1 Nephi 1: 1, 3
...therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

^^That pretty much explains this blog.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Describe the Neighborhood You Grew Up In

I lived in the same neighborhood, though in two houses, until I was six-years-old.
First I lived with my grandparents, then moved a block away.
The neighborhood was safe and most of the houses were built in the 1940s-1950s, but they were new at the time.
My grandparents built their home new and we were the second homeowners in the next home down the street.
The neighborhood had either elderly people and empty nesters, or new families.  It was safe.  If we were walking around the neighborhood, we knew the neighbors would be looking out for us.

There was a small butcher shop about two doors down from my grandparents' house which was a mom and pop grocer.  That was a great hangout out for popsicles and soda during the summer.  My friend, Mona, would tap into her blue, plastic piggy bank and we would buy a twinsicle for a dime and split it.  Sometimes we would go around the neighborhood and collect Coke bottles and other soda bottles in my red, metal wagon and we would take them to the butcher shop for pennies and buy Tastykakes or popsicles or Bazooka bubblegum.  Tastykakes were 7 cents and you got three of them in a pack.  Bubble gum was a penny.  We loved to read the comic wrappers.

The butcher was in the back of the shop.  I remember you went in and told him what you wanted and he would cut it up and wrap it all in brown paper that hung from a roll on the wall.  Then he would tie it up with string that as also hanging from the wall.  There was no milk in stores back then because we had milkmen deliver millk and leave it on our front porch during the night.  I remember almost every day, my mom opening the front door to retrieve the milk from the silver, metal milk box.  We also had a dry clean guy that drove to pick up my dad's white shirts.  And we had a bread man, too.  I remember always begging my mom to buy sweet rolls.  She did sometimes, but not every time.

Mona Trace was my best friend.  We played on her swing set in her back yard which overlooked the railroad tracks.  When engines would go by we would pull our arms down and up and the engineer would wave and blow his whistle at us.  What fun!  We did acrobatics on the bars of the swing set and pretended we were princesses or acrobats or girlfriends of astronauts that were in a TV show we liked.  Commander Perry!  And there was a western, Laramie, and Mona would be the girlfriend of the blonde guy (she was blonde) and I would be the girlfriend of the brunette guy (I was brunette).  I think his name was Jesse.

Sometimes we would play with Eddie Short next door.  He lived with his grandmother and they had an apple tree.  We loved to pick the green apples off the tree in the summer before they were ripe.  To this day I love green apples.  Maybe because they remind me of my happy childhood.

One time we got caught in Mona's garage.  It was set off away from the house.  For some reason we pulled the door down and we couldn't get it back up again.  We started pounding on the side of the metal garage and screaming "Help!  Help!"  Then Eddie started crying!  Mona and I laughed.  We just thought it was so funny that a boy, who was about three years older than us, would start crying and we, girls, didn't.  All of a sudden, Mrs. Trace opened up the garage door.  I don't remember her yelling at us or anything, but I'll never forget Eddie Short crying!

Summer lasted forever when you were four and five.  We never knew what humidity was.  When you're a kid it doesn't bother you.  We would go outside after breakfast, make a short stop home for lunch, then go back outside for the rest of the day until dinner.  At night, sometimes we would have picnics and show slides on the side of our house on Olive Street and invite the neighbors.  The kids would catch lightning bugs until bedtime.

When we moved to Scott Drive, it was a different type of neighborhood.  It was in a suburban-rural-type area with no sidewalks and miles from town.  You had to drive to get anywhere.  There was no corner store and only a few houses.  From the top of Scott Drive you could see all of Coatesville.  It was fun to go there.  I would ride my bike a lot and pretend it was a horse.

I had a good friend, Laurie Mundy, and we played Barbies and made dream houses with our mothers' Good Housekeeping and Better Homes & Gardens magazines.  Our future selves were always Breck Girls.  We each planned to have about 5-6 children and we glued our future living rooms, bedrooms, etc. onto construction paper.  We tied it up with yarn and made booklets.  It was our favorite thing to do on a rainy day.

Laurie had a Magic 8 Ball.  I always wanted one.  It was so much fun.  It would capture our attention for a long time as we asked it questions--until the answer was one we wanted! Laurie also had a tall, thin black cat bank.  Sometimes we would take out the stopper and empty out all her pennies and count them.  There was no mom and pop grocer to go spend the money on, so we just counted the money and put it all back in.

During the summer we played with Laurie's brothers' friends and all the other boys in the neighborhood.  We built forts in the woods.  There was a lot of homebuilding going on and we would siphon wood and nails from the builders and contractors and confiscate our fathers' hammers and make forts in trees.  One time we had 3 forts in a triangle and you needed a ladder to get up into them.  We would collect acorns from the oak trees and put them in brown grocery bags and keep them in the forts, saved for acorn battles.  Boys did things like that.  Mainly Laurie and I would climb up there when there were no boys around and bring our lunches in brown lunch bags with sandwiches wrapped in wax paper.

Next door to my house they were building a new house where the McGhees would soon live, and there was a huge pile of clay dirt.  One evening, my dad helped me build a fort out of that clay.  We dug and pounded the dirt into tables and chairs and we even had lunch there, in the hard red clay dirt.  I bet my mom loved that load of laundry!  Our clothes were all red and muddy and dirty.  But it was fun to do and pretend to have a house.

When I was older, I used to go up to Pike's Peak (the people at the top of the street, named Pike, had a big front yard that sloped down).  There was a big boulder rock there and I would take my diary there or even an old typewriter I found in the attic, and I would pretend to be Jo in Little Women and write stories there.  As I recall, I even wore a beret, just like Jo in the book.

Mostly I would go to Pike's Peak and ponder.  There was also Spackman's Pond.  I would walk down there, mostly with Laurie, and sit near the drain pipe and ponder.  It was beautiful there.  I wonder if Laurie remembers the time we were sitting on the cement by the pipe and throwing stones at a stick in the water. All of a sudden, the stick moved and a big, red snake peaked its head out of the water and stuck out its tongue and looked at us!  We screamed and ran away up Moore Road as fast as we could!

What do you remember from your childhood neighborhood?  Was it a safe place to live in?  Did it have sidewalks?  Did you live near stores?  Did you play in the woods?  Did you build forts or play with Barbie dolls?

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