21 Feb

One of my favorite childhood memories are the evenings playing in my yard with neighborhood kids. Dinner would have been eaten, dishes put away, and then, the sharp raps on the door from a boy named Mike. Just the tips of his blond crew cut showed above the door, where the ten year old stood. Soon others would join: Michelle, Chucky, Nicky, Brian, Drew….Our big, brick house with the two side yards was perfect for capture the flag, freeze tag and sardines. There were no fences, just a circle of grass around our house.

The bugs came out. The calm of an evening settled. They were long days, summer days, without work. The decisions I made were which book to read, how long to stay in the pool, whether I wanted a purple or blue popsicle….

We’d stay outside until the street lamps came on. We’d break into teams by electing captains. And then we’d chase each other around until we couldn’t breathe. In those days I wore sneakers that lit up when I ran. I wore pink everything- pink skirts, T-shirts and hair bands. I had thick, dark bangs and scraped knees. I wore pink, but I was, by all accounts, a tom boy. I had three brothers. My sister hadn’t yet been born. It was my brothers, my brothers friends, and then tag-a-long me.

The fences came as I grew older. The games slowly ended. When I was 13 the first fence was built, “for privacy,” blocking off one side yard. A few years later the longer one came. It ran across the entire side yard. The third one cut off our yard from the neighbors. Before I knew it, I was old, and the summer games were no longer possible. But by the time I noticed, it was already too late.

The fences were built, and we’d grown old.


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