I am a southern gal through and through. I was transplanted to the Midwest by my wonderful, loving husband nearly 18 years ago…but try as I might, it’s not where my heart is. There might be beautiful sunrises.
But, it’s just not the same. See all that FLAT? Knoxville is not like that. It sits at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is in it’s back yard. I miss my mountains. (Maybe that’s why I LOVE Colorado so much). I miss the curvy roads. I miss hearing “Y’all” and “fixin to” and just good ole Southern hospitality.
We moved to Knoxville when I was in 2nd grade. My parents are still there. Back then, you not only knew your neighbors, your neighbors became your friends. In fact, I know what the inside of every house within a 10 house distance on the street where I live looks like. And what many of the other houses in the subdivision look like too…even 3 or 4 streets over. Because that’s the way it was, way back then…
Even looking on google maps today, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking,”that was______’s house” Funny how time seems to stand still in moments like this.
We lived in Hidden Hills. The neighborhood was under construction but as houses were built, we got neighbors As we go to know them, we got friends. We’d take walks around the block together, taking our buckets to pick wild blackberries in the patches that grew where houses were later built. As the years passed, the neighborhood grew. I can’t remember how, but I know it did.
In the summer, we’d leave in the morning, come home when we were hungry for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and disappear again. No one ever worried back then about where we were. We all took care of each other.
Buzz’s dad had built him a huge treehouse. And yes, it really was huge! 3 stories tall, with a fire pole, and ropes to climb. It took up most of their back yard.
A bunch of us got together in the Allens back yard and built a much smaller triangular shaped 3 story treehouse a few years later. One night, all the neighborhood kids even had a slumber party…it was supposed to be boys on one floor, girls on another, but I think we all ended up jamming in together. And there was the fort that we built, using leftover construction supplies in the Gordon’s back yard. It resembled a little house. I’m sure by now, they are just memories in the heads of those that grew up in the neighborhood in the 70’s. But what memories they are! What fun we had!
I busted my head open while tightrope walking on a fallen tree in someone’s back yard. (Ok, that wasn’t fun). No one back then gave a thought to suing people back then. Parents chalked things like that up to dumb kid stuff and moved on with their lives.
Charlie gave me his bunny when he got tired of it…I named her Fluffy.
Patricia’s mom laid in her driveway every summer, tanning herself. She wasn’t that old, but after spending summer after summer spraying on the Coppertone, she sure looked it…that was in the days before anyone knew of skin cancer. We’d make palates in her living room when I’d spend the night.
Mom and Sharon would highlight each others hair with foil wraps in each others kitchen…yes even way back then highlights made the rounds.
There were neighborhood volleyball games one summer…but by the next summer that family had moved away, so no more volleyball games.
Kickball in the circle (that was before we knew kickball was so evil).
Everyone scattering when the street light came on…
Slumber parties in the basement. Oh what fun…mattresses lined up from one end to the other and all the neighborhood girls, in our cute 70’s style p.j’s. (hmmm….WHERE did all those mattresses come from??)
Doing “The Hustle” in the basement and listening to WNOX when I wasn’t listening to my records, like STYX, Peter Frampton, and the Beegees in my bedroom.
Playing Cowboys and Indians in the back yard, with the cousins when they came to visit. Then the adults taking Uncle Roger to the doctor to get his wrist set because he thought he could still ride a skateboard.
Roller skating in the Wright’s basement. Yes, I had metal clip on skates and a skate key. Oh, how much time did I spend at the Wright’s house. Snapping green beans, watching Georgia (Mrs. Wright) quilt in the living room. They became my second family. In later years, walking around the block with Anita, so we could sneak some smokes (yes, that was another life). Remember those Raleigh’s I mentioned the other day? How do you think I KNEW they were NASTY?
Crushes on all the cute neighborhood boys…and they were all cute.
In some ways the neighborhood has changed. (I sure have, gave up those ciggies and the neighborhood crushes many, many years ago) The dogwood tree that “Andy” fell out of and broke his arm in, is gone. At some point, someone put some solar panels on the roof of our od house, so all the trees in the front yard are gone. The other trees in the neighborhood sure have grown, beneath those trees, the houses look the same as in my memories.
Those memories remain, even though most of the families have moved on.
What kind of kid memories do you have? Please share your favorite with me below!
Have a great Monday y’all!