Sometimes, I look around our current neighborhood and I feel a little sad for my children.
We’ve lived here for three years now. We searched for a kid friendly neighborhood, but not knowing much about the area…I think we more or less failed at that. Sure, there are a handful of kids around here, but mostly they are either too old or too young for my kids to enjoy playing with, or THEY ARE ALL GIRLS…which makes my son crazy.
I wish every day that my kids could grow up in a little neighborhood like the one I grew up in. A tight, close knit community…where the neighbors all kept an eye on each other’s homes and kids, because they all knew each other so well. I can’t even imagine letting my kids wander this neighborhood from sunrise to sunset. It’s just a different world that we live in these days.
When I was a kid, we lived near the end of our street, in a small, unincorporated community. Second to last house on the right! (We didn’t even get a real street address until I was in high school…our address was just a box number on a rural route.) Next door to me was Will. Next door to him was Mandy. Across the street was Bekah. The four of us ruled the neighborhood (plus the occasional sibling…my little brother tagged along more often than not.) Every spare minute that we had, we were always together…roaming the street or hanging out at each other’s houses. We’d get up early in the mornings we didn’t have school, decide what we wanted to do for the day, and our parents generally wouldn’t see us until that night. In my case, we all knew if my mama turned on the front porch light, it was time for me to get inside!
We had a huge, overgrown Cyprus tree on one side of our yard. At some point in our childhood, we discovered the branches were perfect for climbing and sitting, and we dubbed it our “clubhouse”. Between us, we shared one paved driveway for skating, three trampolines, two original Nintendo game systems, and two galvanized steel stock tanks that we used for swimming pools. (They looked very much like this.) We also had access to a super cool two story “fort” at the house on the other side of mine…until those neighbors moved away. It was hot as fire during the summer, and we once got trapped upstairs by a swarm of bees…but it was completely awesome, and I was sad to see it torn down years later.
Every summer day, we would make the mile long journey to the corner store, usually to buy a Dr. Pepper and some candy. When it was extremely hot outside, we chose to jump on our bikes (always double, with one kid riding precariously on the handlebars) and make the corner store trip faster. The store is still there now, and sometimes I wonder if the kids living in the neighborhood now ever make a big deal out of going there, the way we did.
The four of us lived in that neighborhood until we were young adults. Bekah and Mandy both married first and moved away. Then I got married and left the neighborhood. Will moved to Atlanta for a while for a job, but eventually returned and built a home across the street from my parents…and my brother moved across the street as well.
Although we all lead busy lives with jobs, children, and families, I am still very close to all of my first childhood friends. They are just several of the reasons I miss home so much! I love going back to my old neighborhood, and adore the friends and memories I made there as a child.