Jennifer Street wasn’t the first house I ever lived in, that one was was somewhere in Chattanooga Mom and Dad can tell you where. But Jennifer Street was the first house whose address I memorized. It’s the first house I have many memories of playing and living in. It is what I think of as my childhood home. We moved from there when I was in fourth grade. The next house I think of as my middle school years. This is a photo of it recently. What got me the most was how small it looked. I guess Thomas Wolf knew what he was talking about when he said you can’t go home. Things of your past don’t just sit there waiting for you to come back they go on changing too just like you. Let me tell what has changed…
First off the three big trees by the street are gone and only the stump of one remains. They were maples I think turned flame red and yellow in the fall. I remember the linemen would come through about once year I’d guess and cut them back mercilessly. They looked so sad then but the next Spring they’d leaf out perfectly round and green again.
There between the house and the next one on the right of the picture was a row of pines. Oh those pines smelt divine and to crawl onto the bed of their orange needles and lay back was a pleasure. Also you didn’t see the neighbor just boughs of green.
See the retaining wall there between the front yard and the driveway? That was covered in creeping flox. At the various times of the year it would be a deep forest green. Then when it bloomed it was a carpet, albeit a prickly one, of pastel pinks, purples, and blues.
Let’s move on to the next retaining wall between the driveway and the neighbor. See that green strip? That was Mom’s iris bed. It was packed with irises of all types and colors. It was a riot of beauty in May when it bloomed. I’ve written about that before.
There at the end of the driveway was where my swing set was. Yes the one I broke my arm on the second time I broke my arm.
Oh and the neighbor on the left the one below the irises was Mr. Briggs. He had a big garden in the lot between our house and his. He’d invite me down at times letting me ‘help’ him garden. He was a sweet man and I enjoyed his company.
My last memory of Jennifer street was when we moved on Christmas Eve. The house was empty and felt smaller in places and larger in others. I stood looking out that big picture window in front to my friend Dean’s house knowing I’d never see this familiar daily view again, never just cross the street to play in that yard with a group of friends, never be back here again. It was the first of many times I had realization in my life “Remember this it is the last.” That’s not a sad thought just the fact that live is change. It is a reminder to appreciate the times you have when you have them, recognize the end when it comes and move on to what’s next. We don’t stand still. Lack of change is stagnation. It has to be, but that doesn’t mean we don’t take the memories with us along with their smiles.