Sunday, April 26, 2009

What is a community?

Greenleaf Lane--it was very alive! Every day it teemed with children in the streets and on the lawns and running in and out of their own and other people's houses. The first day I got there I went out on the road in front of my house and with at least twenty other children rode my bike--which I had just learned to ride--up and down the little hill that led away from the circle of houses which was called Greenleaf Lane. I had just moved from Morrisville, Pennsylvania, which was nothing like this, swarming with children. It had been a much quieter street, and we had moved when I was five in the Fall to Charlottesville so my mother could go to the University of Virginia. It was 1949. Anyway, that first day I rode my bike proudly up the hill and down, as well as any of them could. And every time I saw another kid I didn't know and who didn't know me I would say or he would say "What's your name?" And I would say "Mimi. What's yours?" It went on and on like that, and I had to be dragged in for supper. I made all the friends I would ever need that day. That was a community.

the streets were teeming with children, and grown-ups and teenagers came out to shovel and talk, and old people hobbled around or yelled at you to get out of their yard, or invited you into their houses, and kids went sledding or built forts of snow and threw snowballs at each other and yelled, and were, as all children then were, unsupervised. Where have all the people gone, long time passing?

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