Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane...My Neighborhood

My parents have lived in the same house for 31 years. We moved in when I was 5. It is a good house full of memories. The block we lived on ( I am writing in past tense because I have not lived there for 18 years) was great. 30 or so houses on our block. We were third from the top. It was the kind of block you would see on Leave It To Beaver. The houses were kept in good condition, the yards stayed mowed, and kids were always out. We knew all of our neighbors. Most of them were good neighbors. Many of them are no longer there.

This is what our house looked like when we first moved in. It has made some transformations through the years. The small tree in the front is now very large. The landscaping is completely different as is the color of it. Oh and it's amazing what new windows can do. I wish I had a photo of it now to show you. It is beautiful.

To the left of us was Helen and Rudy. They were older and their kids were all grown and had kids of their own. I loved Helen and Rudy. They were always milling about their yard. Rudy would tease me and tell me to not bother with the boys, but rather keep my nose in books. Now that I am paying off school loans, I wish I had listened to him! They have since passed and Duke and Deb live there now. They watch t.v. from their recliners in the detached garage. Very strange, but nice people.

To the left of them and at the top of the block is Adele and her husband (I can't remember his name). They have been there longer than us. Their dog had three legs. For some reason, the relationship with them is strained now and the friendliness is gone.

To our right is Mrs. Kilby. She, too, has lived there longer than us. In fact, she has been renting that house all of these years. Her husband died from a car he was working on falling on him. One of her son's died of AIDS. He liked puppets. She was seen outside working in her yard everyday. Now some girl does it and meals on wheels visits her daily.

A couple doors down from her is "the red house". That was mine and Corey's (my brother) boundary for a long time. Now it has become Magnus and Thane's. That makes me smile. The man who lived there, Terry, would stop and give us gum whenever he drove by. Big Red.

Next to him was an older lady who would have a 5-day club at her house in the summer. It was similar to vacation Bible school, but it would meet in neighborhoods. I looked forward to attending that every year. I have, for many years, wanted to thank her and let her know that that may have played a pivotal part in me serving Christ. Unfortunately I can't. She is with our Savior now.

Way down, almost to the other end, was the Bonds. Their daughter, Mary, was a good friend of mine. I loved the Bonds. I loved spending time with them. Mrs. Bond, Elaine, but I always called her Mrs. Bond, made lefsa for us a lot. They would also blow a whistle to signal to Mary that it was time to come in. They were Baptist and Mary was the first person to tell me about God. I remember laying in her trundle bed one night when I was in third grade crying because I wanted to know more about Jesus. They moved shortly after high school when Mr. Bond passed away.

Across the street from us at the top of the block was the Nissens. They have been there for about 25 years. They had twins, Mark and Andrew. I spent many summers baby sitting them. We spent most days at the city pool. They would tease me any time a boy would pick me up for a date...which was almost never! The boys are all grown up now. They have both served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan and one has since had a child and gotten married. Kim has lived there for quite some time by herself. I like her and enjoy catching up when we visit my folks.

The next house down was McCool's. My mom and Trina were great friends and they spend a lot of time together. Joe (Trina's son) and Corey were also good friends. They fought a lot, but they always played together...GI Joe and Heman. Mandy (the daughter...and quite younger) was always seen wearing her swimsuit in the summer. Never took it off! They moved sometime in high school and the people who moved in had lived there for 14 years until this year. Weird...we never got to know them in that whole time. There is a young couple with a baby there now.

Directly across the street was Alice. She was a sweet lady. She moved out a couple of years ago into a retirement home. The people who live there now are immigrants from Bosnia (our town is a refuge for many Bosnians) and they keep to themselves for the most part.

Next to them was the Henry's. There was a love/hate relationship between them and most of the other neighbors. Their boys were obnoxious. The lady who lives there now has been there awhile but we do not know her. She keeps her Christmas lights up year round.

The Burnes are next. Growing up, we feared them. He was a crotchety old man who did not like kids. Later we found out that it was just the Henry's he didn't like. Must have been hard living next to them. Mr. Burnes is rarely seen these days.

To his left was where our friend BJ lived. He was three years older than me and always drank my mom's Pepsi. He was always seen carrying his inhaler and could never figure out why he started smoking as he got older. I wonder if he is still alive.

Next to him was "the witch". She was a very strange, old lady. It was rumored that she would stand in her garbage can, naked, and howl at the moon. The weirdest thing I ever saw her do is yard work in her bra.

A few doors down was the Wiedners. They had four kids who were all older than us. I had a crush on Jeff for many years. Bill and Rose still live there but the kids all have families of there own now...even Jeff.

Wow...I am surprised at how many tears I have shed and how many times I have broke out in laughter as I have written this. I hope my parents never move. Too many memories.


Michelle said...

My parents lived in the same house from the time I was four until I was 26 when my husband and I bought the house from them. We lived there another 5 years before pulling up roots and moving away. I still keep in touch with my next door neighbor (she has lived in the same house all her life) and walk down memory lane often with her. This was a interesting post for me even though I don't know your neighborhood. I "get" what an important role neighborhoods play in our lives.

LBJ said...

This was a very wonderful and meaningful blog, friend. I'm glad you wrote it, it's so important to remember those things from time to time-- they are things that have shaped us, who we are, some way.

I'm startled by the times I'll be walking along and some very keen memory out of nowhere from when I was a kid and slap me upside the head and make me realize a little more how I got to where I am today. And yeah, it hurts when parents move, it has been ragged road and blustery uprooting in some ways, but the memories are there the same. Perhaps the most hurtful thing is just to ignore them under the guise that "we've outgrown all that" instead of realizing how these events have shaped us.

It was a wonderful, charming, and moving read. I loved it :)Thank you for writing it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sis for making me feel old :) I remember all of that like it was yesterday. Sometimes when I head over to the House...I get out of my car and just kinda stand there and look around. I instantly hear the sounds of us and the other kids playing hide and seek,kickball, and freeze tag. I see mom and Trina sitting on the steps having a pepsi and a laugh.

I am very grateful for the childhood we had and for the great neighborhood we were raised in.It was a time before videogames claimed the lives of kids...we were always outside,riding bikes,playing guns and laughing at you practicing your cheers.

It has changed quite a bit,no kids out playing, familar houses occupied by nameless people, and no annual summer street garage sale!!!! It saddens me to an extent to see this.But we will always have these great memories and stories.

Thanks so much for taking me back to a great time in my life....

I gotta go...the street light is on and Mom is yelling for me.

Take care Biddy...Love ya :)

...Your Bro Corey

Anonymous said...

January 25th, 2009 That means you are 8 years old, Magnus!! Hip Hip Hooray!! That is sooooo very super!!! You have a great day of celebrating your birthday, Magnus. I am so very glad you are part of our family. I am looking forward to your 9th birthday too but first make a great big year of being 8. OK??
Love you, Magnus
Your Old Great Aunie Connie ( I'm must older than 8 years old)