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 It is more polished, more vibrant; the dingy has been replaced by the gleaming, and once tired houses are now featured in Sunset Magazine.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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