Geno Hinton, 56, has lived in Edison for over 20 years. For 10 of those years, he delivered mail to his neighbors as a U.S. Postal Carrier. Like many Edison residents, Hinton has many interests and talents. Not only is he a music producer and former bass guitarist for a funk/R & B band, Funk 211, but he has also recently finished an unpublished novel titled Not Yet. The novel tells the story of a postal carrier who opens a mailbox to find garbage and makes an errant wish that whoever touches the mailbox next will stick to it forever. No spoilers, but the results are unexpected.
In his own words:
“As a mail carrier in Edison, I’ve seen kids grow up. I’ve become part of people’s families. As mail carriers, we tend to know more about the neighborhood than the police do. Police will ask mail carriers about certain things. Being able to deliver mail in the neighborhood gave me a great appreciation of the people who live here.
“When I delivered mail in the neighborhood, I was spoiled. They would feed me, give me things. Some of my customers would give me their keys and ask me to take care of their house.
“I grew up in Chicago on the south shore where we had policemen, football players, the city treasurer living a block away. One of the reasons why I’m not anti-police like a lot of people is because I grew up around them. If cities were to have programs to encourage policemen within these neighborhoods, it would do wonders.
“When I was about 12 years old, I asked my mom, why were all the white people moving? And my mom, said, 'Don’t worry, they will be back.' She was right. They’re moving back now. When you have a strong inner city, you’re going to have a strong suburb. When you have a weak inner city, you’re going to have a weak suburb. Right now, the inner city is definitely becoming stronger, renovating old buildings to become living quarters. My mother kind of forecast that.
“Edison could be a helluva’ neighborhood. We have some of the best housing. Right now you have housing chopped up into mini-apartments where you have a lot of people living in cramped quarters, no parking. People need space.
“People nowadays, especially city planners, understand that they have to create affordable housing during these changes. Uplift the neighborhood. People usually succeed when they are around successful people. When people are around successful neighbors, they become more successful.”
As told to Theresa Coty-O'Neil, Project Editor, On the Ground: Edison.