The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


      When we were house shopping four years ago, we sat down with the realtor, and she had a stack of papers with houses in our price range. As she laid them out on her desk, I immediately nixed about 8 perfectly good houses at excellent prices. Why? Because they were on main streets. I grew up in a neighborhood where the neighborhood kids and I climbed trees in my front yard, played kickball in the streets, and rode our bikes around the neighborhood and to the neighborhood park. Although I always loved school, my fondest memories of childhood are certainly not from school -- they are of my friends and I walking to the Foster Freeze down the street from my house and dumping piles of loose change on the counter to get ice cream cones. I figured that, if we would not be living the exotic expatriate life I had imagined for myself, then I wanted my children to at least experience the advantages of living in a suburban neighborhood in one of the safest cities in the country. Living on a main street really isn't conducive to that. 

      We looked at a couple of houses that just needed too much fixing up and were in neighborhoods I just didn't feel like matched my personality. Then, we drove down this street, and the realtor had to slow for a kid riding a bike in the street. A bit further down, a few kids were playing basketball in a driveway.  I knew almost instantly that I wanted to live here. At the very edge of town (so much so that we are technically in an unincorporated area of the county), the neighborhood is on the edge of woodsy rural area, and the local elementary school, less than a quarter of a mile away, is tucked away in a tiny nook of the hillside we view from our backyard. It has just enough of an anti-establishment feel to suit my tastes, and as the streets appeared to be brimming with kids, I imagined an elementary age Vinny (he was then only two years old) playing in the streets with his friends. 

     Up until now, that hadn't really happened yet.  But this week, Vinny made a friend.  He lives a few houses down and is a couple years older than Vinny, but they have become very fond of each other.  The two have spent the afternoons this past week riding up and down the street on their scooters, running from our house to his house, playing gleefully without sweaters in this early springtime heat wave. 

      I'm so glad he has a friend, but I just can't believe he has grown up so quickly. It seems like just yesterday he was a tiny toddler in my arms and my visions of him dribbling a basketball on the driveway were distant dreams, but that's precisely what he is out front doing right now.  Where does time go?

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