Friday, April 28, 2006

"...on the street where you live." - Lerner and Loewe

I have often walked
Down the street before,
But the pavement always
Stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I
Several stories high,
Knowing I’m on the street where you live.

Are there lilac trees
In the heart of town?
Can you hear a lark in any other part of town?
Does enchantment pour
Out of every door?
No, it’s just on the street where you live.


I don’t quite feel like this about my street – but I do like my street. Except I have to spell it for EVERYONE because, sigh, people just don’t get a classical education these days.

We live on the corner of an alley and an avenue. This is a shot down the alley.
The boys play hockey and ride bikes in the alley, as do the five neighbor children. We also put our trash out in the alley instead of in front of our house, which is quite nice. The wall along the alley is concrete, and the previous owner planted a gazillion rose bushes all along the wall. It’s gorgeous when they bloom – I’ll post photos, I promise. Maybe someone can tell me what kind of roses they are…the beautiful pink dogwood belongs to the neighbors. They have a lovely garden in their front yard.

This heads down the street towards the not-so-savory part of the neighborhood. The woman who lives in the house on the corner - straight past the white couch that has been sitting out for the garbage men since last Sunday and through the trees – is pregnant with her NINTH child. Little bit of neighborhood trivia for you.
The couch was put there by the people who live in the carriage house-cum-apartments of the monster house on the corner. I don’t know them except they NEVER bring their garbage cans in after trash day (we are horrible people and have taped notes and copies of the trash rules to the lids) and one of the boys owns a car without a muffler, that he starts up to work on for HOURS sometimes.
We have to move our cars around the street-cleaners from April to December. There are signs on the posts reminding us: every first and third Wednesday, one side of the street; every first and third Thursday, the other side of the street. It’s a pain. It’s really the only time I wish we had a driveway. And we’re not allowed to park in the alley.
You can see that our city maintenance guys do the same weird thing to our tress that they do to Lazy Cow's trees, all the way on the other side of the world in Australia.

The house on the right is a rental unit, inhabited by three or four or eight college students. They are pretty quiet, they only occasionally have parties, and they seem nice enough.
The house on the left is owned by P, who is 94 years old and still goes for a long walk every single morning, up to Bloomfield for a weekly poker game, and about twice a month or so, has an “escort” to his house. I suppose if it were constant, or it were more obvious, I’d be perturbed. But hell, the guy’s NINETY-FOUR and still gets it on at least twice a month? I think that’s fairly impressive. P’s daughter picks him up for dinner twice a week, and his son drops him off afterwards in his company van. They come over and clean up his yard, too. He seems like a nice enough guy, but as he’s deaf as a post – and VERY quiet, which we like - I haven’t really ever talked with him at length. I only know about the hooker because our next-door neighbors thought it was P’s daughter for the longest time, and told us the story of finding out she wasn’t.

On the right side of the photo is the edge of a gigantic, restored mansion, that is a rental unit for ONE family. I think there must have been a divorce or something at some point, because why would you spend all that money renovating a mansion only to rent it out? I know there’s a teenage boy there who practices his trumpet every evening; and that the lawn service they hire cares for the front yard but neglects the side yard, which is what we stare at from our front porch. Because there’s a long stretch of shaded empty street there, several times we have witnessed what I suspect were drug deals or hookers. But they tend to not hang there anymore as this pesky family with three boys moved in across the street and they call the cops ALL THE TIME, plus they are ALWAYS outside. How very annoying and detrimental to the prostitution and drug dealing public. Yeah, the Babes are pains in the ass.

