To friends and neighbors, they’re Peaches and Coco. Julene and Corwin Crockett moved to the 2500 block of North Bremen Street from Booth Street ten years ago. They’re active in the neighborhood, and in St. Marcus Church, and they have some pretty strong opinions. Riverwest, kids, school, war — and a unique viewpoint on the rap music scene. Peaches and Coco don’t hesitate to talk about what they know. They’ve been together for 26 years — dated for 11 years, married for 15. “You need to get to know the ins and outs of a person,” Peaches says of their long engagement. They have three children, two boys and a girl, and it’s obvious they’re proud of all of them. Oldest of the Crockett kids is a successful rap musician named Young KYOZ, who has been traveling and performing professionally since age 14. His two CDs, Blue Roses and The Ghetto Made Me Crazy, have been on the Billboard R&B Hip Hop top 100 charts. He’s working on his third album, living and recording in Modesto, California. If Young KYOZ is outspoken and talks about his culture the way it is, he comes by the tendency honestly. His parents see their neighborhood clearly, and don’t pull any punches when they talk about it. What’s the best things about Riverwest? Coco doesn’t hesitate. The new splash pad at Gordon Park. “It gives the kids something to do,” he says. The worst thing: “Taking down the rims and courts at Reservoir Park.” He speculates that there were problems with kids’ behavior. Peaches points out that, “People were probably more concerned with the behavior of grown folks.” Has Riverwest gotten better or worse during the time they’ve lived here? Again, no hesitation from Coco. “Worse,” he says firmly. “We used to be the problem house on our block. When our son came home to visit and brought his friends, it would get noisy here, because they’d be playing their music.” And it would get crowded. “Sometimes there would be 30 or 40 kids outside our house.” They were there because everyone in the neighborhood wanted to see and get autographs from the nationally known rappers that were visiting on Bremen Street. After raising three kids, two boys ages 24 and 17, and a 12-year-old girl, the Crocketts have a lot of thoughts on family life and education. Peaches has worked with handicapped kids at Milwaukee Public Schools for 11 years. Her view on the public school system? “It works if there are consequences for what kids do. Today there are no consequences. The school won’t suspend kids for behavior, because it looks bad for the school. Parents are too young, and have no parenting skills. Public schools have become the baby-sitting job that never ends. Sometimes kids are at school from 8 in the morning until 6 at night. Parents don’t have to have anything to do with kids five days per week.” She has some ideas of what can be done, too. “Remove the labels from some of these kids,” she says. “Some of these kids are labeled who don’t need to be. They are in special needs classes because they act out,” not because they can’t learn. She’d also like to start an evening tutoring program to teach kids to read. Coco has some ideas of what needs to be done to make a better life in our neighborhood. “We need to have some more of the men in this neighborhood step up and help protect the women and kids. We need to do more one-to-one things.” He acknowledges that’s not always easy, with demands on time. Coco works in engineering at a steel foundry. “We all have day jobs. I’m up at 2 a.m. to go to work, and it’s physically hard work.” It doesn’t leave much time for community work, but both Peaches and Coco get involved. They attend block club meetings and pick up trash that accumulates in their yard and on the sidewalk. Both Coco and Peaches have strong feelings about war. Peaches says, “This war is not about weapons of mass destruction. It’s about oil. And we’re never going to get enough. We’re so darn greedy, we bother everybody.” Coco adds, “And we’re going to get our butts whipped. There are lots of movies about war right now, but they’re all about wars we lost.” “We should be spending money on better education,” Peaches goes on. “We have teachers who are fresh out of college trying to teach classes of thirty or forty kids. Sometimes the assistant has to do more teaching than the teacher.” Coco has some final thoughts on best and worst things about Riverwest. The best thing, he says is “the mix of Black, White, and Puerto Rican.” The worst is the thefts. And by the way, “whoever took my license plate, bring it back. The number is PBT 617. If you see it, call the cops.” The Crocketts decided they preferred not to have their picture taken for this article. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 2 – February 2003