Saturday, April 16, 2011

The "N"orth End

I grew up in a neighborhood that was called "The North End." Just as the name suggests, it was on the North end of town nestled up against some beautiful foothills.  There were two areas on our end of town, the Highlands, and the North End.

The highlands were where the 'rich kids' lived.  Hills filled with Ranch style houses that boasted steep driveways and glorious views.  If you lived in the North end, then that meant you lived in the 'hood'--blocks filled with houses that were just a little too dingy to be considered nice.  But blocks filled with willing hearts, and capable people doing their best to create a little beauty in their corner of the world.

Childhood in this neighborhood was right out of a Rockwell painting.  Kids walked to school, doors were unlocked, people sat on their front porches watching the sun set just beyond the trees each evening.  Life was good for me in the North End.  I used to run from house to house, gathering friends for games of kick the can, or hide and seek, and our parents never knew where we were between the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.--at which point, Moms all over the neighborhood would call out, "TIME TO COME HOME!!!"  You knew that when you heard the moms starting the 'come home shout' it was time to head in for the night.

I have long since moved from my hometown, but I visit frequently.  The North End is now one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city.  Bistros and Boutiques abound.  It is more polished, more vibrant; the dingy has been replaced by the gleaming, and once tired houses are now featured in Sunset Magazine.  

But the North End's roots are deep.  Kids still walk to school; there is a light at the crosswalk now.  Families ride together to the local market named after Hollywood.  Neighbors still talk to one another over their fences.  People smile and greet one another as they pass each other on the street.  Community is everything, and life is still good in the North End.  

How do you feel about your hometown?

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  1. Sad, mostly sad. Like many rural towns in the MidWest, a lot of young people left and didnt' return. The older population died. Small farms were bought by company farmers. Now my hometown is a place of empty lots where friends once lived.
    Sooo, I write about my town. My W.I.P. is "In Preacher's Creek", about my town in the 1950s.
    Great blog.

  2. I miss the northend so much. I have lived in a few countries and many states and I am always looking for a place like it.

  3. My little town was on the wrong side of two different sets of tracks. My neighborhood was brand spanking new when we moved in, trying to belong to the higher class area to the south of us and too nice for the lower class area to the north of us. We didn't fit in anywhere. There was a Stock Car Speedway at the end of my block and a State Mental Hospital two blocks behind the Middle/High School (which was across the street from my house) and across the street from my Elementary school. It doesn't get any crazier than that, I tell ya. We moved in when I was in 3rd grade and moved out when I was a Senior.

    I've been back once as an adult to drive around the neighborhood and see the house I grew up in. It looked smaller. I'm glad I have no ties to it.

  4. My hometown? Not so great...but my COLLEGE town (Burlington, VT)? That's another story!

    Enjoying your posts. Thanks for your kind comments on mine. We're over halfway there. Then what??

  5. My hometown was Queens, NY and I never felt at home there. I loved living in Portland, OR, and now I love living in Albuquerque, NM. What city is the North End in? Nice meeting you on the a-z challenge.

  6. 'KIck the can.' We used to play that all summer long, until the streetlights came on, until our parents called us in, until one year when we were suddenly too old to play anymore. Lovely post.