On the day my son and I went to see Litchgate, we drove around town looking at most of the houses I'd lived in. Since I was born here, and I was the first in a growing family, we lived in A LOT of houses.
Z-boy enjoyed my stories about living in each of those houses so much that I decided to do a written version of that tour, house by house.
The first couple of houses I lived in, I don't remember. But I remember Florida Avenue. I think I was maybe three or four.
It was a tiny house, really. Two bedrooms. One for Mom and Dad, one for me and John and Jerry. The three of us were only 16 months apart from each other. I think we moved to the next house not too long after Jerry was born.
This was the house with the secret park. It's a tiny place stuck in the middle of a block behind back yards - the hub of the wheel, so to speak. I was so thrilled that I actually found the place the day Z-boy and I went looking for it.
I remember Mr. Dan, who lived behind us. He had a really cool retaining wall in his backyard, which we thought was most entertaining. Okay - yes, we were very small - and you can find some very odd things interesting when you are new. I don't remember exactly what it WAS that made the wall cool, I just remember that it was.
I also remember that we had a short set of concrete steps going out the back door of our house. It had galvanized steel pipe handrails. For some bizarre reason, we thought it was the perfect stagecoach. So my brothers and I would hang out on the concrete steps and play "Gunsmoke". I was Miss Kitty (aged 4), of course, and my brother John (at age 3) was Marshall Dillon, and Jerry (age 1 1/2) got to be Festus.
And when I was telling Z-boy this, he asked me what a stagecoach was. What was "Gunsmoke"? Who's Miss Kitty? What did she do? What was a Festus?
Well, son... a stagecoach was kind of like a minivan pulled by horses. "Gunsmoke" was a tv program that was a western - your basic good guys/bad guys situation. Miss Kitty was a - um... the... er, she was a lady who owned a bar and was in love with the marshall but because she was, uh.. a red head, he wouldn't go out with her. Festus was the deputy for Marshall Dillon. He limped, squinted, and needed a shave and a bath. Aw, geez - how do you explain something like that - which is SO FAR beyond anything my son has ever seen. I might have to find an episode somewhere to show him so he won't think I'm nuts or that I made all of that up.