From ages four through twelve I lived in a garden apartment court on the Northeastern corner of Queens. There were 40 families and I I knew every one, up close and personal.
Our apartments were small without halls or air conditioning. But even in the winter, unless there was a torrential blizzard or it was the middle of a thunderstorm with lightning blazing we were supposed to be outside playing. In front of the apartments were grass, trees and benches for the old people—you know, the ones who were about 35.
In back of the apartments were huge concrete driveways with garages, playgrounds and much room for bike riding. I would ride from concrete backyard to concrete backyard. Later it would remind me of John Cheever’s The Swimmer.
I don’t remember that we ever did homework but we must have as we all did well—graduated high school, college and more.
The other night my doorbell rang. There was my neighbor, Lanie, who I hadn’t seen since she was ten and I was twelve!
It was amazing. Put two girls from Queens in a house and you get a lot of talking, and comfort, and the feeling that time hasn’t elapsed, and you’re once again secure little kids who knew that one day you would conquer the world because you conquered the court, the Crescent (name of our street) and the larger world of Beech Hills (our garden apartment development.)
I’m not sure that our lives worked out according to our plans basically because I’m not sure that we had plans.
But life is good. Better than good.
Playing and camp were what summer was all about. And oh yes the mandatory family trip.
It was wonderful. I love having overnight company. Makes me once again appreciate how incredibly beautiful my new almost–hometown is!