The Street That Raised Me

By on 23 January, 2017 in Lynne Burford with 0 Comments

FullSizeRenderTwo years ago, I moved three doors down from the Midtown Montgomery house I grew up in.

My neighborhood was my world when I was young. Kids had the freedom of really knowing every neighbor, of building forts and clubhouses and knowing which trees were the best for climbing. We played outside until the street lights came on. We rode bikes, we spied on the old lady in the scary house. We slept under the breeze from an open window. We were barefoot, catching lightning bugs. We were not afraid, for the world was gentler then.

As I walk my dog in the afternoons, memories are everywhere. In the driveway of that childhood home, I can stand in the same spot I stood in in 1959 in my walker and diaper, smiling at my daddy with his Brownie camera. The photo of that moment is framed in my bedroom. We pass by the house where the Rusts lived – travelers each summer to the West who would come home with ordinary looking rocks which, after put in the tumbler they kept in their carport, magically transformed into tiny garnets and peridots. I would knock on their door to sit and listen to the stories they told, and would leave with my choice of jewel in hand. The driveway a few houses down was the one we used for hopscotch because it was a “double,” and new.

I see the picture window of the house where three irritated little poodles would push the curtains aside and pepper us with attitude when we rode our bikes by. Behind this house, my friend Tammie and I found a nest of yellowjackets one summer day, and I stop and sit on the wall we climbed over to run home for sympathy and zinc oxide. And I remember.

Further down I can still see the tree where we had our neighborhood rope swing and tree house club, called “The Funny Company.” I learned my first “bad word” from the boy who lived there. I can still taste the soap in my mouth that was the result of my taking that word home. My friend Grace lives in the house now – she is in her 90s and we often visit and share some of the memories together. Her son and my brother rode go-carts on the sidewalk together. Her son died of cancer a few years ago.

Next to my house is a brick wall where my pet iguana got loose one day, found after I went home crying and my prince of a daddy came and found the big green thing sunning on the fence. And as we head home at the end of our walk, here is where I remember being a scared 8 year old running home at Halloween, when I got separated from my friends trick-or-treating.

Each walk down this sidewalk evokes something sweet in my past. I can touch the tree I climbed. I can kick the crack that tripped my baby brother on his birthday. I can stand on the same spot I parked my new Schwinn Stingray on the first time I rode it. I can sit on the wall where that iguana slipped out of my hand. And I can remember.

This street, its people, its cracked sidewalks and sweet gardenia bushes and its life lessons. They wrap around me like a comforter. And I am home again.

Lynne Burford is a lifelong animal advocate who has been rescuing since she was a little girl. From birds and snakes to raccoons and foxes, she has rehabilitated and released back into the wild many orphaned and injured creatures. For the last ten years her focus has been on fostering and volunteering with rescues to place dogs into permanent and loving homes. Aside from various sizes of foster dogs, she owns a small pack of chihuahuas.

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