When I was a kid, there was a sweet gum tree out in front of my house, planted around the time I was born. The kind that sheds those little prickly seed capsules. The fresh, heavy green ones hurt when they hit you in the back of the head, and the dried brown ones really hurt when you step on them in bare feet.
Some of the more colorful names for these spikey things include gum balls, space bugs, monkey balls, bommyknockers and sticker balls. Even though they can live to be 400 years old, some cities have vowed to destroy the trees, citing them as nuisances.
But I loved my tree. I learned to walk under it, and to ride a bike, and I sat in its shade on hot summer days. When I looked out of my bedroom window as … Read More »
Quick trip to the old neighborhood today, and I visited with the last mom living on our cul-de-sac. Everyone else is gone, literally or figuratively. While I’m very lucky that I still have both of my parents, they moved away long ago, and she’s now the only friend that I know in my home town.
In 1955, nearly all our neighbors moved into brand-new identical tract houses, on GI loans, and their kids grew up around the same time. Most of us did kindergarten through high school together, as people just didn’t move around that much.
Moms usually stayed at home in those days, and because their kitchens faced the street, this was a place where you could get in trouble from anyone’s mom, if you were doing something you shouldn’t. However, anyone’s mom would also feed you if you forgot your … Read More »