‘I wasn’t always this way …’

There’s new life at Adams

Editor’s note: This letter, by William Haskas who is co-director of the architectural firm plusFarm, is written through the eyes of the Adams at Sixth Street and Central Avenue.

It was a Thursday morning back in January 2018. The snow was falling so quickly it was impossible to see, and so much colder than I’d ever felt — I honestly didn’t think I would live another day. I was wet frozen and didn’t have a single friend to help me, and I had nowhere to turn. In all honesty for years I was lost lonely and neglected without true direction. I was literally forgotten and given up on, and though I tried reaching out for help there was no-one to call to. There I was, in the middle of the city visible to everyone yet not a single person saw me.

It’s difficult to describe the feeling of loneliness through words. I never wanted to be a burden, and so I kept the pain inside and hoped someone would notice just how truly destroyed I was. Unfortunately I guess, nobody really took the time to have a look at just how rotten my insides had become. So I suppose from the outside I looked just like anyone else, yeah a little worse for wear, but the black rot and deterioration eating away at me was invisible. I was broken beyond repair and it seemed I would face a similar fate as many of friends — not a simple death, but a complete and painful demolition.

During my darkest moment is when something truly remarkable happened. On that Thursday in January from the freezing cold a few friends appeared out of nowhere and offered to lift me up. Though I recognized a few familiar faces there were a few I’d never seen before. I thought it would take a miracle to save me, that I was so far gone and removed from the society and the people I loved, that nothing short of a miracle would do. However, I was wrong — I didn’t need a miracle, in fact just a small simple act of kindness. The act itself was such a simple gesture, the equivalent of one taking a breath at first light, something so small it’s barely worth a mention. On that day, a local roofer and a few of his friends lifted me, patched me, and made sure I wouldn’t be cold and wet again. A year later, I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I’m feeling.

I wasn’t always this way, actually for most of my life I supported moral authority, and found common ground with the people that rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. As the times changed, I turned my focus to help promote the development of art and culture. I felt the opportunities for people to participate in the arts were significantly limited, and became committed to ensuring everyone here would have access to the arts.

I’m still not exactly back to normal, as something I’m still unable to do myself. I still can’t mow my own lawn! Yet this wonderfully kind man, Patrick, who on his own accord generously sets to the task. I also require a caretaker, and it’s Michael who in a moments notice is by my side at the first sign of trouble. Some days when I’m feeling a bit blue, it’s Sarah and Jacob who lift my spirits with their decho ensembles. There are many others who in their own way help support me, and though I can’t name everyone here — please know I am grateful.

I understand all too well that clouded feeling of doubt, and it’s omnipotent shadow of irreversible gloom. Perhaps we all feel a little of that from time to time. It’s natural, we just can’t give up. Although the road to my renovation is long, and it will take longer than most would hope I know the goal is achievable. I no longer dream of miracles, because I now understand the strength one person can make through a simple act of kindness.

Allow me one last word, my life in Dunkirk began in 1906 and no longer with us are those that made me — yet to be sure, it wasn’t a single man or woman that built me up, it was a community. People from different backgrounds, beliefs, and stations in life made me who I am. They all believed in the value of a healthy community, and weren’t derailed by obstacles — the people that made me, and that gave me life for over 100 years believed in the power of achievement. They gave me life in any way shape or form they could — through simple acts, stone by stone.

Because of you, my love for this community, I refused to go quietly into the night. I have so much to give, and I believe we have so much to share with each other. I am better today, but I need your help more than ever, please believe in me. I will not let you down.

Your Friend, and your