The location of my current home is ironic to me. As a kid, I moved from a neighborhood that had a handful of kids around to one that had just one other family with a kid my age. I liked to play so that was inconvenient for me. So, instead of being a kid who always wanted to be someone else, I became a kid who wanted to live in someone else’s neighborhood.
If forced to choose, I would have lived in the neighborhood where many of my fellow Girl Scouts lived. It was a fairly typical collection of houses built in the mid to late 1950’s and early 1960s. At the time the neighborhood would have been considered “high living.” Now it is seen as modest. Like any typical neighborhood, friendships were formed, broken, and maintained. To me, the kids living in the neighborhood seemed tight.
I had a few friends who lived there and I was always excited to go over there and play. I’d say it was about a mile and a half from my house so I often needed my mom to take me. Real excitement was to be allowed to ride the bus home with my friend, Barbara. Because I was a “walker,” meaning I lived close enough to school to walk, I never had the thrill of riding the school bus. So being able to go to Barbara’s house after school was an event on the level of going out to dinner with a friend’s family. It was beyond cool.
Barbara and I were good friends during our Middle School years but drifted apart in the 9th grade and then her family moved. But I loved going to Barbara’s house. Back then I was being raised in a single parent household and had an older sibling who didn’t have time for his little sister, mostly because he was involved with those “magical” teenage years.
Barbara’s household was busy. She had two little brothers and a mom who did not work outside of the home. Barbara and I spent endless hours playing outside. Adjacent to the neighborhood was a large undeveloped area full of trees, hills of dirt and sand. A kid’s paradise. We spent a fair amount of time playing and roughhousing. The only thing to upset our euphoric play was the appearance of a couple of schoolyard bullies, both of whom were the same age as us and also lived on Barbara’s block. They quickly ruined the mood whenever they appeared.
Those two were like Scut Farkus and his toadie Grover Dill, the bullies from A Christmas Story. We could easily have taken care of them but we were obedient kids and were instructed over and over not to fight. Plus, we were girls. Girls didn’t do those things, not that we didn’t want to!
During the early 1970s the wonderful vacant property began to be developed. Once Barbara moved, I had no reason to go to that neighborhood. The one lone time was to walk my junior prom date from a party to his house because he was “under the weather” and I didn’t think he would make it home on his own. It was a few years before I discovered a whole new neighborhood had been constructed on the empty property.
Well, I live in that neighborhood that was a playground in my youth. Whenever I drive to and fro, or take walks, I’m transported back to my youth. I can’t remember where all of the kids used to live but I remember several houses. Any time I drive, or walk, by a particular house my memory always announces whose house it was. Lest you think I’m barmy, that is a silent event in my head. I’m not comporting myself through a neighborhood loudly reciting names.
Thanks for listening while I reconstructed a memory. It was nice and I smiled while I was typing. By the way, if you see Austin tell him his old house is for sale again; I already sent Barbara a picture of her old house which has a large addition in the back; tell Carolyn that when I accompany my mother on walks in the cul-de-sac, I always stop and tell her how we used to learn Girl Scout stuff in the little gully next to that house (I can recite and point at the same time); and tell Pete there is an addition on the back of his old house that looks kind of strange. It’s so nice to walk amongst the happiness.
Can’t find the photo I wanted to post with this but I will!
PS – This was not at all what I started to write. It took on a mind of its own, as it often does.