The Neighborhood

A realtor friend says:  “Homebuyers are subconsciously looking for the neighborhood where they were happiest as a child.”

Tell me about your neighborhood.  Then, now, or combined.

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1.  Sidewalks lined with giant oak trees, gravel driveways sprouting weeds, porch swings, laundry on the line, a drug store with the right comic books in the rack.

2.  Sixth grade.  I was the lunch hour tetherball champion.  Diagramming sentences was my kind of math!

3.  This boy and his TV show got me through 1978 and a long bout with mono.  (oy, those dance moves!)

4.  Dilly bars.  Hot tamales from a can.   Salted watermelon.  Butter lettuce.

5.  Old Mother Hubbard did not live in a shoe.  Mrs. Hubbard lived next door, and she chewed Red Man.

6.  A jumble of roses.  If only they were yellow.

7.  Someone had the nerve to buy Boo Radley’s house.  Looks like they’ll be ruining it fixing it up.

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21 thoughts on “The Neighborhood

  1. macdougalstreetbaby

    A hot summer night, sitting outside on the stoop with my mom, chatting away with whoever, deep friend falafel and freshly sliced lamb wafting through the street, people walking and wolfing down a slice en route to the great thing, there is no hush here, only the steady stream of life’s happenings. I remember a crush on an older Middle Eastern man, probably already married back in his home country. I am 16 and my blush becomes me. I stayed pressed to my mother’s side but there were many nights I dreamed of kissing him.

    All I have to do is close my eyes and I am there.

    P.S. I zoomed in on the butter lettuce ’cause I’d never heard of it before. The pomegranates brought me back. I loved picking them off their body and letting their juices explode in my mouth. Occasionally I buy them for the kids but I’m always too worried they’ll stain. It’s not like it was, where I ate with sheer abandon. Here’s to happiness…

    1. Teri Post author

      Oh MSB, love this. What is it about summer and hot summer nights. I feel like 90% of my memories are of summer.

  2. Averil Dean

    OMG, how did I never notice that Shaun Cassidy had an overbite? And can I just say how much sexier Parker Stevenson seems to me today, of the two boys? He seems so . . . um . . . capable.

    1. Teri Post author

      I remember when Kirstie Alley married Parker. I was so jealous — he does seem stable. And so handsome. *swoon*

  3. Sarah W

    Old Mother Hubbard did not live in a shoe. Mrs. Hubbard lived next door, and she chewed Red Man.

    I love this sentence so, so much, Teri!

    1. Teri Post author

      Isn’t it funny the things you think of when you’re not “trying” to think of what to write. I loved Mrs. Hubbard – she stood up to the men!

  4. LauraMaylene

    That quote from your realtor friend is reaching me at an interesting moment…and gives me something big to reflect on.

    My neighborhood then: trees, birds, wind, hills, bike rides, creek, rocks, moss, the climbing tree, the abandoned camp site, the double-trunk tree, the three girls next door, the neighbor’s lights, cul-de-sac, the smell of autumn leaves.

    My neighborhood right now: cafes, bars, bridges, parks, buses, sidewalks, balconies, bikes, walking trails, trains, planes, the river and its herons, seagulls, geese, Lake Erie, and the smell of baking bread in the morning.

    1. Teri Post author

      I don’t even know how you’d choose between these two. They both sound so idyllic in their own ways.

      Is there a “grass is greener” thing too? We raised our kids in the safe suburbs, but how I wish they’d had a city experience.

  5. girl in the hat

    I don’t know why, but this made me remember smells. My childhood smelled like patchouli, incense, oil paint, turpentine, plums baking on a sidewalk, a redwood hot tub, the bins of (molding?) grains at the health food store, hot dry California grass, Body On Tap shampoo (with beer in it?), Hawaiian punch, coconut and baby oil, bubble gum lip gloss, and a chicken coop.

    I think I’ve lost some of my sense of smell, but I miss all these scents.

    I like this idea so much, I’m going to ask my girls what their childhoods smell like tomorrow.

    1. Teri Post author

      Oh the smells. Did you ever have one of those horrible Apple Pectin Perms? Now there’s a smell. 😉

  6. Downith

    This post made me so nostalgic. I remember long hot summer days and bitterly cold winters. Our street was a peninsula and Lake Nephawin was our playground. We swam all summer or slathered on baby oil and lay on the dock listening to the transistor radio. Or we packed a picnic lunch and went to one of the islands in our rowboat. Winters we skated on the frozen lake or tobogganed, built snowmen and snow forts, had snowball fights.

    Today I’m looking out the window at the driving rain (yes, it’s back) and remembering what it’s like to have four distinct seasons….

  7. amyg

    we were a one-street cul-de-sac. all the kids in the neighborhood attended the elementary school at the top of the street, but i only went there to catch the bus to take me to the other grade school around the knob from us–st. mary’s of the knobs–which had been the catholic school where all my dad’s family graduated. it was a public school by the time i went there. a public school that had three nuns who still taught there and one who still gave theology lessons after math (you can’t teach an old nun new tricks, right?)

    i got excluded a lot with the other kids b/c i didn’t go to the same school. we’d play kick-ball and it would be me against four other kids and they got to kick first. one airball after another. i’d run out get the ball and hand it over to the next 10 year old up to kick. ugh.

    we’re up in the hills over here. lots of trees. fields of corn husks in the summer. country. driving home, you have to go slow around bends because the deer own the land more so than we do and will pop out in front of you at a moment’s notice.

    my neighborhood now, is something i would have thought was special when i was a kid. (in other words, i agree with your realtor friend.)

    i bought the house i grew up in a couple years back. my husband and i gutted it, renovated every single room, and then sold it four years after we bought it. when it was first listed, the house was part of a realtor caravan where the pros go out and rate the new house listings. our was rated “most happiest.” i love that–if they only knew how unhappy it had been for so many years.

    1. Teri Post author

      Why am I not surprised you had the happiest house? Shit, AmyG, I wish I lived next door!

      You bought the house you grew up in and transformed it. If that’s not a structure for a memoir, I don’t know what is. Gold mine.

  8. CJ Rice (@leapof)

    I spent most of my young life in a car, a 1962 Rambler American, four door with an automatic push button transmission. My spot in the back right behind the driver. Today I drive a Mini Cooper when I drive, which is as little as possible. And I live in my yard when weather permits. I love the out of doors.

  9. Lyra

    What a great place to think of today. When I think of home, I think of feet of snow, high enough to cover cars. I think of igloos made out of snowbanks, and hills so steep, I’d hold my breath, then spend four times as long climbing to the top to do it over again. Hours in the snow, layers of mittens and socks, pink wrists aching where they had come out of my coat.
    Now I think of plains, and below zero temperatures, not being able to play if it does snow, to cold outside to breathe. I regret my kids don’t know what it’s like to really play in the snow.

    1. Teri Post author

      “Snow high enough to cover cars.” One of the things we loved most about living in Minnesota was the amount of snow, that there was enough to actually play in.

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