Monday, July 8, 2013

Got Milk?

In a previous post I was whining
about having sort of a writers block kinda thing going on,
because of my self imposed exile from cable news networks.

Just not much to complain about if you don't watch the news.

A friend suggested, tongue in cheek
that I write about my childhood.

That got me thinking today,
and I promise I will not write here tonight
my auto biography,
but every time I think of my childhood
one memory always jumps in there.

If you are old enough to remember the TV show Leave it to Beaver
then you can picture what my neighborhood was like when I was a kid.

Unlocked houses and the streets filled with kids
throwing a ball, riding a skate board or playing hide and seek,
and all the parents looked out for all the kids.
That's the house I grew up in.

The house next to us that you can see in the picture
was filled with kids generally in the same age range as my family.
In there driveway was a basketball court
that was the busiest court in the neighborhood complete with lighting.

The original rim and net were purchased by my Dad
which hung on a back board that was decorated with stars.
Mrs. McGinley was an artist you see.

The backboard and rim were attached to a telephone pole
that was placed in the ground at the end of the driveway
for the sole purpose of holding up a basketball rim.

Seems like overkill when you think about it,
but Mr. McGinley worked at the telephone company.
I guess they had an extra pole hanging around.

One day he showed up with his truck and a pole
drilled a big hole in the ground
and stuck that baby in the ground.

I'm guessing this drilling operation took place in the mid 60's.
Their house has been sold a few times,
all the kids that played there are parents,
my parents have passed and our house has sold a few years ago.

The basketball court is still there.

Neighbors didn't get any cooler than the McGinley's.
When I wanted to shoot some baskets at night,
I would just open and walk in their back door, hit the light switch and leave.
No asking, no nothing.

I wonder how many nights they rolled their eyes
or cussed under their breath
when they heard the bouncing of the basketball
while they were trying to read the paper or eat diner.
Never was a word said.

Most times, when the bouncing of the ball started
one or more of their 5 kids would pop out the door
and, walaaa,
we got a game.

Many summer nights there would be 4 on 4 games
with people waiting to play.
It was a happening place.

to explain how Leave it to Beaver like my situation was
I wanted to share this one story.

As a teenager I came home one night, late
and headed for the kitchen to make my usual snack.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich,
with potato chips and a big glass of cold milk.
So I get done making the sandwich and open the refrigerator
and no milk!
Blasphemy I tell you.

So, without batting an eye or thinking twice
at midnight I grabbed my empty glass
walked out my front door and entered the sleepy house of my neighbors
 back door,
opened their refrigerator and filled my glass with their cold milk.

Problem solved.
When Mr and Mrs McGinley heard what I had done
they just cracked up
and I think they thought it cool that I thought of them as nothing more but family.

So, that's the neighborhood I grew up in.

As I look back now
I'm glad my kids will have similar memories as they get older.
They didn't live in a "Leave it to Beaver" style neighborhood
but they lived on a short country road with a dead end,
lined with 7 other houses
where at any given moment young kids from neighboring houses would be running
from one front yard to another.

"It takes a Village" they say.
It doesn't matter where the village is
it matter who's in the village.


Jerral Miles said...

This is a story/memoir that I needed coming to the end of the day. It triggers the best possible memories of my childhood and my family's neighborhood. You could have come to our house for a glass of milk, and my Mother would have thought it was exactly the right thing to do when you needed it to go with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The door would have been open. Thanks for the memory, Mark.

Karen said...

I grew up in the same kind of neighborhood and although I couldn't wait to get out of the burbs and into the country, it truly was a marvelous way to grow up, and I cherish the memories now.

My sons friends routinely come in the kitchen and see what I've got out on the counter or in the fridge. I kinda love that they feel comfortable doing that.

SueAnn Lommler said...

Our neighborhood was cool too! We spent all of our time...outside.....playing

beth said...

i love it, as i grew up in the same kind of neighborhood and if i had needed milk i would have gone across the street to the woman's house we called, "grandma genthe" or to the nun's house. yep, the nun's lived two doors over and our kick ball "field" was the empty lot between our houses.
ohhhh, childhood memories are good aren't they :)

leave it to beaver is is the brady bunch or even the partridge family. now those were the days weren't they? makes me less sad about turning 49 this year.

Anonymous said...

Small town USA is where I came from, in the heart of the Midwest where everyone knew your name and most certainly who your parents were if you misbehaved. Very secure feeling to have grown up that way.

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

Nice story, thanks for sharing. I'm not much of a writer, unless it's explaining technical details.

The Fractured Prune is on Rt1 South, just past the left branch for 1A. It's a funky purple building, they open at 7AM. Just don't tell your cardiologist I sent you. If you like good Italian, Mama Maria's in Dewey is really good (my wife is Italian and gives 2 thumbs up). On the Northbound side of Rt 1.

Marilyn said...

What a great neighborhood. I wish there were more like that now and that kids could feel that safe in their own neighborhoods. Love these stories.