This Is from a Year Ago When I Still Had Ideas and Wrote Stuff.

Why would children play here? It looks like a crime scene.

I didn’t expect to brush up against the edges of a former self today. But if there’s anything we know by the age of 30, it’s that the breathtakingly unexpected actually happens so frequently that we cease to be as surprised by it as our 20-year-old selves might have predicted.

Maybe there’s a word for that. Do they call it “jaded?”

“Go to this place and pick up this thing” was what I was intending to do, but what I actually did was endanger myself and others while snapping photos from my car of these places that have lived as landmarks in my memory for almost 20 years.

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Where I learned the donut holes are sometimes free if you’re seven years old and loiter around a donut shop and have no money.

The (not-altogether-safe) alley where we played, inventing endless games for our own amusement and to keep us out of the house when we were told to “go play outside.” “Either stay inside or stay out,” our parents would say back then, when a house was just the small center of a wide circle of neighborhood life.

As far as the eye can see is what it feels like when you’re young and you have a neighborhood to roam.

Kings and queens of vast, suburban realms, we were. Conquering the world on bicycles with training wheels until we didn’t need them anymore.

This is where young Kathy began her brilliant academic career. She was good at spelling, they always said. Maybe they still say it now. Maybe she is a legend.

And it’s strange seeing things you only really knew when you were very young. They look so small, like things in a doll’s house, a city in miniature. Here is the tiny schoolhouse where the children go to learnIf you look closely you can see real books on the tiny bookshelves.

And there are stirrings of things in the back of your mind. Muscle memories awakening, your eyes knowing that here you will see a fire hydrant and here a playground – all those years later, and you never even knew you remembered.

But you did. You remembered. And that’s an important thing to do.

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