Phyllis Reitter is a retired psychiatric RN who currently lives in the Martin Drive neighborhood. Living in the neighborhood as a child and recently moving back to care for her mother in 2000, Reitter has been involved in the Martin Drive community throughout her life. She actively participates in the community through Washington Park Partners and is captain of the community block watch, an organization that raises awareness of problems and changes in the neighborhood.
Reitter purchased her family’s house in 2008 and takes a lot of pride in its original finishes and various decorations. This home has been cared for dutifully by Reitter. A lot of hard work went into a new garden in the rear and into keeping the woodwork in great shape. The walls and cabinets of the home are covered with meaningful photos of friends and family, certificates and awards, as well as many ornaments acquired over her lifetime. Reitter currently cares for four rescued dogs and had many foster children in the past. The home is also used to host the block watch meetings.
There is a fondness of past intimacy in the community found in Reitter’s stories. This nostalgia drives her to make a difference in the community, to recreate the space of her childhood. Reitter recalls a closeness in the neighborhood. "It was one big family" she says. There were numerous block parties on saturdays and everybody looked out for each other. Now, Reitter seeks to reinstate a sense of camaraderie in the community. Through the block watch, Washington Park Partners, and other community organizations, Reitter plans on bringing the community together by creating a friendly and safe environment.
Phyllis Reitter, interviewed by Jared Schmitz, James Wall and Di Tang, June 2015
Reitter, Phyllis, Photos. 2015. (June 16)