The house on the corner – you can really only see the back – is where our neighborhood paranoid schizophrenics live. I’m not being glib –they are, and they are brother and sister. Dickie spends most of his time throwing a baseball at the stop sign – apparently he could have had quite the career in pro baseball if not for his mental problems, he spent several seasons in minor league ball. He also very carefully lines up his trash bags across his driveway each week for pickup. His sister is hugely overweight and walks with a cane and has a foul, foul mouth on her. Dickie is harmless, but his sister is a bitch.
Then there’s the duplex right next door. I wanted Gina to buy it and live in one half while renting out the other. Purely for selfish reasons, of course. Like having her right next door. If H and I were millionaires, we’d buy it and tear it down, for the yard. The previous owner did a lot of work to it and then sold it. One side is now empty, the other contains a middle-aged black lady and her granddaughter. The lady’s husband used to live there too and cook the most delectable smelling barbecue in the backyard, but apparently she kicked him out.
Which is a shame because he made the neighborhood smell so yummy.

Our street is a direct route up to the park, and so every summer the cars with the thumping radios go up and down our street. One reason H wants to move. That, and all the rental units.

This morning, walking with the boys to Primo’s preschool, I saw four cars parked at the corner, followed by a K-9 cop unit. I thought at first it was a funeral procession, but that didn’t seem right. So I looked again. In each car was a plainclothes cop and a narcotics cop in uniform (with NARCOTICS emblazoned across their sweatshirts, that’s how I knew.) Dickie was pounding on one car’s window, shouting that they were blocking his driveway. I was hissing, “Dickie, they’re COPS. QUIT it!” The boys were entranced by the K-9 truck. Then the cars all peeled off from the curb and raced away. No idea what was going on, but this is not necessarily an unusual sort of occurrence on this street.

So that’s it – my street.

And oh, the towering feeling
Just to know somehow you are near
The overpowering feeling
That any second you may suddenly appear.

People stop and stare
They don’t bother me,
For there’s no where else on earth
That I would rather on the street where you live


Thursday Show-and-Tell, courtesy of Blackbird


MsCellania said...

Oh, I loved this! It was a current-day rundown on the Babes' hood! I'd do that with mine, but it's so darn boring that you guys would all be in snooze-ville in 30 seconds.

Love the cobblestone alley. Love the big old houses. Hell, even the ne'er-do-wells are at least interesting! Since we lost our con artist neighbor, things are very dull around here. I miss the days of seeing him hauled out of his house in handcuffs. Our little cul de sac made the neighborhood Tattler every week when we was around.

blackbird said...

now I want to see the HOUSE!

I am insatiable.

Lazy cow said...

That alley is so romantic-looking. Thanks for the tour, it sounds like a great place (apart from the boom-boom stereos). You know, normal people can have lots of children :-). Have you checked out Chris at The Big Yellow House? Blackbird has the link on her blog. She's hilarious.

Sarah Louise said...

Sorry, I only hopped over heah to see what your list Friday was...what YOUR dream jobs would be. I'll read about your street later. Thanks for the panoply of comments! I'll come back and read and comment on *this* post later.

As you were...

Carolyn said...

That was great.

You did a really good job with it. I can see why you love living there.

It's a beautiful neighborhood.

Sarah Louise said...

Wow. Colorful does not begin to describe your neighbors...smiling over the 94 year old and the um, lady of the night...

If any yins want to see what the street cleaning signs look like, c'mon over to Pink Sneakers N'at, where I took an actual picture.

(Shameless. Yes, I have NO shame.)

I contemplated buying the duplex next to Babs for two seconds after I realized that paying off my credit card debt took away most of the "house payment" part of the Grandma money. Oh well.

Bookhart said...

Wow, so green and lush. And so obviously un-Southern. It makes me want to visit.

My float said...

Here's what jumped out at me. Ninth child. Pops and the hooker. Drug squad. And my brain scrambled and I couldn't read any more, just look at the pictures. And those were beautiful!!

PS. Have rectified shocking omission of Behind the Stove on my list of faves!

Suse said...

I love your street! And I love American fire hydrants -- so quaint.

Surfing Free said...

Wow! Such and interesting street. My street is far too middle-class white Australian families to have ANY interesting stories at all. Thanks for sharing that :)