It’s not often that I find myself driving past the area I grew up in. Since my parents moved away from this neighbourhood, I don’t have any reason to come here. But if I’m somewhat close, I find myself turning down my old street and visiting my memory lane.
I can see the big oak tree on the corner of our street. Someone had planted it too close to the edge. Its encroaching roots were lifting the sidewalk long ago. Its huge branches and abundant leaves had shielded my first kiss. The tree has since been removed but I can still see it.
Today I have my kids with me and they are impatiently amused of my tales of youth. I point out my friends’ houses, friends that have long been forgotten, the small park that we used to hang out in, the parking lot where we would skateboard.
“You had a skateboard?”
“Yes, I did!” I exclaim. I enjoy watching their faces, imagining me balancing.
I’m sure they picture a plank board with wheels. I can assure you it was a real, store bought, solid plastic, bright red, skateboard. It was given to me by my best friend’s mother after my friend broke her leg on it.
Close to my high school, I show them where we would all congregate at lunch times and smoke. I leave that part out. I show them where our pep rallies for football games were. How everyone would turn out to watch us cheer. Yes, giggle giggle, I was a cheerleader.
“And there’s my school.”
“Right there” I say pointing.
“The old folks home?”
I really don’t know how to process the fact that my high school has been turned into a seniors’ residence. I hope that our laughter still resonates in the halls and brings a few smiles to the people who live there now.