by Roy Hodge
My mother always kept good track of us when we were kids. There wasn’t much traffic on our street and she didn’t mind us playing in the street using the paved road for games of touch football in the fall, and our version of hockey without skates during the winter months.
Since we, along with our neighborhood friends, played outside most of the time, she gave us a free hand – but there were rules.
She didn’t want us to play too close to the corners of the street where the drivers might not see us right away. “Let me know if you are going off the street,” she said. “Stay out of the neighbors’ yards,” “Don’t be sassy to the neighbors,” and “Don’t do a lot of screaming,” she would tell us.
We owned the best yard on the street to play in. “Just keep your stuff picked up,” she would say.
Some of the neighbors weren’t as understanding as my mother was. “Why don’t you go to the park,” Mrs. Galanis would yell to us as our football bounced off the power wires that were attached to her house.
So we remembered my mother’s instructions not to be sassy to our neighbors and moved up or down the street. We had a long street so we could keep most of the neighbors thinking that we were listening to them most of the time.
Of all my mother’s rules, the most strictly enforced was her “You have to stay in your yard, with no friends, on Sunday.” Mom had a “strict Baptist upbringing” and Sundays after church were spent quietly in the house, or in nicer weather, in the front yard. Most of my friends were good Catholics on Sunday morning and carried on with their Monday through Saturday activities in the street, yards and nearby parks on Sunday afternoons.
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