Kalin J. Reed
Patrice Olin’s love for her Tudor-style house is apparent to us when we walked up its front steps. An overflowing garden blooming with flowers given to her by her neighbors adorns the front of the house. The flowers blossom fully because of the attention and care they receive from Ms. Olin. The Olin name is carved into a beautifully ornate door knocker. She enjoys the simplicity of her home. She explains, “Everything in the house that needs to be fixed is fixable.” Despite the age of the house, the building is very well maintained. Most of the maintenance is done by her and her husband. She says that the layout makes it very easy to entertain, “We’ve had Thanksgiving dinner with thirty people, and it works.”
Patrice Olin has lived in the Sherman Park community since 1981 when her eldest son was only a week old. She has resided in her current home for almost eleven years. She is very involved with the neighborhood. She has been a member of the Sherman Park Community Association since her family moved to the neighborhood. She and her husband are well regarded throughout the community, especially since they turned the abandoned gas station building into the popular Sherman Perk Coffee Shop. Ms. Olin told us that the coffee shop has helped her and her husband better connect with the neighborhood.
A discussion of the Sherman Park uprising came up during our interview with Ms. Olin. She described the incidents of the 1960’s and the one that took place in August 2016. She was a girl growing up in Bay View during the sixties. She remembered that she wasn’t much affected by what was happening in the city at the time. The 2016 unrest was closer to home and did make an impact. Ms. Olin explained that the disturbances were based around the gas station and the area where the police shooting took place. She was distressed that the media and news only covered the violence that happened in the neighborhood. They barely mentioned how the residents of the neighborhood cleaned up all the damage the very next day. She feels that it is unfortunate how a story is told from only one angle, or how sensational information readily makes it to the front news. Despite the violent incidents of 2016, Ms. Olin still feels safe in Sherman Park.
Having lived in and around the City of Milwaukee for most of her life, Olin knows her community well. She lends her knowledge of the neighborhood to improve the community she holds so dear.