The Street...

I came home today; I walked slowly down my old street, nostalgically looking where I use to play. There was a difference I noticed. The street seemed shorter by at least one hundred steps. On the stone walled corner, where I use to hang out with my pals for many an hour in my youth, there now, sat a young girl, alone. She was probably waiting for her pals to finish their teas, just as I use to. I remembered back to when we all use to rush home from school, bang our teas down us, change into our rags and then run up the alley to get a place on the wall that faced the Pentecostal Church. My favorite spot was where this lonely girl now sat today, this solitary passing moment, second and minute.

Times have not changed I thought, as I near my mothers door. But this girl was quite ugly looking, butch and fat, not a pretty girl at all. Not prettier than the tom boyish girls of my day. Come to think of it all the young kids today seemed to be unattractive and not well balanced. Anemic almost in color, no rosy red cheeks, and just spewed blandness hews. It must be the modern day diets full of saturated fat, E’s and colorants? Or is it just me getting older.
The street is definitely shorter, even by sight! It’s not as busy as it use to be, there’s no doors ajar, the marbled door steps are empty of folk sat on stools gossiping till all hours. The steps no longer shone, the polishing in all seasons had certainly gone, along with the pride I guess. Empty chip wrappers were now the added replacement.
I couldn’t believe the amount of cars parked on either side on the street. I use to play footy along this road 15 years ago and would be lucky to see one car pass every hour; now they were bombing up and down as if there was no tomorrow. It’s making me feel so suddenly sad.
I rasped the knocker and my mother opened the door to greet me with a hug and kiss. I’d been away from my childhood home for a long time.
“We have a lot of catching up to do,” I said to my thrilled mother. “I’ll get the kettle on,” she replied.
After a hour of constant catch up chattering, my head started to pound with an ache from the excessive motherly love.
I needed some fresh air, so I decided to take a walk up the street and call on an old school friend.
So passing once again past the wall of my playful youth; to my surprise the lonely girl was still perched there like a lost sparrow. How times have changed I thought, no other kids gathered there!
It was obvious why, of course, now they would be imprisoned in their bedrooms, glued to the television or monitor, playing some blood thirsty shoot-um up computer game, or they may be watching some badly acted Australian soap where every other week someone dies, lingers on a life support machine, survives, gets married then has a sordid affair with the partners brother or sister. All this to keep the brainless viewer addicted and left in suspense.
Is this the future of my old street? If it is, the halcyon days have definitely gone.
roots2life roots2life
46-50, M
4 Responses Jan 15, 2012

Beautifully insightful. I drive down my childhood street frequently. If I go very slow and roll down my car windows, I can hear the squeal of bike tires, a young voice yelling "safe," a car door slamming as a father arrives home, the music from the portable am radio we were allowed to take as far as the front porch. And the only thing louder than those noises is the scent of honeysuckle growing wildly on every fence. Inside was for nighttime only. I grew up outside.

Yes, it's definitely a shock to the system to return to the playground of one's childhood. I did that once, and I thought, never again. The memories are good enough.The memories may be imperfect, but what you see as a child is seen through childish eyes, and so your perception is your truth. It should stay that way.

I completely resonate with your story. The first time I went back home, even just after three years, it was different and almost unrecognizable! Half the farm was gone, built up with houses, my home was gone, my friends were gone. It was a totally different place. I went back again 15 years later, and I felt like I was lost. Everything had changed. No farm, more houses, more people I didn't even know. There's now a big part of me who never wants to return. I want to remember it the way it was when I was a little girl, riding my bike up and down the street all afternoon with my buddies.

Beautifully written story even though it's so sad. How long was it since you last went to your childhood home?