I like listening to Vonda Shepard’s song Neighborhood. I was playing it last night while scanning the shelves for a book to read when I spotted one of my scrapbooks, decided to get it, brought it down and sat on my bed. I started flipping through the pages. Most of the photos made me smile, not because of how funny we all looked then, but because of the memories they hold. As I flip through the pages, I was humming Vonda’s song in my mind, too:
Here’s a photo I’ve been looking for/It’s a picture of the boy next door/And I loved him more than words can say/Never knew it ’til he moved away
In my case, it’s not the boy next door (I don’t remember having a crush on one of the boys there–hahaha!) but the kids in the neighborhood–my playmates, my first buddies, my best friends and ates. It seemed so long ago already. Thinking about them now made me realize how much they had influenced my youth, the choices I made in my life as a teenager and even now as an adult. I didn’t know how important and how much they meant to me then until we started drifting apart; going away one by one. It happened unnoticed; maybe because we were all busy creating another world in school, making new sets of friends and discovering new things.
Faded pictures in my scrapbook/Just thought I’d take one more look/And recall when we were all in the neighborhood
Recalling my childhood and the neighborhood brought back a rather unique tale I have heard from one of my playmates. She was new in the neighborhood then. She just moved in with her relatives at that time. Being the oldest among us, we believed everything she said–even her out-of-this-world tales. She was queer, actually, and quite a novelty. At ten, she was short for her age and had noticeable strands of white hair. She talks very fast. One time she told us that she used to eat small pieces of rocks when she was still living with her adaptive parents (at my age then, the place she mentioned seemed so distant and I can only imagine it in my head. I discovered in high school that it was a little more than a couple of hours’ bus ride from our place). And according to her, soil tastes like chocolate! Naturally, we were all amazed at her! But thinking about it now… maybe she had gallstone problems then because I remember hearing from someone that the new girl had been sick the previous year. As a child, maybe that was her way of coping with her situation. Or that was how she understood her illness. You can’t even chew a stone, how much more swallow bits of them?
Here’s a photo of the neighborhood/Here’s the corner where we stood/Here’s a snapshot of Dad’s old car/Never got us very far
Oh, I remember my dad’s old bicycle and its usual spot against the wall outside of the house. He used to take me to school every morning in it. He had to stop using it now, though, mom wouldn’t let him anymore. He never thought of buying a car, as he didn’t see a need for it. His office was just a few minutes from home. He can even walk if he wanted to. Besides, we live in the province, owning a car is not really a necessity.
Faded pictures in my scrapbook, just thought I’d take one more look/And recall when we were all in the neighborhood/And all those friends, where did they go/I don’t know/All those friends we used to know… in the neighborhood…
I miss the old neighborhood. It had changed a lot now. And most of my playmates had moved away; some are married and have kids. I miss our senseless chatters, the robust laughter and our parents calling for us at the top of their voice when it’s almost six o’clock in the afternoon and we’re not home yet. I miss catching dragonflies and beetles in the nearby field that’s not there anymore now. I wish someday, we’ll all see each other again. Who knows, catching bugs could still be possible. 🙂