I drew maps today. Intricate little cross hatches on scraps of paper dotted with circles(lakes) rectangles (houses) dashes and arrows (This is the way we went) and X’s (it happened here). I can’t remember what flippant remark got me started on the neighborhood thing, but I grew up there (well actually I was already a teenager, but isn’t that when you really grow up?) and I was compelled to set everyone straight on the geography of my childhood . BECAUSE they absolutely cannot understand how all these little bungalows on these bumpy broken brick streets could be worth millions now.
Well, I can.
I, of course, can’t afford to go back and live in my memories, but anyone with a buck in their pocket that wasn’t brain fried from the 70’s and therefore CAN’T remember the magic of those roads, would be 40 something now and nostalgic for “that place”. So gotcha! Prices have skyrocketed and it’s a phenomena and the “address” to have….
But anyway, this is how I remember it…..
Flying down Grove Terrace, bumpity bumpity bump on the bicycle my Mom bought from The Sheriffs sale (stolen bikes spray painted, confiscated, and never claimed), blonde hair flying behind me leaving trails, flip flopped feet embedded into the spiked pedals…..Can’t wait to make it half way around the lake, past Paiger’s little friends house, to light this cigarette! Now I can! It takes two hands, one to flick the bic, and one to shield the wind, I’m going down hill, looking down, on a bumpity bumpity bump brick road!
The road burn was instant. The elbow and hip thing came later. The smell of my hair, scorched for a fleeting second hovered throughout the introduction. “Wow, you crashed, dude”. I stared at them. My eyes were running. Away. I’m 17, tanned, thin. Two beautiful guys are crouched next to met, splat, on the road. They’re older. 20 at least. I’m dying. “Hey, you need a light?” I laugh.
30 years later they bulldoze Christians house to build three more. One million seven.
God, didn’t anyone remember we danced here? We painted the bathtub in psychedelic colors with Saturday night hands and turned it into an aquatic rescue unit. People would wait in line to sit on the toilet and watch the fish swim. We painted the glass panels of the French doors psychedelic too, embedding little peep holes into the glow in the dark menagerie…..The better to see who had rambled up the rod iron stair case onto the balcony. It was never the cops. Not in our world. Where Terry would sit on the third story roof and play the harp with the sky. Where we would all sit, blue jeaned legs dangling through the railing, toasting the angels that came out to listen.
And then, like little soldiers, we would straighten up our eyes. “Must be the stiff wind” that made them that way. And pile down the steps to the real house. The big house. One million seven.
And we would dance in their kitchen. And toast to their stories. And give them gray hair. And they loved us. And we loved them.
And they’re gone now.
And the house with the first swimming pool in town is gone. And the 47 cats that lived under it are gone. And my name, carved in a door frame, next to 32 others is gone.
And Christian is gone.
One million seven.
And worth every dime.