sidewalks of childhood


When i was a child i

lived on city sidewalks;

not literally, of course.

we had a pleasant home

with generous backyard;

but i learned to bike,

play jacks, hopscotch,

and roller-skate

with neighbor kids

on paved pathways.


Sidewalks’ cracked

upheaval just adds

to the adventure…you

must avoid the bumps!

Life lesson learned:

concrete is painfully

unforgiving to bare

knees and elbows

when crash landing

brother’s bike off ramp.


The sidewalk was

a way of opportunity:

waiting at school bus stop,

biking to friend’s house,

riding to corner drugstore

to spend quarter on candy;

walking dog to nearby park,

running for grocery item

or reporting to babysitter

duties around our block.


Sometimes the

city sidewalk scene

turned threatening:

dark shaded, vacant

vine covered manse;

suspicious stranger

beckoning from car

parked in narrow alley,

or snarling doberman

chasing flying pedals.


Our fenced lawn

was a refuge;  our

apple tree, an oasis

in a maze of sidewalks,

brick walls, city streets.

i’m happy for my childhood;

and grateful my own children

live on land rurally graced

with open skies and space

for green, growing things.




15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. purplepeninportland
    Dec 14, 2014 @ 22:28:37

    Sidewalks were the world! Love this, Lyn.
    Thanks for following me.


  2. zongrik
    Dec 11, 2014 @ 02:03:28

    i like the city through a child’s eye

    popsicle on a stick


  3. summerstommy2
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 20:46:51

    Playing jacks, wow that took me back….you capture the magic and pleasure of the city so well Lynn, very vivid depictions. Well done.


  4. Glenn Buttkus
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 15:53:11

    In WA state, the sidewalks always smell of recent rain, or wet leaves, of stubborn weeds. As a kid, in various neighborhoods, we played stickball, baseball, football in the streets, but we did bike, roller skate, & commute on those city sidewalks; nice take on the prompt.


  5. Gabriella
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 13:31:56

    I like what you shared about growing up in the city, Lynn, and how you used the images linked to the sidewalks. I too learned how to bike on a sidewalk.


  6. Mary
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 12:08:31

    I really enjoyed reading this, as it reminded me of some of my childhood experiences as well. I remember biking and playing hopscotch and roller skating on those sidewalks & climbing an apple tree in the field just outside of my backyard. Nice one.


    Dec 10, 2014 @ 07:21:38

    I like your trip down memory street – you childhood sounds idyllic, apart from the snarling doberman and the grazed knees.


  8. Prajakta
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 06:38:51

    Your second paragraph was really good. Simple connections that we can all relate to. A lot goes on in those sidewalks.


  9. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 05:51:05

    There are things to play where only sidewalks will do, there are others where only orchards are right.. Is there a place for both?


  10. Kathy Reed
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 05:25:11

    When I visited my grandparents in Portland, I used to play hopscotch on the sidewalks…thanks for reminding me of some good childhood memories..I can see how it would be to grow up on them. Nice your kids have the opportunity to be freer in the open fields. Some people go back to a like habitat..others don’t want to have anything to do with it, whichever it is. Nice poem


  11. claudia
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 04:57:33

    oy on the doberman… and cool you had your apple tree oasis in all the concrete… where i grew up, there was a lot of concrete as well and we used to play all day on the sidewalks, learning to bike as well – though there was a big grass square between the apartment blocks and that became our refuge and the magic carpet for many, many games for all the many kids that lived there…


  12. Bryan Ens
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 04:04:39

    Sidewalks and green spaces… what more could any child ask for?


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