I’ve bounced around from blog to blog in the intervening years since my last post. It’s been a while since I’ve used this blog, but I think it’s time to make a return to it. Writing and storytelling are both medicinal to me. I can collect my thoughts and make sense of them through writing. In the mess of job applications and cover letters I’ve filled out in the past few months, I’ve also found photography to be a nice escape.
They say pictures are worth 1000 words. I still remember that toy mower. As a four-year-old with a desire to help, I thought that I was contributing to the effort. I wasn’t. But like every little boy, they emulate their father. They want to do everything he does. They mimic his actions. They aspire to be like him.
I remember the neighbors, John and Bev (and John). John drove that white compact car. Bev had a garden in her backyard. Johnny Jump-ups lined the north and west sides of their fence. I thought they were the most interesting flowers for some reason that I cannot fathom to this day. If I had to guess, it’d probably be because the only things we had in our garden were petunias and marigolds. Bev pulled a few out of her garden and gave them to me. I took them to our backyard and attempted to plant them by the dining room window to see if they would grow; turns out that’s not exactly how it works. My dad mowed them over later that day.
Our street was fun. There were the Brandeckers. And the Babels. And the Ericksons. And the Jerebs. There were so many families with kids my age. We had such a tight-knit neighborhood. Back before the last boom, the neighborhood ended after Laramie Street. There wasn’t anything behind the Brandecker’s house. It was remote, yet the view of White Mountain was radiating. Kevin and I had the idea of trying to make concrete behind his house using nothing but dirt and water. Again, that’s not exactly how it works, but at the time, we thought it was cool. He had this bright yellow bulldozer that you pedaled to move, complete with functioning plow. He rode that thing behind Mrs. Carter’s house to get dirt to haul back to his front yard. In this huge bucket (possibly an old toy bin), we combined the dirt with water from the kiddie pool in the front yard and mixed it up. I recall not wanting to get dirty; alas, I was covered to my elbows in mud. We pulled the bucket behind their house and made a little concrete pad. Our contribution to the neighborhood. Our hope was to build a playhouse out back from the extra two-by-fours that Gary had in his garage. At six years old, neither of us were engineers or architects, but we were sure we could do it. That dream never came to fruition. The concrete pad is now someone’s backyard. The Brandeckers moved away, as did the Babels. Yet, we’ve been the constant on the street.
Neighbors have come and gone. Houses have been erected on what used to be vacant dirt lots. What was once a sprawling plot of bike jumps and sagebrush is now a new subdivision, complete with apartments, single-family homes, a senior center, and even a Kum & Go. There’s a stoplight at Reagan and Foothill. The recent talk of the neighborhood was the four-way stop sign at Reagan and Sweetwater: the same stop sign I’ve ran four times because I can’t get used to it being there.
It’s amazing how fast time goes by. So much changes in this world. You can’t appreciate that change unless you take a minute to reminisce about the past, about the good times you had, about how far you’ve come in struggle and in strife – both internally and externally. Most of all, you can’t appreciate change until you realize how much you’ll continue to grow.