The familiar pull of my old neighborhood is always present. I’m also able to traipse around it whenever I choose. I drive down that winding street that prompted pretty much every pizza delivery guy to get lost throughout my childhood due to the North, South, East, and West versions of our street name.
I pull into the drive and it looks pretty much the same. When I get out of the car, the houses are all pretty much the same. It’s the inhabitants that are constantly changing these days.
I remember George and Doris directly to the North. My frustration at his zest for leaf blowing his roof every single morning at 7 am is not nearly at the surface any longer.
I remember Mary and Bob directly to the South. I used to go into their kitchen and help her count her change. We share a driveway with their house.
I remember the crew of Richards from across the street. Too many to name. My brother’s childhood friend lived there. Replaced with the little AnnMarie who provided my first baby-sitting gig.
I remember Valerie three houses down. My childhood best friend. They moved away.
I remember the older couple four houses down. I don’t remember their names. I remember his tall lanky frame walking hand in hand with her shorter lanky frame, day after day.
There have been a few other holdouts like my mom. Donna in one house and her son in the one next door.
Irene the Avon Lady. With a wit sharper than most and a mouth to match.
Irene, the mom and grandma. With the know it all knowledge that only a mother and grandma could have.
Irene, the friend. With a heart as big as could be.
She was a trusted doggy foster momma. She was a play going partner. She was a hang out in front of the house during the evenings, like a good ol’ days friend.
The doggy needs a stand in foster. The front row at the next play will have an empty seat. And the fronts of houses will be a lot emptier.
The neighborhood as we knew it is changing. But memories will linger and personalities as big as Irene’s will stay behind.
As long as there are hold outs to hold on.