Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Recovery, kids and memories

I think last night I finally broke my fever. I had been running a fever since Friday. I am still taking the aspirin to make sure I don't run a fever again. I feel like I am suffering from a mellow case of shell shock.

I am going nuts right now. I finally have a few moments outside of the joint and am stuck sitting next to some people who just moved into greater neighborhood. I forgot the headphones. Damn. I just want to read the election results for a minute, and then I can catch up on some overdue work.

These folks are new and have purchased rehabs in the hood. They have been bitching about kids for the last ten minutes, about how there are kids playing in the neighborhood and this playing is taking place in and across the street from their beautiful homes. I am not sure why it is bad for kids to play, but apparently to these folks it is not a good thing when it is across from beautiful homes that are on dead ended streets in Shaw. Now they are talking about how beautiful their homes are. Those streets in that neighborhood are filled with beautiful homes. I used to rent one of those beautiful homes back in 92 or so.


I know that we used to play in the alleys and in the streets as a kid. On Northeast Avenue and Division. We wouldn't play on Division for it was way too busy, but we would definitely play games that included any of the lawns and into the streets of Northeast Ave and all the time in the alley. The park was too far to walk to. My mother did sometimes yell at us for playing in the street, or jumping the fences but it didn't really stop any of us.

There was another old lady down the other end of the alley that would yell at us. I can't even remember what she would yell at us about, but I do remember that she always yelled at the boys. She would shake her fist at us. I can't remember what we were doing other than playing with army men around her trash cans and the giant cool looking clay mound next to them. She lived behind the kid with the pimp bike with the banana seat and tall orange flag. That is the alley I learned to ride the bike my parents bought Jenny and I from the Sears up on Chicago.

There were also the cool folks who were always nice to the kids too. We knew. Mrs. Jackson aka "Mrs. Jackins" used to make us butter sandwiches and talk to us real nice. I remember her asking us not to just run yelling and screaming through her gangways. I remember trying not to do it, but I also remember her asking us many different times. Mrs. Jackins had the coolest weeping willow tree in her backyard. That tree is still there, as of about three or so years ago when I visited the old neighborhood.

I remember when we moved to Saint Louis I used to visit my buddy Konrad Dick. He was just in town a few weeks back. He bought a joint out in Kansas. He is doing quite well. Konrad lived behind us on our block. We didn't have alleys, so we would cut through yards to get to each other's houses. I remember that we knew which houses had people in them that would yell at us for cutting though. Which people worked and we could get away with playing in their yard during the day. Which people were cool and didn't care if we played in their yard. We often would have larger organized games that would involved the boundary of the block, but everything inside the block was fair game in terms of cutting through or playing in. While we had a game we were playing, the other part of the game was figuring out how to cut across the yards back and forth.

The prohobitions from the old ladies never really stopped us from cutting through. We would just peek and dash. Sometimes we would do it right in front of them if we had to. We were so bad. They would rat on our parents. I don't remember them coming down on us all that hard for we always did it. When we really did something bad, we would hear about it. But in general we were the good kids on the block. There were some freaky kids in the hood. Amusingly freaky.

I remember making a break for it when we lived on Lee. I was a real little guy then. We lived up on the third floor and we had to take this elaborate maze of fire escape steps up to the back door from the alley. I would hit the back door running down to the alley. My mother says I would do this at the least suspecting moment. I would just make a break for it and run. I remember doing this. It was so fun. Those iron grate steps were so cool. All I wanted to do was run over to my friends house below us.

I need to visit Chicago again soon. I just got a letter from my old pal Tommy Stefanski checking to see how I fared during the state of emergency.


I am glad that people are proud of their beautiful homes on the growing southside of Saint Louis. They should brag about it. The homes around here are amazing and beautiful. We have jewels all over the streets here on the southside. I am always happy to see a home that has been invested in. Even if they do bitch about or yell at kids. It is kind of funny. While it drives me nuts it also makes me snicker. I want to go jump over someone's fence right now and run like hell with no care.


Anonymous Dogtown punk said...

I would have hated living on a street with me when I was young. We lived on a cul de sac in D-town and we played every sport you can think of, and some that we made up. Most people parked on the street in our hood and their poor cars would get abused by every soccer, wiffle, foot, super, base, tennis and golf ball we played with. We tried not to hit the cars, but man if old Mr. Woods didn't want his '74 Electra hit with a orange MISL indoor soccer ball, he should have parked it somewhere else.
And every product made by the good people at Whammo would find their way onto roofs, car ports and patios only to be there till the next big storm. But with out doubt the biggest hazard to the ball playing kid, next to gutters, was the sewer. Many a game of hot box indian ball or catch was ended by the errant throw, the inevitable chase and the cry of get it, as it teetered on the edge of the chasm and then fell, to join his brothern in their journey to river DePeres.
I to have a love for the alley. That is where we blew up Hotwheels and Revell model cars with our cache of black cats and Air Travelers (with report). We would also go foraging for old beer cans to add to our collection. One of the saddest days was that summer when you went from a kid playing in the alley or the street, to a teenager, punk loitering on the street or the alley.
I know this storey is all over the place, no time to edit. I just started remembering stuff .

6:03 PM  

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