My childhood neighborhood was amazing, it was magical. It was a Sandlot kind of neighborhood. There was a community pool, tons of kids, the iconic grumpy, old couple that lived across the street, the grandfatherly next door neighbor who became a family member, & tons of kool-aid stands.
The house that I grew up in has a creek in the backyard. That creek has been a fishing hole, the Grand Canyon, a crawdad catching pond, a hiding place, a burial place for pet fish that just couldn’t make it through the murky waters of dirty bowls. That creek has had more Cowboy & Indian raids than a John Wayne Western withÂ imaginary guns &Â arrows flying through the sky.
The best part about our neighborhood was how my brothers, sisters, & I pretty much ran the place. You know we were angelic to the adults but fearsome to the other kids. No one messed with the five of us. They called us “the Mafia.” I remember a kid telling a friend of his to be careful because if you messed with one of us you messed with all of us. One of my sibs got sucker punched in the gut & the first thing she yelled was, “I’M GOING TO GET KATE.” It’s not like we were violent, it’s just there were more of us than there were of any other family. It was intimidating.
The BEST part of our neighborhood when we were kids was the summer game “Capture.” And by Capture I don’t mean your usual, run of the mill go after that lame flag capture. We went after people. We would gather every neighborhood kid that was interested, split into teams (Big Kids vs. Little Kids–like how I swung that?!), the Big Kids alwaysÂ hid first. In fact I don’t think the Little Kids ever got a chance to hide in all those years of playing.
We hid in the creek, we hopped fences, we crawled in bushes, in fact I think I even hid in a dog house one time, okay several times, okay okay a thousand times. That’s how absolutely serious we were. We did NOT play games. And you could only play in pitch black, wear black, paint your face black, no flash lights, & no going inside. Oh man it was awesome! Then we would start trying to get to home base (my mom’s dogwood tree) before the Little Kids could get to us. It was a game of strategy, skill & sheer luck that you didn’t trip over one of those damn tree roots that got you every.single.time.
Eventually, my dad banned the game. He was afraid that someone would get hurt. Then I turned into a teenager, started driving, got interested in sports & boys, kids moved away, and the neighborhood magic fizzled and just became streets & houses. But every now and again, especially in the summer, I’ll hear the crickets start chirping, and it feels like the best idea in the world to start a round of Capture just oneÂ more time.
Melissa B. says
Every time I hear Miranda Lambert's song about going back to her childhood home, I think about what it would be like if I did that, too. Fond memories, and that's putting it mildly. Thanks for injecting a little bit of nostalgia into my morning. SITS sent me by, and I'm glad they did!
Over the River and Through the Woods…
Pumpkin Delight says
Ha ha! I love that your dad banned the game. I also think it's great that you were called the mafia. I am the only child so didn't have the experience (good and bad) of having siblings to play/fight with. I've always wished I did.
stopped by from mama kat's
Kathy English says
Totally laughing over, "I'm gonna get Kate!" and that you and your sibs were called "The Mafia." Our neighborhood was a good one for kids, too, and I had a sister who stood up for me all the time. On the playground one day, this boy kept teasing me. My sister saw what was going on, and she (3 years older than I) walked over and picked that boy up by his hair so he was at eye level with her, and said, "You leave my sister alone!" That boy and I graduated in the same class, and he still remembers that.
Good post! Visiting from Mama Kat's.
Stopping by from Momma Kat's, loved your post enjoyed reading it !!!
Together We Save says
Sounds like an amazing place to grow up! You told your story wonderfully!!
Sounds like the perfect place to grow up…and have some fun, too! We played a similar game in our neighborhood, and I loved being out after dark, hoping to be found before I had to go home!
Love this 🙂 We played all over our neighborhood, too. My cousins, my sister and I would always play Jailbreak.
Everyone hides and 1 person searches. When you're found, you have to go to the designated "jail". You can be freed and hide again when another person "hiding" manages to tag you and scream "JAILBREAK!!!" without being caught by the seeker.
Sounds like good times. I love childhood memories. Maybe I will participate today once Little Man is napping b
LOL! The Mafia huh? That's got to be the coolest name a group of kids could ever have! I loved the way you told this story – now I'm wishing my childhood was a bit more different, peppered with more adventures like yours. I feel so deprived. Never got the chance to play outside and terrorize smaller kids. Haha!
Hmmm, maybe my folks wouldn't let us play outside, not to protect us, but to protect the other kids?
I wonder what will happen the gazillion kids who live on our street grow up and the neighborhood just becomes a street with houses. Why am I teary all of a sudden?
Kristin @ Ellie-Town says
Our street only had one other family with kids but my best friends street was just like yours. It was so much fun!
wow, that's some serious hardcore neighborhood game!
The Empress says
Stopping over from MamaKat's , reading about neighborhoods.
What fun memories you have…just being a kid…
Andrea @multiplemama says
That creek sounds like it has a lot of stories to tell! It sounds like you guys could practically have invented paint ball! Just without the paint.
Shelby Bukhenik says
OMG Kate this feels like an excerpt from a book…please keep writing! I love thinking about those kinds of times as a kid!! Everything is so vivid and easy and just plain fun!
Joey @ Big Teeth and Clouds says
Wow were you cool! I had a swingset. That's just about the extent of my excitement!
Single and Sane says
I waited until I finally got around to writing on this prompt myself before I let myself read yours. I'm so jealous. We had a creek, too, but I wasn't allowed to play in it. Your neighborhood must have been a blast!
This brought back so many childhood memories! I'm all flooded with happy now and want to call my momma.