Saturday, April 16, 2011

Neighborhood

I asked my family (parents and brother) for a little help on an "N" post. Each of them immediately responded "Notre Dame". Yeah, right. Look I love Notre Dame and all, but not nearly as much as my family does. So I will say this: Cheer Cheer for Old Notre Dame. Thanks for bringing my family such happiness. Rah rah.

Moving on...

My neighborhood growing up was your typical, suburban neighborhood. Every house looked exactly the same, except a different color. It was full of families and little kids, sidewalks and fenced in yards. When I think of my childhood I think of summer days outside on the lawn, playing with all our little neighborhood friends. We were the rare "Catholic school kids", holding that title with only two other families in the neighborhood. My friend Amy did go to the same school as I did, she was a year younger than me. We played...every day. At least, it feels that way. I remember riding my bike to her house and spending hours playing paper dolls, Mary-Kate and Ashley (I was Mary-Kate), barbies, etc. We also used to pretend to be the babysitters club. When it started to get dark, her mom would walk me halfway around the block, where we would meet my dad and he'd walk me the rest of the way home.

Summer days in my neighborhood were so much fun. All the kids would come out and played roller hockey (my brother and his friends once constructed a Stanley Cup out of tin foil and water bottles), Capture the Flag, tag, baseball, etc. We'd ride our bikes to the park, go for walks, play basketball in someones driveway. Nothing mattered. Our job was to have fun, and we excelled at having fun. Oh sure, their were tears. Their were cliques. Once, I was sitting on my lawn, watching three of my little friends play across the street. I yelled to one who lived there "hey! Can you play today!". Do you believe she had the nerve to look right at me and say "no"? When she already HAD friends over? Her mom yelled at her, and our two other friends came running over to comfort me. Take that, Rebecca.

When I got a little older, I was introduced to three girls who I had never played with when I was younger. For some reason, my brother and I always stuck to a few houses of kids. We never even looked the other way down the street unless we were riding our bikes. So imagine my surprise when I discovered three girls very close to my age- two a year older, one a year younger. I met Katie first. She went to my school too and I think our moms set up a play date. Katie was so different than my other friends- much more mature, calm. Her dad was very sick with cancer, and passed away the summer we became friends. Because I met her when I was older, it wasn't cool to "play" anymore, so I really just remember us talking for hours and listening to music. Then Katie introduced me to HER next door neighbors, Jamie and Lindsay. They were sisters. I met them in a tree house eating turkey sandwhiches. We formed this sort of instant bond. I have a very clear memory of watching Hanson videos in their basement very quickly into our friendship. I didn't live in that neighborhood long after knowing Jamie, Lindsay, and Katie, but I do remember that, in the time I had left, it was spent with them. Especially walks and bike rides. I went to an Nsync concert with them, too. My first concert ever.

After I moved out of that neighborhood, I stayed very close with Jamie and Lindsay. We still had sleepovers and nights out at the mall or going to see a movie. We went on trips together, talked on the phone and through IM. I still consider them to be two of my best friends, even though I don't get to see them as much anymore.

My new neighborhood couldn't compare to what I had in Troy- not because of the people, but because of my age. You just can't run around all day with your friends once you hit high school. I did spend my 8th grade year wandering around with the few friends I had here, but we were not interested in playing baseball or riding bikes. We were looking for boys. However, I do notice the tons and tons of little kids in this neighborhood hanging out with their friends on warm days. And it makes me smile, knowing how happy and carefree they are. Soon they will grow up and move on, I just hope they remember how special it is to live in a neighborhood where all you have to worry about is whether or not the ice cream truck is going to come by that day.

I'm wondering- did you have this kind of neighborhood growing up?

3 comments:

Dean P. Simmer said... Add Reply

Our "neighborhood" was just a 55 MPH road, we grew up on just shy of 5 acres. Other than our immediate neighbors to the west we couldn't walk to anyone's houses, etc.

Shari said... Add Reply

What a fun topic for a post! Our neighborhood was like that, too - and it's getting to be again now, with a new generation of families moving in and new kids running around. I'd say about half of the original owners are here and half are new, so it's a nice balance.

LOL to pretending to be the Babysitters Club. My friends and I did the same thing (gosh, that feels like another lifetime ago). I usually ended up as Mary Anne because I was the quiet one. How about you?

Rachel said... Add Reply

My neighborhood wasn't like that, but I think it's because there weren't a lot of young people living there. But what a beautiful idyllic scene you just painted!