Seeing time bend

I was 5 in an apartment on the edge of a suburb, half a block from Chicago’s cracked sidewalks, jagged pieces of cement laying next to the weeds pushed up overnight in summer. Our sidewalks were put together, our streets were clean, no litter strewn about,just a quiet street with a park perfect for children. This park had huge climbing trees. I climbed to the top of one by where Subrina Love used to live until she moved away when we were 5. She was my first best friend. She made friendship lovable. I climbed the tree until we moved when I was 10. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t see Subrina again. Now I see that no adult knew how important she was to me, how dear.
On Saturdays I’d roam the block looking for someone to play with. No one seemed to like romping outside as much as I did. I was an only child. I couldn’t figure out what could possibly be more fun than playing at the park all day. Jill liked to read, a lot! She also liked to play outside but I still have an image of her kicked back in her room, book open in front of her, beautiful weather on the other side of her kitchen wall, but I couldn’t talk her into leaving her apartment. I do have many memories of us playing together outside, lots of screaming and laughing, lots of silly faces. I don’t remember the others names. The blond sisters who must have been 5 years apart, a bunch of faceless boys. Mainly I liked to swing, arm wrestle and climb trees…and run up and down the metal train.
When we moved 2 miles into the same suburb, I gained a back yard and neighbors I knew, who I spent time with. Rupert mentored me in painting fences, caring for turtles and quiet living. Olivia inspired me to love the Cubs for a season, even waiting at a low fence for an autograph. I was 10, she was 13. I was amazed to have such an old friend. In that apartment I memorized the TV guide from 3-10pm for all of 6th and 7th grade. On non sports practice days there I was camped out with a bowl of canned spinach or black olives, eating them with a fork. I had the north bedroom which I kept very clean. I had a cat named Thor. The first night we had Thor, he slept in my room. When I turned off the light, he’d start cleaning himself. I was concerned with the strange slurping noise so I’d turn on the light. Thor would look up from his work, ears perked, curious what I was up to. We did this little dance several times the first night before I solved the mystery and knew he was going to be OK despite the odd noises (Thor was a loud groomer). Eventually I had an am/fm stereo with a turn table. I kept it on my dresser (kept it past my one year of college). The closet was big and empty. I loved to close the door, close my eyes and spin in circles then open my eyes and find the door handle. This is how only children play…for hours. In 8th grade I was part of a close group of friends who HAD to spend at least half an hour on the phone together every night, after spending all afternoon together, and the previous weekend. We made frequent use of 3 way calling.
Happy random memories!

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