Monday, July 6, 2009

Heart of the Neighborhood

There is a big green park in the center of our new neighborhood, about a block and a half away from us. S got a new big-girl bicycle for her 8th birthday a couple weeks ago, so we've been doing a lot of riding there. We're making the transition from sidewalks to streets, so the resultant freedom and danger is a little scary.

For us. Not for her.

There are usually kids to play with there. Our old neighborhood was mostly old people who never went outside, and the few houses that had kids living there rarely let them out the door (I guess on the debatable premise that television is safer than the outside world). Here, we have all sorts. The band of little boys from the house at the bottom of the hill who pants are always threatening to fall off, and who are incapable of not hitting each other every fifteen seconds. They play rough, but they're fun to watch. There is an 11 year old girl across the street the girls treat with the kind of awe previously accorded only to unicorns and Santa. This weekend we met a teenage couple who wander out far away from the playground to lie in the grass and neck.

It's a lower income neighborhood, mostly Hispanic (our kids are Hispanic, we are not). Lotsa old houses, some large and grand, some small and rickety, in varying degrees of upkeep. I'm guessing there's alotta sweat equity built up in these homes. Most have porches, and people actually hang out on their porches here, to catch that early evening summer breeze. The house right before the park has two very loud and very mean dogs, who the girls try to tiptoe past as if they were guardian trolls.

According to the previous owner, the railroad baron who built our house laid out the streets of the entire neighborhood, to mirror the one he grew up in back in England.

Nothing British about it anymore. It's about as American as you can get.


Daisy said...

I love it. I love it. I love it.

(Not the terror part, of course. I go through a similar thing everytime I encourage mine to go off to the little playground a few blocks away. I wonder will they survive? Will something happen and I'll be deemed a bad parent because I wasn't with them -- even though at their age I was gone from the house on adventures most of the day... Could I end up in court on some legal custody thing because I'll be deemed a lax parent? etc....)

What used to be the worst kept house on our street has just had a complete overhaul... so now guess who it is? I'm getting there... I"m getting there.

Eric Shonkwiler said...

Awesome, sounds like a good place to grow up. Any Boo Radleys you're aware of?

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Well it sounds like your roots are digging in just a bit more.

It seems like a good place to be. I'm very happy that you and your family are there. I know it will be one of the best decisions you've made, whether it resembles England or not.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Clowncar said...

Daisy, don't sweat the unkempt house thing. I'm so very glad to leave the land of perfect lawns and enter the realm of rough and tumble. No one cares here.

Eric, no Boos, but there's a house two doors down I swear is haunted. It rents out to students, transients, etc. It may be the bones of novel three - using the same cacophony of voices technique I'm so enamored with lately.

Scarlett, it sure doesn't resemble England! And I'm quite grateful.