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Shadow Wood: Longtime residents happy with their neighborhood

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - M.L. Ledent doesn’t like it when people ask if she still lives in her trailer.

“I don’t live in a trailer,” the 83-year-old retired nanny and housekeeper tells them. “I live in a mobile home.”

Ledent has lived in the Shadow Wood mobile home park nearly as long as it has existed.

In 1968, a year after the park opened, she and her husband, who died nearly 20 years ago, moved into a three-bedroom mobile home.

“Bought it spankin’ brand new,” she said. “Nobody ever slept in it but us.”

Over the past four decades, Ledent has seen the neighborhood around her home on Raintree Drive go through many changes. “Over the years, everything changes, just like we do,” she said. “We don’t stay the same.”

Ledent, who attends Mount Olive Baptist Church, has been at Shadow Wood through three ownership changes. She stayed on through the ’80s and ’90s, when it gained the reputation of being a rough place to live.

“It didn’t get too rough up here,” she said. “It wasn’t enough to think about leaving. Every neighborhood has its bumps.”

She’s also seen the park’s racial and ethnic makeup shift several times over the years.

When she and her husband moved in, they were one of only a handful of black families in the predominantly white park, she said. By 1990, more than one-third of Shadow Wood area residents were black, according to census data.

Today, there are more black residents than whites, but Hispanic residents vastly outnumber both groups.

Catherine Hobb, 77, who is white, first lived in Shadow Wood in the 1960s and moved back in the late ’70s after suffering paralysis that left her reliant on a walker.

“I feel like I was born in this trailer park,” she said.

While she acknowledges the neighborhood had its troubles in the past, Hobbs said she has always been comfortable there.

“I’ve never had a bit of problems living here,” she said.

Likewise, Ledent said she can’t imagine living anyplace else.

Her son lived with her, and when he died a few years ago, her sister tried convincing her to move into a retirement home, but she wasn’t about to give up her home or her freedom, she said.

“Here, in the summertime, I can go sit out on my deck. I can go in my yard,” she said. “I still enjoy living here.”

 

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