52 thoughts, flotsam

Second thought

Downtown Melrose as seen from the intersection...
Image via Wikipedia

The second of my 52 thoughts in 2012 is a snippet of memory from my sister: You walked with me into town so many times, because I was too small to go alone. Thank you!

For a huge chunk of our childhood, my sister and I lived in a small city in suburban New England.  We lived at one end of a relatively quiet residential street, and 4 blocks down, where things were a bit busier, there was a small mom-and-pop grocery store. Delaney’s. To get to Delaney’s from our house, you only had to cross one intersection… but there was that one house, with the long stone wall and the deep yard and the big scary dog that would run the length of their yard, up the wall until it’s head stuck over, and bark death threats at passing children. So we would usually avoid that. Meaning that as we went to and down that length of the street we would prefer to cross the street before then, and possibly cross more side streets on the opposite side until we crossed back.

Delaney’s was a regular stop on the way home from school for me, since I passed it even on my way home from elementary school. While it took more street crossing than my parents would probably have approved of had they known how we avoided the dog, our street was generally quiet enough that it wasn’t a big deal for us to go. (By comparison, about the same distance the other direction there was a small store that sold Italian Ice in the summer. We almost never went there; it meant walking along and then across a fairly major street.)

Delaney’s was probably the far end of our “local” world, a place any of the moms on our street would have safely sent their children with a silver-hued coin in hand. Child gains adventure, freedom, and the promise of at least a small piece of candy, or possibly an ice pop. Adult gains a blessed few minutes without hearing, “we’re bored!”

When she was very small indeed, Delaney’s was where I would walk with her… when I was still too small to go “Downtown” either.

From Delaney’s, a block or two up and maybe 4 to the left from there, was Main Street and the nearest edges of “Downtown.” By the time we were in Junior High and High School, this would be familiar territory; the latter third of the everyday walk home from school. At that nearest corner of Main Street to our house was the store where my parents bought us our roller skates. A block and a half down, and there was the penny candy store, and the coffee shop, and any number of interesting little shops to entertain a child. Brigham’s ice cream (I’ll have mint-chocolate-chip with jimmies, please), across the street.  The local pizzeria on the next block. The big grocery store another block down and turn left at City Hall. Or go a few blocks farther down and to the left, to get to the Library. The entrance is mid-landing: children’s books down a level, adults up a level.

Oh yes, I remember those trips into town. It was fun. A small-scale adventure for the small-scale people we were at the time.

Thanks for the memory, Sis!

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