The Lamp Post

unnamed-2There are many things that can evoke memories of your childhood. For some it is a smell or a song, for me it was a lamp post. I grew up on a quiet cul-de-sac in a small suburb in Montreal. In the center of the street was a small grassy island with a tall lamp post. Any free time whether it was weekends, after school, hot summer days or even in the freezing Canadian cold the young kids of D’Estree would be outside playing.

It was the late 70’s/ early 80’s and we did not have cell phones, video games or even VCR’s. The only tweets we heard were from actual birds.

The only time we used the phone was to call our friends and ask them two simple words. “Wanna Play?”

It was on that street that I learned to ride my bike, met my lifelong best friend, and had my first crush on my cute older neighbor whose name sounded like a famous racecar driver. We learned to swim in a neighbor’s above ground pool and spent hours swinging on our rusty old green swing set. It was a mix of cultures and religions in my neighborhood. After Passover Seders we would go over a neighbor’s house and paint Easter eggs. My friend taught me new words in Danish and my next-door neighbor was a holocaust survivor with a dog called Moonshine.

But back to the lamp post… It was that lamp post that was the center of our childhood. It was where all the unnamed-1kids met up after dinner and homework and stayed until dark.

It is where we sat and joke and laughed on hot summer days waiting for the ice cream truck.

We did countless laps around on our bikes until we were dizzy. In the winter they would pile the snow up to the top of the lamppost and we had our own private ski and sledding hill and stayed out until the frostbite set in.

This summer I took my kids back to my old neighborhood. We moved away when I was 11 and I had not been back in 31 years. I was driving in the car with my mother and I instinctively knew where to go. I remembered how to get to my elementary school and to my old street. I remembered the route to the convenient store where we would buy candy and sodas. (and had my first DIET COKE!) As we turned onto my street and saw the lamp post I was amazed and shocked to see how small it actually was. It was not tall or impressive at all, in fact it was quite tiny. I took pictures and sent them to my brothers and friends from the neighborhood. And the responses I got were amazing. Each of us had our own special memories of that lamp post. One friend said she remembered holding on to it and spinning round and round pretending she was wonder woman. Another friend remembers building snow forts on the island and touching the top of the lamp post. My brother remembers us circling around it with our bikes until it was dark. We all were surprised that the huge, impressive lamp post that loomed over us as kids was barely six feet tall.

But after 30 years we all still remember the enormity of that lamp post and what it meant to us as kids and what it represents to us now as adults.

unnamed-Marcie Gandell

 

I am a full-time mom to three boys as well as a graphic designer. I am also a cook, chauffeur, handyman, expert negotiator and an excellent juggler!   Lastly, I am former “Muntrealer” living in New York but always a Canadian at heart. 

Check out Marcie’s blog, http://randomstupidthoughts.com/!

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