Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Interloper

Neighborhood Kids
Originally uploaded by kristinafh
In our neighborhood - everyone - and I do mean EVERYONE - knew each other. It wasn't just a one neighbor radius either (meaning - you probably expected us to know the people who live to the right of us, to the left of us, across the street, and directly behind us). Oh no, this neighborhood I grew up in - everybody knew everybody. In some ways, knowledge equaled a sense of safety and security. We were a young neighborhood, but already, we were pretty set in our ways.

And then, there were these "rules" that almost every kid abided by (or tried to). Most of these weren't rules that were written down or given to us as instructions. They were rules (and boundaries) that we all sort of picked up as we experienced life in the neighborhood.

For example - there were some neighbors who were really grouchy about people crossing through their yards. In fact, over a one year period, Sears must have been licking their lips at the windfall they experienced by the number of chain-link fences installed in our neighborhood.

More examples - kickball games usually took place on Cedar Crest Circle; the bike "route" was Cedar Crest Circle - Pinecrest - back to Cedar Crest. Kyle Road was too dangerous for bike riding. Skateboarding happened on Pinecrest. Tree climbing was usually reserved for the big ole cherry tree on Scott's Court. If you had to use the (ahem) facilities and you were playing with the Beckstedt kids - too bad. You had to go somewhere else cause their momma never let you in.

One summer, while playing with Tricia Manter in her big ole backyard (we were doing our typical Barbie things), we heard a voice from the other side of the wood fence. I looked at Tricia, she looked up and then looked back down, getting back to the business at hand (putting together Barbie's swimming pool).

The voice called out again. Tricia just ignored him. Not me though. I wanted to know who it was. I went to the back of the yard and I saw a boy, up in a neighbor's tree. I didn't recognize him. "Who are you?" He answered, "Wouldn't you like to know?" Of course I did. He was an interloper in our neighborhood. He was climbing trees of neighbors I knew - clearly - he was not a "neighbor". Then I heard a voice. "Tom. Come down here. Lunch is ready." To which he answered, "Okay grandma."

Weird. I went back to playing Barbies with Tricia. We didn't even acknowledge the voice in the back. By this time, the pool was up and it was time for Barbie, Ken, and Skipper to bask in all of their tanning glory.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Lobby of the Library

Fort Wayne Public Library

Photo Credits:,4349

Walking into the lobby of the downtown library was like walking into grandma and grandpa's house. There was always a certain smell - one I couldn't put my finger on. Everything was the same - nothing out of place. In the Library's case, walking through those doors, you'd always see the pools in front of you, the check-out area to the left, the staircase further down and to the right, and my most favorite permanent part of the place - the McMillen Globe. It was on the right, past the staircase.

The "pools" were these two, built-in, concrete, mini fountains where we would often through our pennies. It's actually surprising to me that kids didn't jump in them (they were very shallow) and/or that water didn't splash out (ahem kids innocently dropping coins) and make the adjoining floor space wet (causing a slip from a patron).

The magazine area was to the right and it had an area where you could sit and read. Magazines were bound in a contraption - I think - it was a red hard back with a clear front. They sat on these (tries to come up with some term that makes sense) - shelf that was tilted a bit so that the magazine would slide off. You could lift up the shelf to find past issues of a particular magazine (at least a year's worth - I think).

All of the magazines I was ever interested in reading...well...they were always not where I could find them. The exception was if we arrived first thing in the morning, when the library opened. The staff always did a good job of putting everything back where you could find them but you know - those lazy patrons :P.

I loved this library. This is the library I grew up in. This is the library that allowed me to explore my literary interests - all for the cost of nothing. What a powerful entity libraries are. Especially our own ACPL.


Photo Credits:,4873

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Three Rivers Festival Souvenir Program

I don't know why it takes me so long to write stuff on my blog. I have millions of stories to tell - maybe I'm just suffering from writer's block!

Anyway, I thought that a good way to clean out the cobwebs would be to upload the Souvenir Program from the 1970 Three Rivers Festival. It is the first one I have memories of attending.

My entire family - mom, grandparents, aunts - all loved this festival.

There were some events we always went to (i.e.the raft race, the parade, the fun rides, music on the landing/at Freimann Square, the FOOD, the children's zoo events, boat rides, bed race, flea market).

There were some events where I only remember them happening once - or - us attending them once (i.e. boat race, bicycle race, great train robbery).

When I was seven, I marched in my first TRF parade - as a PAL-ette (Police Athletic League baton twirler). The route was VERY different from the one today. I'm not sure when it changed but at one time, we marched on Broadway, past G.E. and the park.

Even after my parents split up and we moved out of the area, we still returned for the festival. As an adult (when I lived in Fort Wayne and worked at Lincoln Life), I became a little disenchanted with it. It seemed to go from a community-type event to an ADHD type of event. What I mean by that is that the focus seemed to be OUT of focus. Some of the core events were chucked. Many events were scattered around the city so it was difficult to plan your day. It used to be that we parked and walked (when I was a kid). As an adult, I still parked and walked, but I had to drive, park (pay), walk, drive, park (pay), walk - on and on...

It's been about five years since I attended my last TRF. Although the elephant ears are always calling to me, it hasn't been enough to get me back to town.

Maybe someday.

As an aside - all of the pages of the program are located on my flickr account. I think you'll be VERY surprised at what you come across. From the events to the advertisers - wow - this is some walk down memory lane!!!