Living Eleven: Stories From Inside the 11th House on 11th Street

by by Grace Dunham

illustration by by Becca Levinson

One block north of 10th Street and one block south of 12th Street, just before Providence ends and Pawtucket begins, is 11th Street. Only two blocks long, it bends slightly at the corner of Top Street, where—late in the afternoon on Saturday, December 3, the sun low in the sky—Megan Archer pushes her young son Julian in a stroller. One year ago, Megan moved from San Francisco to 11th Street. Though she finds it to be both picturesque and friendly, ultimately, she says, “11th Street isn’t really that different from 10th Street or 12th Street.”

What Megan Archer doesn’t know is that at the western end of 11th Street, on the South side, next door to a bright orange house, is a light blue one. On the porch of the light blue house, there are two white doors. The door on the left is marked 13 and the door on the right is marked 11. The door on the right is the door to 11 11th Street.

John Kanakry, the landlord of 11 11th St, bought the house in 1989. It was built in 1905, but John has reason to believe that a different 11 11th St once stood there. For John, the significance of 11 extends beyond his property: two of John’s three children have 11’s in their birthdays. His middle child and his niece were born on the same 11th, one year apart, at almost exactly the same time.

Kristen Schroeder, 28, who rents 11 11th Street, says 11th Street is the friendliest place she’s ever lived. “People wave hello,” she says, “which is different than other places I’ve lived. People are reserved in Rhode Island… But this is a really nice street. The people are nice, everyone is friendly, always having little chit-chats, making sure everything is okay.”

Kristen, who works at Brown University Psychological Services, is roommates of almost three years with Lauren Farley, who is 29 and works in real estate. They share the apartment with Lauren’s dog, Jack, Kristen’s dog, Captain Saltypants (a Chocolate Lab and Chowchow mix), and recently, Lauren’s boyfriend, Ben.

A master number, 11 is known to carry a vibrational frequency of balance. Lauren’s life has grown noticeably more balanced since she moved to 11th St. three years ago. “My emotional balance dramatically improved when I moved...” she says, “My former residence was in a neighborhood popular with Salve Regina students during the school year…I'm fairly certain the neighbor was a coke dealer. He had a lot of friends.”

Recurring appearances of the number 11 not only signal emotional balance, but also balance between work and play, sun and moon energy, and the masculine and feminine. Interestingly, Kristen notes that before moving to 11 11th Street, she was more focused on play than on work. “Lately,” she says, “the work/play pendulum has swung to the extreme side of work and being a homebody. I’m more inclined to believe that this is due to being in a new stage of my life rather than the apartment, but who knows?” When it comes to sun and moon energy, Kristen is more willing to see the connection. “It’s a little funny you mention the sun and the moon,” she says, “I am not sure if you noticed, but the living room has many decorative accents that are suns, moons and stars.” The living room—its walls painted a lively sea-foam green—is home to two decorative star boxes, two small sun ornaments, a star candleholder, and a moon mirror

The dualism of 11 resonates more strongly with Lauren—especially in terms of gender. “I’m kind of a tomboy during the day,” she says, adding, “I’m all woman at night.”

Recurring patterns of the number 11 most often make themselves visible to souls who display high levels of thoughtfulness, intuitiveness, and integrity. Both Kristen and Lauren seem to fit the part. Kristen majored in Religious Studies as an undergraduate, with a focus in Ethics, and likes to think of herself as reflective and thoughtful—though she humbly adds that most people tend to think of themselves that way. Lauren, on the other hand, identifies with the intuitive aspects of 11. “I'm not an introvert,” she says, “But I'm more of an observer than a participator. I guess I draw conclusions using a combination of intuition and logic.”

It is important to note that the numerological significance of 11 is not entirely positive. It is also—especially when making recurring appearance—a sign of chaos and sin. Despite the odds, Kristen feels that, if anything, there’s less sin in her life now than there used to be.” I've shed a lot of my Catholic guilt since late adolescence,” she says, “So a lot of things I previously regarded as sinful I don't anymore.”

All in all, living at 11 11th Street has been deeply positive for both Kristen and Lauren. “It’s the most adult apartment I’ve ever had,” says Kristen. According to John Kanakry, their time in the apartment is not the exception. John has had good experiences with every tenant who has lived there, and remained in touch with many of them after they moved out. “They’ve all gone on to be happy and successful people,” he says, “I believe this is a very positive home.”

Interestingly, John can’t say the same for 13 11th Street. Once, a tenant of 13 experienced break failure and drove his u-haul truck through the side of the house.

GRACE DUNHAM B’14 has 1111 friends on Facebook. Seriously. I’m not kidding. Go check.