Old Haunts

I’m the Vampire in the back.

Being home at my Mom’s brought back a lot of memories of when we were kids and would go trick or treating. The neighborhood I grew up in was full of childen, like it is now. Back then the kids ruled the neighborhood, there were few places we didn’t feel we were entitled to explore and take over. Summer and fall nights (non-school nights) were filled with night tag, capture the flag and just plain mischief.

Halloween was always huge in the neighborhood. When we were younger we had our parents with us, but as we grew I don’t recall any parents joining the army of kids which swarmed the houses together. We would usually all meet up at one house, if I recall right it was the O’Leary’s. Costumes were usually homemade, with bits and piece purchased at K-mart or Bradlees. With pillowcases in hand we were off for candy, tricks and even some scares. There were neighborhoods all over Mansfield like this, like the kids on Old Farm Road and Pine/Williams Street. Each group of close friends and families, joined through the generations by the next little sibling.

7th Grade – I love Sean S.

Walking through our neighborhood now, I told Mad Dog about who lived where, stories about what we did to that house or this house, where we played, who got in trouble and who liked who. The light poles on our street were where all the news was written. Who loved who that week, some anonymous and some not. Initials graced the metal posts in pencil, pen and even carved, joined together by a simple “+” or maybe even a heart. I had never thought to look at these poles while walking the street so many years later, but Halloween night I did. I found old friends there, well not actually there but in spirit which was perfect for the holiday. After all these years I still recognize people’s handwriting. I found it amazing that the New England weather, the new families and the years couldn’t erase us from the neighborhood history. Not only did I find my old friends among the lead, but I found myself in several places. Like in 7th grade when I liked Sean Sylva or when I had a crush on Rick Silver who was on my soccer team when I was like in 5/6th grade. I had to explain to Mad Dog they were not brothers. I found all the girls in the neighborhood who wrote I love Alex on those poles over the years, remembering when we first met Alex Aleman in the Maverick Drive circle. He was a crush of many of the neighborhood girls over the years (not me, I didn’t want to get into that cat fight). Each school year, brought new postings to the poles and let other loves fade away.

My Family 

I’m now 35 years old and my kids are walking the neighborhood. They probably won’t know the people of my past personally, but they will know the stories, the history of my childhood, meeting the parents who have stayed while their children have moved on. The fondest memories I have of childhood are related to that neighborhood and the people who made up that time. This weekend I found myself saying hello to Nick Goodwin, who I babysat for when he was probably Lex’s age, he was childhood friends with my brother Kevin. Those two were thick as thieves, collecting for charities without our parent’s permission and getting caught by Mrs. Kelley. We rang the doorbell of the O’Leary’s house, a house I don’t think I rang the bell for in all my years of going there (when we were young we would most often walk right in). I chatted with Mr. O, and didn’t get called “Stranger”. In the past if he hadn’t seen you around in a while he would greet you with a “Well, HELLO Stranger!” We were greeted at the Lambert’s house by Mrs. Lambert who chatted with Lex and Loki about their costumes and we said Happy Halloween to Mr. Palmieri who was trick or treating with his grandchild. I played in these people’s houses, I knew their children’s secrets and they all hold a special place in my heart.

I hope that my friends of the past are well, that they visit the streets of our neighborhood from time to time. If they cannot feel the asphalt under their feel that they find it in their memories. The sleepovers, the forts in the woods, the football/baseball games, fake rock bands and most of all the friends we moved away from and left behind.

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~ by Cute Fan Girl on November 2, 2010.

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