Sometimes, living in a hometown your whole life can become routine and boring. Luckily, my imagination can turn any street, block, or event into a journey into another world. So join me on an adventure in my hometown.
Two nights ago, the lingering sunlight of spring beckoned me out of my house and amidst the streets of old Southwest Ardmore. I love this part of town, the old homes of grandeur, the smaller carftsman style bungelows whose residents carefully landscape and decorate with flowers, tending yards and home in a way that shows pride and individuality all at once. Homes that had been forsaken by time and suburban sprawl to the outer limits of Ardmore are now being claimed, cleaned up, and resurrected. Walking these streets can make you feel like you have returned to an easier more connected time. Kids actually play in this neighborhood. Whether it is a pick up game of football on the crepe mrtyle lined median on 3rd street, or a cardboard box turned into a chariot being drug by a modern day BMX bike, the sounds of laughter and creativity abound.
Gives me hope to see children playing outside rather than inside play-acting on a video game.
But today is about neighbors and neighborhoods.
As I walked down one street, I overheard three neighbors calling out to one another, checking in on how each was doing, finding out plans of when one might be leaving town so the other two neighbors could keep an eye out. Being neighborly. Even more, my neighborhood showed the diversity of who lives next door, as I am lucky enough to live where my neighbors are a miasma of ethnicity boxes checkmarked. I smiled as I walked on, imagining the summer time, when hopefully I will know their names, being able to do more than simply call out "hello".
As I rounded the corner, I found a friend's mother standing out staring into the sky. Being curious I asked what she was up to.
"Looking for the comet". As she went on to describe that a comet would be coming around for the next few days, a young boy, came running up. He was curious why two middle aged gals were standing in the street staring up at the sky.
"Well, we are looking for the comet". His eyes flashed as he said, "be right back" and raced off to his home asking if he could come watch the comet too. As he returned, we decided we should all know one another's names. This young man's folks should be proud of the boy they are raising. After introductions, he updated me on life in the third grade.
He was suprised I knew about Lincoln School, not just where it was at, but how the halls smell, especially when you get near the basement. Its not a bad smell, but more the smell of libraries where the sections known as "the stacks" are, holding history for decades for each generation to experience. I told him I was a Lincoln grad and that back in my day, the Oak Hall kids would stand at the fence hollering across the street to us chanting "Lincoln stinking whatcha been drinking, looks like whiskey, taste like wine, oh my gosh its turpentine".
Needless to say we often pondered crossing the street and smashing those Oak Hall kids.
I ended up marrying the worst offendor of that group.
I told him about Mrs. Love and Mrs. Gibson, both third grade teachers. Mrs. Kash, who taught art and had her room by the boys restroom. Of Mrs. Mildred Thompson of second grade, and our split fourth grade classroom of Mrs. Stone, the piano teacher and Mrs. Sandy Thompson who called me a social butterfly and ticked me off for life over that.
I let him know Lincoln School rocked.
And he confirmed it still does, telling me about his teachers, about the art programs they have with a special artist-in-residence. He loves his school it seems. He is curious about the world, it shows, and he is a cool young dude most definately.
We didn't see the comet that night, but we did have three generations of an eclectic and family friendly neighborhood hanging out, sharing history, and being astronauts together...
Time Capsule moment...in my hometown.