“What was the neighborhood you grew up in like?”
The neighborhood I grew up in was, still is, called Beverly Manor. Keep in mind, I lived there from 1953 to 1965—a long time ago. Yet, some memories are still vivid.
Beverly Manor at the time had five streets into the housing area. The one I lived on was Vohland Street. The street was named for the family running the farm fronting the road across Route 24. As I remember, my brothers and our running mates spent many days in the fields after harvest, hunting giant spiders with bows and arrows.
My house was the second house from Route 24, but the third building. We were on the left as you came on the street. The first building on my side was Mac’s Tavern. The tavern had a front door recessed in an alcove. This alcove found much use in the winter as we huddled to keep warm while waiting for the school bus. Illinois school districts didn’t cancel school for snow, even if several inches. Maryland schools close if there is a threat of snow. LOL.
Across Vohland from Mac’s was a small general store. Besides candy, the store had a pinball machine. I don’t remember what it cost to play a game, but my best friend John and I became so good at doubles, we rarely paid for more than one game. We won free games with high scores. Often, we became tired of playing and left free games for whoever came next. If you don’t know, doubles meant John played one flipper and I the other. Usually, he was on the left flipper.
There was an alley that opened onto Vohland behind the store. It ran over to Grant Street. Grant Street connected with Route 24 and with School Street. A friend of the family rented an apartment on Grant Street. I cut her grass and babysat her children when I was about ten or eleven years old.
School Street Hill
I noted how these roads connected because they were our road to other adventures. School street had a steep hill that we loved to coast our bikes down. The road turned at the bottom of the hill, where a bridge crossed a stream. There was the thrill of being sure to make the turn onto the bridge. If not, we might get wet. I don’t remember anyone riding into the stream. Still, I do remember spending hot days cannonballing off the bridge into the cool water below.
Church Yard Football
The fifth building on my side of Vohland was a church. I don’t remember what denomination, but it had a yard perfect for impromptu football games. We gathered, chose captains, and they chose their teams, and the game was on. The games were tag, but sometimes a tackle got snuck in. Sometimes, the tackle led to a full-scale brawl among the players. But, unlike what sometimes happens now, no one pulled a weapon or hunted anyone down looking for revenge. These were our mates, and we quickly forgot our disagreements.
Prank Gone Wrong
I have many other memories. Among them was the time we found a black snake and scared my sister and her friends with it. My mother punished me for that prank.
Those were the days! Beverly Manor was a great place for me to grow up in.