Shoshanah and I were in our old neighborhood today. The changes are astonishing. I commented to my daughter that the neighborhood I was currently driving through was not the neighborhood I grew up in. For one, the canal on 48th street is now completely covered over with a greenbelt and sidewalk. What we kids wouldn't have given to be able to have that shortcut and not have had to walk all the way down to Thomas in order to get to the mall entrance and library that were closer to Cambridge. Many of the stores are no longer there but one of the biggest differences is the absence of Thomas Mall. How many weekends did we spend as kids roaming that pathetic mall just wishing our parents would agree to hop in the car and drive us all the way out to the brand new Paradise Valley Mall. Now that would have been an awesome mall outing. But, no, we were stuck with Thomas Mall. The big department store that was there to draw the crowds? Montgomery Wards. Can we all say yay together?
The library was one of the places I spent more time at than any normal child would. Lisa Ebert and I would go each Saturday and get a stack of books we could hardly carry. We would celebrate the successful hunt at the library by moseying across the street to Bob's Big Boy. We would order a large plate of fries to share and we'd each get our own milkshake. Lisa~ vanilla. Me~ chocolate. The most fascinating part I remember is that Lisa liked to put her salt directly in the ketchup rather than sprinkling it on the fries. To this day I have never met anyone who had the same habit.
The library didn't have a policy of making sure the books we were checking out were appropriate for our age. Surely as an eight grader I shouldn't have been allowed to check out Judy Blume's Forever. For goodness sake, she used the F-bomb in the book. But, alas, I had absolutely no problem using my library card to borrow the book. About this time I also started wondering about the 3 letter word...you know, S.E.X. So, not wanting to be embarrassed checking out a book that taught about such things I simply stole the book-- well, truthfully, I returned it to the library when I was done looking through it. The Joy of Sex was far too complicated for my 8th grade mind. Why would anyone use their big toe for....well, never mind. Your local library may have a copy and you can just go read it for yourself.
It was fun to take a trip down memory lane with my 2 weeks away from 17 year old daughter. To show her where I spent my days when I was her age. Mostly, I avoided stories about going with boys to the Cemetery on weekends...because, those are really for, well, another life.