After my first semester of college, I realized that I wasn’t the kind of dude who liked living in a dorm. So, being a young man with limited resources, I went looking for the most inexpensive 1 bedroom apartment that I could find. That landed me in Highlandtown, where I found a second floor apartment for a whopping $210 a month. I shared that 1 bedroom with a female cousin so that our rent was $105 each. Now back in the 80′s, Highlandtown was not a gentrified place like it is in the new millenium. Back when I lived there, it was a tight-knit, blue collar neighborhood. Crime was very low, but the area was just so blighted and depressing. But, there were two things I absolutely loved about Highlandtown: 1) The ever-so-beautiful Patterson park, and 2) The fact that Highlandtown had a commercial district, which made pedestrian (no car at that time) shopping convenient. It wasn’t long before Santoni’s Supermarket became my grocery store. It was just down the street, and they offered everything I needed at reasonable prices. Plus, it was a community hub where people would hang out and gossip about what was happening in the area. I made more friends while shopping at Santoni’s than I ever did on campus, at college. That is a true story. Honestly, I was young back then. My apartment turned into quite the partying place; and many people I encountered at Santoni’s used to carouse at my house (including the employees). I have so many fond memories of Highlandtown and Santoni’s. It instilled in me the passion to keep things local. And from that point forward, I have always avoided chain grocers and big box merchants. That’s why I’m so saddened to see that Santoni’s will be closing, permanently, after being a Baltimore icon since the 1930′s. It’s a damned shame, that’s for sure!
Flame Wars are breaking out on Facebook
At any rate, I am not the only one who is writing about Santoni’s. Facebook is ranting about it as well. I’m amazed at the things that some people have to say, and I feel completely comfortable posting their statements (since they left their comments on a public forum that is visible to everyone). Nowadays, we all live in an era where social media makes it easier to say whatever the hell we want (because there is no looking at someone’s face to see their feelings & emotions). Somehow, to me, flame wars on Facebook are a cowardly act….and I truly hope that the Santoni family doesn’t see the negative things being said on Facebook. They’ve been a mainstay in Baltimore (serving and giving back to the community) for over 80 years. I see no need for people to get riled up over why they’re closing. People should put their politics aside and grieve.