Episode 1: Houses of Concrete and Wood

Our first Thing...is Blue Dawn Manor, the neigh- borhood I grew up in. I used to play baseball in the Healys’ back yard. It was the infield which made my back yard dead center field and the Smith’s pool in Left Field the water spectacular. I knew all the neighbors, the Johnson’s. the Belfontees, the Smalls, Hutchisons, Hupps, Cernich’s, the Saladinos, the other Saladino’s and the Domsch’s. We had dirt clod fights and I split my head open playing hide and seek the night Thriller debuted on MTV.

In the summer my friends and I would meet up at this power pole under the John- son’s mulberry trees. I’d wrap my purple hands around the grips of my black and gold BMX and race down this hill to a ramp we built at the bottom on the playground at this little school where I’m standing right now. Today, two Syrian brothers brothers go to this school. Their names are Faras and Amar and the story of how these two boys and their family got here, and brought together a neighborhood of people not far from this spot in the middle of Independence Missouri is Episode One of Iconoclast of Things: it’s titled Houses of Concrete and Wood.