Every time I look at the opening credits to the TV classic, “Good Times”, it reminds me that the housing projects depicted are no longer there. Cabrini Green’s notorious Cabrini Green project was demolished in 2011. While the Evans family lived and worked in one of these buildings, the name of the housing project in which they lived was never given. Chicagoans, however, knew where they were.
My family lived in the same projects as me when I was little. Cabrini Green lived on the northern side. Rockwell Gardens is on the west side of our house. These buildings were demolished early in the century. The Evans family lived in a similar apartment to ours, but our front room wasn’t as large as theirs. The apartment had two bedrooms, one bathroom, a small kitchen and very limited closet space. We were able to make it work for a single mother with three children.
My family had already moved out of these projects many years before “Good Times,” which debuted on CBS in 1974. However, we have fond memories from our day-to-day lives there. These issues, such as vandalized washing machines and dryers in laundry rooms, broken elevators and gang wars that forced people into hiding in their apartments, were all true. However, other events that took place on that series didn’t always match reality dự án cocobay .
One of the interesting things about the show was the ease with which everyone, including family members and Wilona Woods next door, could simply walk into Evans’ home without asking. It’s a TV trope that I am familiar with. It is done because it is too boring to show characters opening their doors for visitors, especially when it is someone they know well. Most residents of the apartments agreed with me that the front doors were always locked. The door could have been left open at all times, which would have been similar to hanging signs that read “Please come in and take what you like.” It wasn’t possible.
Bookman, the unruly custodian, was added to the series during the second season. Bookman seemed to have a lot to do, including the power to evict families. Custodians are required to report any unusual conditions found to management. However, the custodian of our old building had no other authority than to clean. I can recall tenants complaining about cleaning issues and giving the custodian a difficult time.
Recently, I saw a rerun from an episode where Thelma was awarded a scholarship to attend a Michigan high school for girls. It is a highly regarded, predominantly white school. Thelma was persuaded to sign with one of the sororities at the school by a member. The Evans quickly discovered that Thelma was only to be a token member, as she was African-American. Apart from the racism, there were many problems with this scenario. The sorority member, a blond teenager girl, would not have been arrested in the project back in the day. The projects did not have to be home to criminals or the poor. The only white people who ventured into the housing projects I saw were insurance agents, social workers, and cops. Everybody was afraid of the dangerous and violent areas that housing projects would create.
Thelma refused to be invited to join the sorority and the sorority girls decided to part ways with their family. She said that it was fortunate that they didn’t send another girl from sorority to visit Thelma. This girl hated African Americans. JJ shut the door behind her sorority girls. This girl, in reality, would have been kicked out or worsened for expressing racial prejudice in an area where she was a minority.