Simpler times…


We didn’t have much back then but that was the norm for most families in our neighborhood.  Largely an Irish Catholic group, with a scant few Italians in the mix, most of us attended the same parochial school.

What was important, at least in the circle of friends from the apartment complex, we had each other.  There wasn’t the rivalry, the “mean girl”, “mean boy” situation, well, maybe just with one or two kids;  given that, we managed to play our sidewalk games, hang out on the marble stoops of the buildings and run like hell when we heard the call from our parents that ended each daily session of fun.

It was a simpler time.

Summertime found most of us outside as soon as being allowed.  An ice cream shop on our corner and a candy store a block away to fuel up with nickel candy and ice pops; that was all we needed in between our bike riding, jump rope, hopscotch, jacks and games of Old Maid.  Of course, there were weekly treks to the beach, and we would all compare our sunburns at the end of the day when we gathered after dinner.  Summertime was our favorite because we could stay up longer each night and enjoy our freedom from school, the nuns who taught us, and the endless homework.

But Winter…that was our favorite as every snowfall brought what seemed like feet, not just an inch or two, and the snowball warfare lurked around every corner.  The best part was no school on many weather induced occasions and as soon as we could get into our various snow gear, it was game-on outside.

So many good memories that overrode the individual family stories in each apartment, some good, too many that hid painful secrets and sorrow.  All each of us knew is that when we were outside, the world was ours, at least for a few hours, and we were protected from hurt and fear.  Sometimes we would talk about the heated arguments heard through neighboring walls late at night and the crying that would follow with the slam of one door or another.  And, there were apartments where familial warfare was kept well-hidden, never giving anyone a hint of the conflicts that lurked inside.

We ruled the sidewalks.  We owned every bit of it and made good use of each second of freedom until our days ended with that inevitable scream, “get inside, NOW!”.   Dutifully, we ran home knowing that our next escape would be just a few more hours away.



workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Workshop….Write a post inspired by your childhood neighborhood



  1. John Holton says:

    I really liked this. It reminded me a lot of where I grew up, although we had a significant Cuban, Italian and German population (though Irish still predominated). Nicely done!

    • Patty says:

      Thank you, John!

      The old neighborhoods where everyone knew almost everyone else\’s business. And when they didn\’t know, they busied themselves by conjuring up plenty of scenarios about the people they were unable to figure out.

      Times really haven\’t changed all that much, I\’m thinking.

  2. Kat says:

    I feel lucky to live in a neighborhood where my kids can roam somewhat free, but it will never be like it once was! What awesome memories!

    • Patty says:

      I keep thinking how much different those times might have been had my generation grown up with everything digital at their fingertips, rather than playtime orchestrated by simple imagination.

      Thank you, Kat!

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