Today we read the last chapter of Marshfield Dreams by Ralph Fletcher. It is in that chapter that Ralph tells of the special kind of goodbye he got from his neighborhood friends before he had to get in the car with his family and head off to their new home.
Afterwards I asked the twenty students who satin front of me if they'd ever experienced a move like Ralph. Surprisingly only a few- maybe 5 or 6- had. Wow. By the time I was their age I'd moved 6 times. Luckily, although I lived in three different places from 1st to 5th grade I never moved far enough to warrant a change in school. Staying at the same school made the move a little easier but still there were always a new group of neighborhood kids to size up and figure out.
The first house I remember was located on Hollen Road in the Govans section of Baltimore City. My parents, two brothers and I lived in a small bungalow not too far from a stream down the street. Most of the memories I have of my life there are more like snapshots- and they are similar to the same snapshots that can be found in the family photo albums stored in my parent's basement.
Hollen Rd. conjures up pictures of my baby carriage, swallowed pennies, Fran and Mandy across the street, grape vines and the arrival of my sister, Jeen, who was lucky enough to enter our lives only days after we had come down with the chicken pox.
It was on Hollen Rd. that I learned not to leave my wagon in the driveway that was shared by our neighbor. Luckily, she felt bad for running it over and replaced it with one that was even nicer than the one I had. Yeah, it had the real wooden sides- I couldn't believe it.
Hollen Rd. was a happy place. I can't say I remember leaving but I do know our next stop was a big one. We left Baltimore and headed to Washington, DC.
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