Your childhood neighborhood.
We were in a world of our own. All by ourselves. Laughing at our little kids jokes, planning our little kid games, and dreaming our little kid dreams without a care in the world. my house. We lived in the “horse shoe”. The part of the neighborhood that just wound right back around to the rest of the neighborhood. We knew everyone on the block and could spot a stranger from a mile away. Any new comers moving into the neighborhood were subsequently spied on and judged.
We grew up just a few houses down the street from our cousins. Between the two families we pretty much ran the neighborhood. We rode our bikes in our neighbors driveways, we played our games in their lawns, we trampled through the ravine behind our houses, we trespassed through the golf course around the corner, and we hounded the little old ladies for candy.
That’s how we rolled. Mr. and Mrs. Maddox were the little old couple we could count on for candy…long as we were willing to listen to them ramble about their grown kids and their ripening boysenberry bushes.
Mr. and Mrs. Maddox’s house. It was a sad day when Mr. Maddox died, but he outlived my Dad so at least there’s that. There used to be a big rock in the corner of their driveway that was a hot picnic spot for us. In fact, the day we found out our Dad died we all got to stay home from school and picnicked right there in Mr. and Mrs. Maddox’s front yard. I remember eating fruit snacks with my little sister and brother, thinking it’d be the right thing for us to go tell them the news. I’ll never forget the look on their stunned faces as they struggled to stay composed in front of three seemingly unaffected children.
Hazel was the runner up old lady we would turn to if Mrs. Maddox didn’t have any candy. Hazel was a hermit and barely came out of her house less it was to shoo us out of the giant apple tree she had in her backyard. hazel’s house.
To be fair, I never actually asked Hazel for candy. She and her crazy red hair scared the living shit out of me, but I was always able to convince my cousin it was the right thing to do. Lasting a day without candy just wasn’t an option for us. The most mysterious part of our neighborhood was The Private Road. This is where the rich folk lived. One dark, quiet, dead end street lined with the richest of rich houses. On this street regular sized candy bars were handed out on Halloween. On this street we were certain the houses were filled with butlers and swimming pools and spoiled children who ate candy for breakfast. We dreamed of someday living on this street. Since we couldn’t live in the rich houses we settled for eating our lunch on the wall at the entry of The Private Road. We spent many summer afternoons sitting on that wall. In a world of our own. All by ourselves. Laughing at our little kids jokes, planning our little kid games, and dreaming our little kid dreams without a care in the world.