Although my Dad played an occasional game of HORSE and coached some of our basketball teams, my parents were not our social directors. As a result, we were children who learned how to negotiate, forgive, and manage time.
There must have been a dozen of us in the neighborhood. Together we gathered chestnuts and once even had a war. We made forts and rode our banana seat bikes. In the winter, we went sledding and on the way to school, we cut through yards and even had "the path" at our disposal that cut down a hill and through a BIW parking lot. At dusk, we had strategic games of hide and seek that called for dark clothing, alliances and sprinting for the gool. We actually wore down a pitcher's mound and home plate in the front yard that wouldn't see grass until Patrick went off to college.
I remember one January night when basketball practice got out early. Jamie and I ran down Lincoln Street and cut onto Court Street to meet my Dad at Shaw's. He usually shopped on Saturday, but for some reason, was going to make a stop there before heading over to Morse to pick us up. We were in junior high and it seemed like the right thing to do. My dad wasn't angry. We were resourceful, independent kids.
I count myself very lucky to live in Dixfield. I feel safe here and the street we live on resembles the one from my childhood. Change is inevitable but fear has a way of amplifying change. I'd like to harness that fear and give my children the independence, joy and freedom to experience the neighborhood.