Not ONE picture of this?

One of the first things I say when someone asks me to describe myself is that I am a Brooklyn girl.  I grew up there for almost 27 years.  This was back in the day before co-ops and condos.  Kids went to one of 3 schools and we would all walk there together.  Sometimes with our moms, but many times alone.  And after school, we would all run home, toss down our backpacks and meet outside to play.  No playdates.  Just play.  We would put on metal skates that needed needed a key to tighten- and you wore that key with pride on a string around your neck.  It was usually right above the key to your front door, because we would let ourselves in while our parents were at work.  It wasn’t a misdemeanor then to be home by yourself for a few hours after school.  It was life.

I remember I wasn’t allowed to skate in the street, so I stuck to the sidewalks- and sometimes, they were so bumpy with tiny bits of gravel, my teeth would knock together! And if you fell down and got a nasty scrape, you’d try to hide it because if your mom saw it, she would bring out a nasty bottle of orange methyalade.  (I think that’s how you spell it, I couldn’t find it on Google- maybe because it was found toxic.  We knew that as kids- it stung something awful and left you orange for about a week!)  My neighborhood was urban, but suburban at the same time.  You couldn’t walk down the street without meeting at least 3 people you knew.  The mailman, the sanitation guys- they were all regulars, they were part of the neighborhood.  There was a bakery, a fish shop, a cheese store, and meat market… no one stop shopping. I think I liked it better that way.  And I can remember many a time, mom giving a check at the grocery store and asking the manager to hold it for a day or two- and he would.  No debit cards, just trust.  There were so many trees that lined our slate and cobblestone sidewalks that – giant sugar maples and willow trees.  In the fall, the leaves were a beautiful orange and red and golden and would pile ankle high in the early morning- so on the way to school you could crunch them and kick them and just feel so alive in the crisp sweet morning air.  It was good. Real good.

What struck me the other day, when I was visiting my mom, was that I don’t have one picture of the home I grew up in.  There are about 15000 photos on my hard drives, shoe boxes stuffed to the top with photos in my craft room- but not one picture of my sweet home.  How could that be?  I guess we didn’t think of photos in that way then… they were more milestone markers.  Birthday, graduations, special events… but project life- a week in the life?  I don’t know if we thought that way back then, and even if we did- the expense would have been too much for my family.   So, I have made it a little project of mine to start collecting memories of my childhood and taking and collecting photos of those special everyday places.  Some have changed- but many are very much the same—   and I have found the internet is an amazing time capsule for photos of way back when.  I’m glad someone was taking pictures of the landscape.  It was such an important backdrop for my life….  I thought I’d share some photos I just took while visiting home…
Here is where I grew up.  I would spend many  nights sitting on that little stoop eating an ice cream and talking with my girlfriends.. and later with the boy I fell in love with and married.

 

This is the view of the NY skyline that I would see from the playground I  played in.  The skyline has changed in so many ways, for so many reasons.  But it never fails to take my breath away.

 

I was always stuck by the symmetry of these wooden benches that lined out parks.  We would walk on top of them and jump the hand bars.

 

Manhole covers always struck me as well.  I loved the deco lines on them.  I loved that they said NYC on them. One of my first projects in photography class in college centered around these beauties. And would often wonder if those stories of alligators in the sewers were true…

 

 

 

what joy will you create today?

Comments

  1. Great post! Thank you. I've lived lots of places through the years and understand where you're coming from regarding documenting events instead of places. I also remember the dreaded merthiolate. lol That stuff stained everything it touched! And boy did it sting. I'm glad you were able to grab some pics while you were back visiting.

  2. Great post! Thank you. I've lived lots of places through the years and understand where you're coming from regarding documenting events instead of places. I also remember the dreaded merthiolate. lol That stuff stained everything it touched! And boy did it sting. I'm glad you were able to grab some pics while you were back visiting.

  3. Oh what a lovely story, a stroll down memory lane. Sounds like we are of a similar era, my story taking place across the river in NJ, but very much the same. So happy to have you at the O, can't wait to get to know you better. Diane (Cheerio dwsewbiz)

  4. Oh what a lovely story, a stroll down memory lane. Sounds like we are of a similar era, my story taking place across the river in NJ, but very much the same. So happy to have you at the O, can't wait to get to know you better. Diane (Cheerio dwsewbiz)

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