I live in Greater Cleveland, Ohio. I grew up in the same suburb where I live now. I like where I live okay. The suburb has changed somewhat, though. For me, it’s going to change again soon.
I live in a college town. Not a big place, but not somewhere where everyone knows everyone else. I grew up here. I now live around a small block from where I grew up. I can almost throw a stone from my back yard and have it land on my parents’ front lawn. Okay, the yards are not very big, so that’s not very impressive, but you get the idea.
I did live in the city of Cleveland proper for about 10 years and I really enjoyed it. Everyone on our block knew everyone else. People walked to the store and sat on the steps. Our kids went outside to play at other kids’ houses since all the parents knew each other. If a child misbehaved you can bet the parents would be calling your parents and there would be a punishment. You never heard “my little Johnny wouldn’t do that!” We all knew each other’s children too well. Our children went to school together and families attended mass together (there was a Catholic school across the street, where most of the neighborhood kids attended). It was very much like my experience growing up in the 1960s and 70s, but in the 1990s.
The street where I grew up had several families with children. Our next-door neighbors alone had eight children to contribute to the group of kids on the street. Most families at the time had three or four kids. We had a large, great group of kids to play all kinds of games.
Of course, as you grow up, things and neighborhoods change. We kids grew up and moved away. Many of our parents stayed in our childhood homes and when we came home we still knew all the neighbors. Slowly, the older residents passed away and their houses were sold. A few parents moved to Florida to retire, but five of the core parents still live there. Our next-door neighbors’ parents lived for many years next to my parents until both the neighbors passed away. Mrs. Smith (now Myers), Mrs. Gortz, Fran and Ray (I forget their last names), Sharon, Kenny and my father were all still on the street.
My father passed away last year and my parents’ house is about to be put on the market. Last weekend I sold my father’s motorhome. We as a family, my parents after retirement and my father after my mother passed away have always owned a motorhome. Seeing his house now without one in the drive way is a shock to me. I then realize that soon the house will be owned by another family. My family has lived there for 50 years exactly. My friend Connie’s mother will now be the longest resident of the neighborhood. I will pass the house often once the new people move in.
It is very emotional. I moved so close to my parents to be near my mother, who watched my children and with whom I spoke every day. There are some darker reasons I’d rather not go into here, but I wanted to be near my mother. A month after I moved in my mother found out she had cancer and she died within ten months. So, that was a difficult change. Now the house will be totally out of the family and I am having a hard time some days with that.
All neighborhoods change and grow. I hope that a young family buys the house and enjoys living there as much as our family did. Unfortunately, I don’t think they will have quite as much fun. There aren’t as many children there now, kids don’t play outside as much.
I am getting old. I’m starting to sound like those stereotypical old people: “Why, in my day….”