Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thinking about Childhood

It was Sunday morning at the dance workshop, and no one was ready to dance.

The Winnipegers were still enroute when we got to Vennelyst Park, where we were dancing this year. Everyone waits for the girls from Winnipeg, particularly Ethan (Jack) Shogren - who turned 13 this year.

"What kind of car are they driving?" he asked Kris and I as we walked out the gate to climb the Missouri bluff. His sister Fiona (Tracy), seven, was with him.

Having climbed the rather steep path from the club house to the chain link gate, we turned left and continued climbing the riverbluff.

This neighborhood in North Omaha, we were told, was a dangerous one. Most of the murders happen here. Things are difficult in North Omaha.

The neighborhood didn't look dangerous. It looked declasse. A little down in the mouth, but mostly just working class. Like the neighborhood I grew up in, but with big lots and a view. I felt right at home.

I don't need much to make me feel at home. Just a neighborhood a not so large, not so well off, not so modern homes. I know they were new once, but not in my lifetime.

That's the way my house in Chicago was, and whenever I'm in this sort of neighborhood I feel at ease. On the other hand, as much as I like visiting my friends in the suburbs and the new developments, I never quite forget where I am and never quite feel at home there.

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