|Before we moved into the house that I still live in, we lived in a half-double next to the paper mill on Logan Avenue.|
One of the best things about the house on Logan was the large parking lot in which the trucks used to park their trailers between the loading and unloading of recycled paper. My brother and I used to ride our bikes around the lot with other kids in our neighborhood, circling the trailers. For a gift I was given a bicycle odometer to keep track of the many miles that I pedaled around that asphalt lot.
There was also a weighing station, and if you looked in the booth that was attached to the truck-sized scale, you could see a red LED gauge of how many tons your bike weighed. A certain truck had once dropped a large bundle of colored paper chits that were likely due to be recycled. We found these pieces near the scale, assigned them all some value, and called them "Moon Money".
The lady on one end of the street had a pear tree in her back yard. If not for the swarms of bees it drew every year, the pears would have made a great harvest. As it was, she was a bit old and didn't bother picking any of them. They all fell to the ground and on the sidewalk to her back door, leaving a terrible mess that the bees loved, and keeping away many kids from snatching the remaining low fruit. This was probably her plan all along.
In our back yard, there were only a couple of bushes in addition to the separate garage that we used for storage. One year, my brother and I insisted upon the building of a treehouse from some plans in a book. My dad obliged by constructing some artificial "trees" with 4x4s and cement anchors. The little A-frame treehouse was very cool when it was finished.
In that house, I learned how to program computers. I recall a specific image in my mind of sitting at a table in my room in the attic, my Timex-Sinclair 2000 on a table in front of me hooked to a small black and white TV. The sun reflected off of the neighboring house was coming through my small attic window. I spent far too much time there.
I remember some mornings with Cathy Draper, the girl from across the block. Her mother left early for work, so she came to our house for breakfast and to catch the bus. She never sat down to eat. Abby reminds me of her in that way.
Cathy and I explored the abandoned house near hers. We always said it was haunted, and both had said we saw something strang emoving around on the second floor.
Inside the house was a wreck. There were huge holes in the uncarpeted wooden floor, through which you could see the basement. The stairs were rickety, and although I refused to even step foot inside, Cathy wasn't afraid to get to the stair banister before turning around and running for fear of a noise from the haunted second floor.
Our immediate neighbors on the unattached side were the Reeves. They were as close to hillbilly as I ever want to live next to. The boy that lived there - I'm not sure who's boy it was, really - was always playing in the dirt in the back yard with that Dukes of Hazard car. His name was Boo. I'm sure his momma shot his daddy with a shotgun at some point. Their front porch stairs had a metal sign that said, "No Solicitors".
Across the alley from them lived the Browns. Mrs. Brown was always very nice to us, and her and her daughter, Angie, babysat for us now and then. I remember eating oatmeal cream pies at her house while my parents visitied my grandfather in the hospital.
Next door to the Browns lived Becky and Alicia. Becky was a bit older than me, maybe a school grade. Alicia was more my brother's age. One afternoon we played a kissing game in one of those collapsible plastic tunnels in Mrs. Brown's big yard. I didn't even realize what was going on when Alicia kissed me.
We moved away from Logan Avenue when I was 10. It was October. I don't remember much about the move, other than we were moving the last boxes into the house when the trick-or-treaters were walking the street.