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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Where the Sidewalk ends . .

When I was growing up, I had a sidewalk in front of my house. As a 3-4 year old, my domain was the sidewalk, and my reign ended where the sidewalk ended. I was the princess of a long, silver ribbon, and my magic trike took me to the depths. I could run away from home all I wanted, as long as my odyssey ended at the end of the asphalt.

Our sidewalks were beautiful; there were tiny specks of glitter imbedded in some of them, and tiny fragments of agate and shell. Near my grandparents' house, later ours, there was a court, with a sidewalk that wound its way around it. I rollerskated there, and learned to ride my bike, and walked around every day, in all types of weather. I lost my gold tone horseshoe ring, with red stone, From Claire's there. I still walk andhope I'll find it in the cement. We played High Chaparral there, and divided the court in half for our warring factions.

There were sidewalks in California, at my family's "new house," and I walked our dogs there, and skated some more, and took long walks in the cool evenings, musing about the things kids muse about when they grow up. My grandpa used to walk there, wearing a panama hat in the summer. Even after he died, I used to think I still saw him when I walked around and around to all the stores after dinner. My friends lived in grand houses along that sidewalk, and I used to visit them on my walks.

There were sidewalks in Carbondale, near my apartment, and I visited my friend Betsy's gift shop, and ran in breathless one spring day to tell her I passed my dissertation defense. I used to peek in the windows of a law firm situated in Murdale Gardens, and took the sidewalk to the summer concerts in the park, wearing a strapless, bright sundress, young, and carefree. We walked for Cajun food to Mississipp Flyaway, and for capuccino and pastry at Cristaudos. There was Chinese food,and an international grocery store, and the laundromat, where I wrote letters.

I loved sidewalks, and felt safe there. In my element. They were the parameters of my adventures, and the easments to my imagination. I played hopscotch, and rode my pogo stick, and set up play stores there. I trick or treated, and had my first taste of freedom on their slate. Life was good.

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