For the first time in 43 years, I went to see the house where I lived until I was 7 years old.
My son Davy and I sang at a graveside service for a family friend a few weeks ago (thank you Davy!)
which happened to be held at a cemetery in Inglewood, south of Los Angeles.
I knew it had to be close to the home I once lived in - and it was. Just a few miles away!
After the service, I followed the directions to my old street - what an oddly excited feeling.
Rounding the last few corners, I surprised myself by recognizing a few things.
The neighborhood... the ups & downs of the streets... that PARK! Whoa.
Turning up our street was almost an indescribable feeling to me.
I drove right to our house and recognized it immediately. It looked good. It looked REALLY good.
In fact, nearly the entire street looked really good! It made me so happy!
For years - probably 20, maybe more - Inglewood had descended into an unfortunate abyss.
I knew how bad all those neighborhoods had become, and had chosen not to see it that way.
It took a good many years, but residents slowly yet surely started moving in and cleaning up.
I doubt it will ever be the innocent, carefree place it was way back when my family lived there -
but I don't think ANYWHERE will ever be the same anymore... so sad, but so true.
In any case, I was delighted to see the house of my very young years looking cared for and happy.
Quite unexpectedly, a flood of memories wrapped around me like a warm blanket.
Running races down our street, childhood friends' names and houses, the smell of new bicycles.
The lady that knitted a red sweater with red heart buttons for me.
Playing "house" next door at Becky's, and their soft chenille bedspreads.
Coming home from school and the sheer white curtains blowing in a cool breeze.
Tree house. Bird house. Playhouse. Secret places, birthday parties, Kool-Aid at Sally's.
Laying on my bedroom floor coloring, with the sun shining on me - that crayon smell!
Making a fort with the couch pillows and listening to Disney songs on vinyl records.
My grandmother living in a house in our backyard, our tortoise living in our furnace room.
School clothes, listening to Meet The Beatles, being on the Art Linkletter show.
Getting our beloved dog Candy, decorating the big Christmas tree downstairs.
Wearing new black patten leather shoes to the Easter service in the park behind our house.
The stuff of childhood... how I wish I remembered more!
It was a very good day :)
On the left, behind the gate, you can barely see where a little covered porch is...
Becky and I would have picnics there sometimes - so fun :)