As almost always happens, the first thought that came to mind was a song. This time: The Street Where You Live. But that’s not what I want to write about.
The very first street that I truly remember is 515 West 15th street in Minneapolis. We lived in an apartment building for families of attendees at Northwestern Bible College, where my dad was studying for the ministry. A whole other story for a different time.
I was 5, ready to start kindergarten, when we moved from Fairmont, MN to this place in Minneapolis. I remember Mom and Dad painting walls before moving the furniture from the center of the rooms where it huddled under blankets or tarps. I remember Dad teasing my mom when he used a brush to paint the word Pud on the wall before using a paint roller to cover it up. That’s what he called her in their courting days. I don’t remember him ever saying it to her. Maybe he still used it when they were alone.
When I was eight, starting 3rd grade, we moved to 1212 Oliver Avenue North. It was a Jewish neighborhood, and Dad warned us we would have to work hard to keep up with the other kids in our classes. He said those kids were really smart, and they worked hard, so we would have to up our game. It was a wonderful neighborhood, lots of kids to play with, and lots of moms to watch over us all as we enjoyed our games. I especially loved the fall season. It wasn’t illegal to burn leaves, and the street was lined with big old trees that happily shed their leaves for us to rake up into huge piles, then jumping into them until they were all scattered again. Eventually the dads would say it was time to clean them up because it was going to snow soon. At that point, we looked forward to exchanging piles of leaves for piles of snowballs 🙂
When I was ten, we moved to Oregon. For a year, 5th grade for me, we lived in a rented house in Milwaukee, a suburb of Portland. I have no memory of the address there. We lived in three places in Portland. Again, addresses escape me, but my favorite was a huge old house that had porches, french doors I-can’t-remember-where, and a large living room/dining room that was L-shaped. The dining room led to the large kitchen. There were front-and-back stairs that led to the upstairs bedrooms. I loved it there.
In my 9th grade year, toward the end, we moved back to southern Minnesota, to a small farm town. St. James. We lived on the same street on which the new high school had recently been built, and it was maybe half a mile to walk to school. Again, I can’t remember the name of the road, but I got to stay in one place for all three years of high school.
I can picture every place I’ve lived. There were lots of moves in the early years of our marriage, and strangely enough, I can’t remember addresses. Isn’t it odd that I can remember those first two, when I was very young, but not the rest?
Streets. Sometimes they define a person’s whole childhood. Or, like mine, there was a new street address to remember every other year or two, and huge changes to which we had to adapt.
Who knows? This may be the last street I’ll live on until I get to the Streets of Gold!