Oh the neighborhood of childhood.
One of the first friends I remember lived there. My friend Kimmy.
She lived across the street, catty corner to our house. Next to the house with the 3 kids, 2 of them boys who use to jump on their bed. Naked. Gross.
My friend’s house was green. And it was mysterious to me.
It only had 2 kids in it for one thing. Our house had 8. The house next to us had 9 I think. A house with only 2 kids seemed nearly foreign to me. I mean, they had a bedroom. Each. Of their own. One bedroom that held one child. What was wrong with them?
Well hold on just a second. I guess technically there were not 8 of us. Yet. Because when number 7 of us was born I stayed with them when mom was in the hospital birthing #7. I have absolutely no idea where the other 5 of us went for that one. Apparently who ever kept the others didn’t want them because when I went home they all showed back up too.
I probably wouldn’t have kept them either.
When I stayed with them they did things differently than in our house. When we ate breakfast the 5 of us fit in this little thing called a breakfast nook. A nook. Which back then was not a book reader. Yeah, I know, a little bitty room just for eating breakfast in! A little bitty room in our house was a bathroom!
And when they sent me to school they sent me with a jar of homemade jelly. Or preserves. Or something wonderful. To give to my speech therapist. Because I use to lipth, I could not keep my tongue behind my teeth when I said “s” so my “s’s” were all “th’s”. I am abtholutely pothitive thith made me extra adorable.
Then there was this other thing. In “my” house when we went to bed, we went to bed. That was it. Morning time we were woken up by mom waking us up and we got up and got ready for school. By the time we got a bit older I think she would wake one or two of us (me) and we (me) would have to wake up the others. Which included at one point going up to the attic to wake up brothers bunking up there (shag carpet and all!) and then down to the basement to wake up my twin brothers (they were twins to each other, not me, that would make us triplets) who were totally incapable of waking up to the blaring alarm clocks that nearly sat on their heads. That was it….go to bed at night, get up in the morning. I kind of thought that was normal. But at my friend’s house they were woken (awoke? wakened? awakened?) nightly at the same time and lined up outside of the bathroom. With me it constituted a line, 3 of us. No one prepared me for this. I had no idea what was going on.
I soon found out.
We were gotten up, lined up, and expected to go to the bathroom.
I don’t know the history and I didn’t ask. Mostly because I was nearly comatose at 2 a.m. or whatever time it was. My kidney’s were not functioning at that time. I don’t know if someone in the house had a bed wetting history and this was the resulting repairing action. Or was this something done since their days of potty training and no one told them they could stop after a certain age.
It was all very comforting in an odd, we don’t do it like this, kind of way.
It was also a little unnerving that with only 3 of us around there seemed to be a parent watching everything. It was all so very different. Not bad mind you, just so different.
I loved that family.
Kimmy and her familia moved by the time I was probably ten. I do not remember who moved in to “their” house. It wasn’t ever that family’s house. It was always Kimmy’s family’s house. They moved to some foreign land called Toledo.
I got to go visit once. Mr. Kimmy’s Dad picked me up on a business trip. I remember having to sit in a fancy hotel lobby like place while he had some kind of meeting.
Then we went to their house. It was great to see them. But things were different. They lived in a foreign place. And went to foreign schools. Hung out with kids who weren’t us. And lived in a neighborhood that wasn’t ours.
I don’t know if I ever saw her again after that. I don’t remember it if I did.
But I do remember one thing during that visit…
We were woken (awoke? wakened? awakened?) in the middle of the night. To go to the bathroom.
Things were so different that even that didn’t stay the same. After going to the bathroom in the middle of the night you know what we had to do? We had to get dressed and go to a hockey game.
I think it’s because we were so close to Canada (shout out to Chris! 🙂 ).
Childhood neighborhood. Nothing else like it. Maybe one day I’ll tell you about Birdy Lou.