Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Zombie apocalypse in Wauwatosa!?

Zombies, Wauwatosa, County Grounds, Eschweiler buildings, development, Historic Milwaukee, historic preservation, Northridge Mall, Sydney Hih

Vampires and monsters and  zombies, oh my!

What is there about these times that makes us obsessed with things gone wrong, boogie men and dystopian visions of a really scary world? Even Disney has upped the ante on danger and  heroism, especially for females. No longer just pretty and worthy and waiting to be saved, we have to swash and buckle with the best of them. Or the worst of them.

There's good and bad in that revised princessy notion. I'll leave you to your own speculations about the images of toughness in a world where real people have gone rather softer than ever before. But let's concede that nobody's paying much attention to  visions of a better, kinder, more beautiful, happier world.

"Blood soaked survival horror" is now a business opportunity. In Reading, UK, you can participate in an interactive zombie attack in an empty mall. Four hours of terror in spooky environments for only $189.

Now, I'm sure the first thought that comes to your mind is Northridge Mall. And the second, Sydney Hih. But wait: what about the Eschweiler buildings right here in Wauwatosa? Since the developers can't see beyond apartments, perhaps we can think more creatively for them. And so I offer this idea. No charge. You're welcome.

(It's true, the builidngs, with their Gothic swagger, are more suited for a Jane Eyre experience. When it comes to zombie soul-lessness, nothing beats a shopping mall.)

Son George and I attended Envisioning the Seen at the Pabst, an interesting panel discussion of Milwaukee's future by "dynamic Milwaukeeans." The sponsor, Historic Milwaukee, has a mission of teaching and inspiring people to connect with history, architecture, and the built environment as we create our lives and businesses. That's my paraphrase and I'm sticking to it.

The message for saving historic buildings was strong. What you do with them has to make sense in terms of their history. People have to "get it," what you are doing. And you have to have money.

Ah, money. I'm not good at that. But like you, I'm pretty good with ideas. The zombies haven't eaten my brain yet.

Education, the historical keystone of the former ag school, did. Not eat my brain, but help fill it. With the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Engineering School and Medical College of Wisconsin presence, you can't avoid thinking education. The other component is nature, the beauty of open spaces and the crucial role they play in restoring our hearts, minds, and imaginations. Not to mention staying alive.

Where do science, technology, and nature intersect? Art, for one.

So I am imagining a place where artists and scientists and engineers, the butterfly people and the folks who just come by, teach and interact. Where scientists play with art and artists learn technology. Where imagination moves to creating a better future. And where everyone has fun. Plunk a charter school there while you're at it.

Of course, there will be a restaurant in that great vaulted upper room in the Administration Building. Serving food grown in a garden area next to the Monarch Trail. And beer brewed in the mechanical building out back. Those are profit centers.

Any non-zombie developers out there?


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