81 Whiting Street, Lynn, Massachusetts
The Lynn Commons has a reputation of being a bad area, with a long history of issues with drugs and prostitution. Whiting Street was a short distance from there, and I felt a little anxious when my then girlfriend Youngor rented an apartment there. In December of 1990 she asked me to move in with her. I told her I wasn’t thrilled about the neighborhood but part of me felt like I should say yes just because she would be safer there with me around. Since I couldn’t persuade her to pursue a better neighborhood, I agreed to move in and share the rent. This part seemed good. I had been paying $395.00 a month for a studio apartment. The one bedroom on Whiting Street was $560.00, so my share would be $280 each month. I moved in the second week of January 1991- the week before George H.W. Bush started the Iraqi War with “Operation Desert Storm “. The apartment seemed okay at first, and we weren’t there a lot. Youngor was a Nursing Assistant at Lenox Hill Nursing Home and I worked full time for Greater Lynn Mental Health.
One night I returned home and found the front door to our third floor apartment was pushed in, it looked like it had been hit with a sledgehammer. Our apartment was ransacked, papers and clothing all over the floor, Youngor’s television, stereo, and jewelry all gone. I called Youngor and then called the Lynn Police. They took a report and dusted the place for fingerprints. No one was ever charged for the break- in. Younger grew paranoid in the following weeks. She put 3 more locks on the door. She asked me why they had taken her 25 inch television and left my 13 inch TV. I told her mine was old, beat up looking and not of much resale value to a drug addict. I was relieved we were unharmed. Sure, it was unsettling to know someone had been able to force their way into our home, turn things upside down, and take things. Nonetheless, they took material things: jewelry, a stereo, a television set. These things could be replaced. Youngor didn’t see it that way, and this became yet another issue straining our then six month old relationship.