I grew up on a bustling block in the north shore of Chicago. The location offered many conveniences such as being within three blocks of all of my schools until I entered high school (but I still walked there, too). Very few footsteps led me to a plethora of tennis courts, a massive playfield, lagoon and bike path that ended at a floral paradise and I was within blocks of the many offerings of downtown.
However, what I remember most of my childhood on that convenient street was the cocoon of camaraderie, fun, and safety. One could hear the symphonic sounds of summertime and see a string of smiles!
There were tons of kids on that street. We would play “Kick the Can” until the parents would start calling our names to go in, sibling by sibling. We’d have block parties. We’d jump in swimming pools made of plastic that were less than a foot deep and thought we had it made.
We could hear the bouncing of a basketball before it took aim and swooshed through the net. The woosh of the wiffle ball as it soared across a yard. Neighbors would just play in one’s yard even if the homeowner wasn’t there. We could hear the smacking sound of the tennis ball hitting the garages and the groan as another tennis ball made its way into the gutter, resulting from an overeager groundstroke.
Getting Read the rest of this entry
When I moved into my place years ago, my neighbor slipped a note under my door, kindly asking that I not engage in any activity that involved my oven. Cooking, in her mind, was a crime and any odors that were emitted from using the oven would not be tolerated.
I thought that was ridiculous and pretty amusing given that I hadn’t used the oven. I told her that, so I became an acceptable neighbor in her book. Well, I told her that I hadn’t used the oven, not the ridiculous part.
She continued to spout the evils of cooking to my entire wing. She went off on a neighbor for baking cookies, stating that they were odoriferous.
My cookie-baking neighbor, by the way, gave me a wonderful batch of holiday cookies the first year I moved in and it brought me right back to holiday time with my grandma. So, the opportunity to whiff the baking of cookies me put me in a warm and happy place.
But, I digress.
Then, she tackled the neighbor across the way, suggesting that people refrain from cooking during the holidays. I laughed and assured her that, “You can’t cancel Christmas.” She was ticked!
To her, “responsible cooking” meant not using an oven and eating salad. That’s it.
So, not only was cooking not permitted, I had to walk around like a ballerina, doing an occasional silent pirouette, and was permitted to use the bathroom only at certain times. Okay, not really, but it seemed like that.
One night I was moving some furniture around and forgot where I placed things when it was bedtime. So, I accidentally knocked over a container full of hair clips resulting in a huge noise.
I said to myself, “UH OH! Here comes a serving of terror.”
I’m sitting on the el on my way home from a refreshing trip.
I can’t help but notice that everyone is engrossed in his/her phone!! On the plane, people were crawling out of their skin waiting for the chance to hook up with wi-fi. I was at a gymnastics class for children last week. I saw a mom bonding with her huge cell phone AND laptop. I was at a restaurant and a couple who looked like they were on a date (with each other) and each of them were riveted in… Read the rest of this entry