Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Monday, August 08, 2005

Looking Back

I thought I’d post some baby photos of me today, as I am feeling quite nostalgic. I was remembering simpler times in the olden days.

I had an upbringing unlike most people. I was raised in an apartment building right in the city centre. We lived on the 19th floor in one of four penthouses. The elementary school was across the street and the beach was only two blocks away. The building had a pool as well and my best friends lived on the 18th and 9th floors respectively. We had an amazing corner store just kitty corner to the building that had the most wonderful array of penny candy known to mankind. I came by my sweet tooth naturally. We were allowed to walk there ourselves and spend our allowances from a very early age, as it was totally safe. At night the prostitutes would come out and I then needed an escort home from my weekly Brownie meeting.

I would say I had a really great upbringing. We were never bored and there were lots of kids also living in apartments in the area. I had to share a room with my younger brother but didn’t know that this was so terrible as all my friends had to share their rooms with annoying siblings.

With the ocean and the pool so close by I was a good swimmer and loved the water. The park was really close as well with its zoo, petting zoo and aquarium. Are you getting my drift here? We were very engaged kids with always something to do. No, we did not have a backyard swing set but we had the school playground with the jungle bars right out front.

Halloween used to kick ass as we went from building lobby to building lobby where we had our pick from the piles of candy provided by every single tenant heaped on tables. We are talking about full sized candy bars, people! No stairs and measly handouts for us. It was a Land O’ Plenty and we reaped the benefits. Those were the days…

As I got older I was very active at the local community centre that offered great kids’ programs. I joined a pottery class and got quite good on the wheel for a little kid. I did gymnastics and trampoline as well. There was also a skating rink in the centre, which was a favourite wintertime activity. They even had Pre-teen Disco night and I knew all the moves for The Carwash and every dance from Saturday Night Fever. My mom would give me a dollar and that would buy me a donut from the cafeteria and unlimited McDonalds Orange Drink just off the dance floor. My friends and I would boogie the afternoon away. After our dance time was done the teens would come in and I remember being rather fascinated with what they were wearing. Ah! Clothes from the 70’s. I couldn’t wait to be 13 years old and dancing with the big kids.

When I was 10 we moved out of the neighbourhood to the suburbs as the problems with the local ho’s were getting out of hand. Also I was getting a little too old to be sharing a room with my pesky brother.

I remember my first day at the new school. I showed up with my little disco bag and French Cut corduroy pants. I think I had platform shoes. I know I had feathered hair! I looked like a freak amongst all the Holly Hobby print dresses and other frumpy threads. I was a city kid amongst the suburban crowd. I didn’t know how to play Kick The Can. I had never mowed a lawn. Never owned a dog or cat. Never had my own room. But I had been to the Art Gallery and could kick ass on a city bus. Needless to say I was a curiosity for a while.

My whole family lives in the city centre again and I actually live only a couple blocks from the old apartment building. We have all made it back to The Hood over the years. Things are very different now but the candy store is still there exactly as it was 30 years ago and even owned by the same people. The Safeway is in the same place but recently renovated. Kids don’t trick or treat here anymore. Or at least to my house anyway. I wish they would. They must go to the suburbs to do it. I bet the community centre does something for them. It is still a good neighbourhood to live in. It really feels like home to me.


snaps79 said...

I can't believe the candy store is still there. With the same owners. That's cool. It doesn't happen too often anymore.

carla said...

Hooray for city living! No one trick-or-treats in my building either, but I buy candy anyway!

Susie said...

My childhood couldn't have been much more different, and I loved where we lived. But yours sounds great, too; yours had many charms and adventures that I missed. I, too, love that the candy store is still there.

kalki said...

I grew up in the country, so my childhood was way different, too. But I've always thought it would be so cool to raise a child in the city. This post made me happy.

Sharkey said...

What a cutie you were (and still are)! Sounds like you had an awesome childhood, and it's nice that you and the whole family are back in the 'hood again.

Candace said...

Can I have your childhood?

mrtl said...

Look at the cute little Kranki!

Very nice walk down memory lane. Thanks for sharing!

Closet Metro said...

I've been adamant in my view that "a kid should have a backyard" but your story reminds me that there's more than one road to happiness.

L.Bo said...

Oh you were so darned adorable. Still are actually! I love the picture of you looking through the round hole. I have a copy and it is one of my favourites. Such absolute cuteness!

Boy what memories you have dredged up for me. I loved that store - we used to call it the school store. We would go over there on lunch hour and get treats - usually pixie sticks, or when they were in season, a pomegranate for 25 cents. Growing up in the West End had certain advantages, Second Beach in the summer being my favorite. It was so safe. Those were the days.

SassyFemme said...

That sounds like a wonderful childhood. Totally different from mine (picture NH countryside), but wonderful. It's interesting that you all eventually made it back there.

Bucky Four-Eyes said...

My childhood wasn't exactly country, but more like podunk small-town livin'. What I would have given to trade you and grow up in the center of a big city. It sounds very appealing and really great for a child's developing imagination and curiosity.

Von Krankipantzen said...

hdl-I still go there every once in a while for penny candies and they still put them in those tiny brown paper bags I loved as a kid. It is so cool.

carla-I still always buy candy too. Just in case.

susie-still think I missed a lot growing up but had other experiences that were great. Just different.

kalki-I think it is totally possible to raise a kid in the city successfully.

sharkey- I love living in the hood again. It is different enough that I don't feel like it is the same old poop from years ago but still familiar enough to feel comfy.

misfit-you are totally welcome to borrow my childhood any time you want.

mrtl-thanks for reading. It is nice to get all nostalgic.

closet metro-you know, I would have loved to have had a back yard my whole life but I never felt really deprived as we had the school yard right across the street. It was one huge front yard for all us kids.

lbo-hmmmmmm, pixie sticks. You can still buy those there. Still love second beach too. Spent a lot of time there last summer.

sassyfemme-I would have loved to have had a go at country living but being a city girl my whole life I am kind of scared of the country. I am afraid of being bored. Isn't that funny?

bucky-I know a lot of people don't think it is possible to raise a kid in the city but we were never bored. There is always something to do.

east village idiot said...

I spent half of my childhood in the East Village and the other half in the suburbs. Basically we're talking two different worlds that are only 18 miles apart. I'm raising my son in the building I grew up in a little girl. I'd rather live in a shoe box than live in a sterile suburb. P.S. - not all suburbs are like that - but mine was! I love your candy nostalgia. Everytime a new candy came out it was a major event!

cgoyer said...

your narrative made me feel really good about life. Very beautiful memories.