Closing my brother and sister-in-law's house door behind me, I sauntered towards my car and felt that "urge" to go for a quick drive. As I entered the northeast side of Bethlehem, I drove by the very middle school that all my siblings attended and the memories began to flood into my mind. I was soon approaching that little corner house my family and I called home for many years. Making a quick turn to the left, I drove by my former backyard ~ amazed at just how small it really was and yet! We made all sorts of games work in that little backyard. I drove past my former neighbors' houses and smiled to myself as I realized we're still friends with one couple who have long since moved out of the neighborhood.
Turning left again brought me to the street that was full of summer evening fun. It was the street that led to THE park... the park where we would pester our mom and say, "Please? Can we go?" This park that played such a part in my childhood suddenly seemed to have shrunk. Was that really the same park where I fell off a swing and hit the concrete with my head? I move on, passing all the streets where we used to sell pizzas for the Boy Scouts. Selling pizzas was a family function 3-4 times a year in order to help my brothers go to camp and other things like that. "One for 7 or two for 13" came echoing back through the years as I remembered smiling at the customers behind their screen doors while trying to make a sale.
Driving two more blocks brought me to my former school: Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. I got out of my car and carefully crossed the street, this time without a 5th grade crossing guard. Did I really go to kindergarten and play there? When did the recess area shrink? I can still remember *almost* catching that 3rd grade boy's ball kicked high in the air. Those were the days when it was boys against girls and all the little girls and even a few teachers were so excited a girl almost caught a boy's kick. I walked past my 1st grade classroom and peeked in the window. I remember how each of my siblings and I had Miss Cope as a teacher and how Miss Cope had gone to school with my aunt so that made us special:o). I walked past the ledge where I fell backwards and got knocked unconscious on the concrete pad. (Hmm, it seems as if concrete and I don't get along!) I also glanced over at the playground and remembered the day I broke my elbow after eating a yummy Popsicle that made my hands sticky and wet. What a rotten way to start off the summer with a cast on my arm!
My little trip around Bethlehem took me past the law offices where we shovelled snow in the winter, past the senior citizens high rise where my sister, brother, and sometimes I delivered newspapers, and finally to the library where many happy hours were spent reading books.
I came back to the present as I neared the Fahy Bridge... the place where I've watched 4th of July fireworks with my friends. I realized the fireworks will be going off soon and I'm sure I'll be gathered with family and friends to celebrate the birthday of our country.
But for an hour this afternoon, I visited all the old places and just remembered... and smiled.