Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Going Home Pt 1

Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home. Or so the sentimental old song says. The long holiday weekend allowed me some time to visit my home town of Decatur Il and the house I grew up in. My sister sill lives in it and is doing her best to wreck it. My home town is showing its age too, and just like my sister, the city management has done a good job of wrecking the place. I'll deal with that later.

Despite the fact that the house and the neighborhood is getting old and needs some work, I loved going home. My neighborhood on Gregory Ct was unique. We got along, we shared, we played and partied. Every night when we were through with supper and the dishes done some one would pull a lawn chair out and sit out on their driveway. Soon someone else would be there and then another and another. Soon all the neighbors would be gathered in lively conversation, a cooler of beer or soda, snacks and such would appear and the world's problems solved, or at least discussed in length. Us kids would play hide and seek, circle ball, ride our bikes or whatever else was in vogue. The parties did not go too late, usually around 9:30-10PM or when the mosquitoes became annoying. Weekends there was always a cookout somewhere, food and drinks would fly.

Even in 2007, some of the same neighbors are there. Every Sunday, my sister goes to across the street to the Middens like she has for years for brunch. It is just assumed. Several other neighbors from the 60's still live there, though some have moved and some have passed on. It does give one a sense of stability, of belonging. It may not be the ritziest neighborhood in the world, but there is a certain "front porch" mentality that survives there, not the hide in back on the private deck mentality of newer places and younger lives.

We told the Middens we were going to cook out on Sunday PM. My sister said the grill would be hot and come and grill with us. Since we were fixing tuna steaks, Ann and her mom brought hamburgers as mom does not like fish. Potato salad, grilled romaine salad, tuna steaks, fresh tomatoes, pitchers of margaritas, apple pie, it was all there to share. Used to be there were more of us at the parties, but mom and dad are gone, Mr Midden is in a nursing home, the Perks and Sullivans are gone, Mrs Hopkins is gone and her husband was not home, Mr Mickels is gone and Mrs Mickels is down in Texas now, so the cast was a bit smaller.

The spirit of these people were there, watching as we carried on the tradition of a front porch neighborhood that shared, looked out for each other and had a lot of fun.

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