These are the thoughts and observations of me — a woman of a certain age. (Oh, my, God, I'm 60!) I'm single. I'm successful enough (independent, self supporting). I live in the burbs and work in the city (Chicago, the best city in the world). I'm an aunt, a friend and a colleague. I feel that voices like mine are rather underrepresented online or in print. So here I am. If my musings resonate with you, please visit my blog again sometime.
Monday, June 11, 2012
This week's challenge: Using between 33 and 333 words, write a response including the third definition of the word:
“Broad lawns and narrow minds.” That’s how Hemingway denied describing Midwestern towns like the one I grew up in. If he did say it, he wasn’t
wrong, at least not as I recall the 1960s. Fitting in and being alike were
valued. Every residence was a ranch house. Manicured lawns were mandatory. So
were driveways and garages.
That’s why the people across the alley fascinated me. They
lived in the only apartment building in the neighborhood. From my swing-and-slide vantage point, I could spy all six back doors and where
they left their cars. No garage! Just concrete parking chocks.
Apt. 1 – Ann and Walt, siblings in their 20s who moved in after
their dad died and they had to sell their “nice house.” Their mom also died, back
when they were still little. This made Walt especially romantic: An older boy
who’d known suffering!
Apt. 2 – Mr. and Mrs. Morris. He carried a briefcase, so he
worked in an office. She taught history at our school! It was
thrilling to see a teacher come and go. The grownups wondered why they never went anywhere together.
Apt. 3 – Mr. and Mrs. Bray owned the building. Her glass frames made her look like a cat. She was friendly and always waved. I seldom
saw him, but still hated him because of a dispute with my mother over garbage
cans. I wondered if they made themselves pay rent.
Apt. 4 – The Harringtons were old folks raising their
grandson. Michael was younger than me and had a harelip. The grownups whispered
that Michael’s mother abandoned him because of his lip and so, since a dad
obviously couldn’t raise a child, he lived with his grandparents.
Apt. 5 – For some reason, no one stayed here long.
Apt. 6 – The Rosses. Linda Ross was in my class, so
she was my passport inside and around the apartment building. My favorite thing to do
was to go to the Ross’ mailbox with Linda because opening it required a key.