I grew up in a neighbourhood. Almost every house held people I was acquainted with, and most of them had kids around my age. I can walk through the neighbourhood now and tell my daughter which of my friends, my sister’s friend or our teachers lived in which houses.
My sister started walking me to school when I was in Grade 1. Mostly because my single mother had to work. I didn’t mind at all. We would walk up a couple of blocks, meet some friends and walk the rest of the way in a group. I was allowed to walk to our corner store or my best friend’s house, down to the park to play. With my sister I rode my bike all over the neighbourhood once I could ride. We were never more than two or three minutes away from someone that we knew.
I asked my mom the other day how often she thought she would have been arrested during the course of my childhood.
Now we live in a neighbourhood. There’s a small park a couple of doors down and I absolutely love taking the dog for a walk and seeing kids playing in the street on bikes and scooters. There’s even a place where a group of kids has built a fort among the trees. It makes me feel like this is a real, safe neighbourhood. There are kids just out and about having fun, doing stupid things, just like I did when I was a kid. Those are the things I want my kid to remember.