Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Write About Neighborhood Kids of Yesteryear

This poster was on facebook this morning. Ten little words opened a floodgate of memories for me. Probably for you, as well. 

It doesn't matter whether you grew up in suburban subdivision, a city apartment building, or on a country road where your folks farmed. We all had neigborhood kids that were a part of life in our growing-up years. Farm kids may have had to go a little farther to play together, but I'm sure they managed just fine. My own children grew up in a neighborhood filled with kids of all ages while for me, it was a concrete play area in the back of our large apartment building where I could always find companionship.

We went to school with those same neighborhood kids, too. We spent time together in scouts or 4-H or Sunday School classes. We walked to and from school with many and later, we waited for the bus that would take us to high school. We knew who got teased and who did the teasing. We knew who we could count on for help if we needed it. We knew which neighborhood kid made us laugh the hardest and the one who irritated the heck out of us. 

You don't forget them even after decades have passed. If I asked you to make a list of the kids in your neighborhood where you grew up, I bet you wouldn't have to hesitate to find those names. They'd be there in a flash. And then you might think about what they looked like. Was there one with freckles? Always messed-up hair, the nicest or the worst clothes of all the kids? Did you have one that won every game, every time? Was there one who cried easily? Another you called a Mama's Boy? 

Now that you've made a list, whether actual or mentally, could you write a memoir piece about those kids? How about writing something like this for part of your Family Memories book? Maybe you can write a personal essay about those kids showing life lessons you learned from them. There were good times but we probably all could write about a tragedy that hit one family in our neighborhood--a small one or something so big we all had a hard time dealing with it. 

Neighborhood kids is a great topic to inspire you to write something today. Start with a freewrite. For those who don't know, a freewrite means you use the two words neighborhood kids and write as fast as you can. Write whatever pops into your mind. Go in any direction. When done, you should have the bones of a possible essay or even the base for a fiction story. 

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