes you feel like you are in a completely different city because of how perfectly everyone keeps their yards and houses together.

“My neighbors are nice ,and at Halloween they all gather at Cindy’s house dressed up and handout candy in a circle,” Makosky said. 

“It’s fun around the circle, there are parks very close to it and funny people who make living there really cool,” Jason said.

“It’s like it was its own community, Hodge said.

 Shannon did not necessarily like living in Warren in general, as her neighbors were a very interesting cast of characters.”

“I lived there for four years, and even though I was not happy about the city we were residing in, the people we were surrounded by made it feel just a little bit safer,” Shannon said. 

Further in this list of characters are Herb and Mary, who always go together on midday strolls on the sidewalks. They entertain their family regularly on their back deck where they invite friends over as well to have a cookout. They are very open and honest people and always try their best to wave to everyone who they come across in their walk.

Sometimes I go visit my next-door neighbors Herb and Mary and their grandson Will and talk to all of them,” Jason said.

Paul Makosky, who also lives in the circle, is known as this neighborhood’s version of Clark Griswold because he dangerously strings his Christmas lights on the world’s tallest tree, which happens to be in his front yard. He performs this feat by climbing up a 25-foot ladder that loosely leans against the tree while he grasps a 10-foot-long metal pole, which he uses to propel each light strand onto individual branches. The good neighbors are always happy that another year has passed without ‘Clark’ Makosky falling to his death. Makosky always manages to make it work out and prides himself of the glowing tree.

The characters are the stars of this area. They make up the personality of this place by simply being themselves and being so kind and hilarious. They add to the uniqueness and the charm of this small seclusion. Additionally, it is strange how out of all of the well-known neighborhoods in Warren, Ohio, this circle seems to be the brightest and most well-kept one.

When walking around our seclusion it was very easy to pretend you were elsewhere because of how nice our area was kept,” Shannon said.

After experiencing many people coming across it in one way or another, it is also apparent that everyone seems surprised to find a neighborhood located where Carlton and Regal lie. Maybe it is good that no one really knows; it leaves room for at least a part of Warren to remain somewhat safe, and for its people to keep hidden away from the outside world.

“I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” Jason said.

Clearly, this little hidden circle is its own city in the eyes of all people who have and are currently living there. These neighbors support each other and make the best out of where they all live. They try and make it fun for the children growing up within it, as well as keep their homes looking beautiful so as to make it the best place to live. Whether or not people know this little gem is there or not, it is safe to say that it is very different than what surrounds it. Taking an outside view on this circle, it seems as though it acts as a barrier between what Warren as a city is and what things may happen on a day-to-day basis, and the safe confinement that residents deserve to have. This neighborhood is the light in a dark place.