Sketching your neighborhood map and labeling or placing speech bubbles in certain places can help a writer find many topics to explore. Neighborhood maps can include maps of your backyard, the school playground, your grandma’s kitchen, or a favorite vacation spot like the beach. Here is a story from my childhood neighborhood in Philadelphia.
I spent most Tuesdays and Thursdays attending Hebrew School at the Jewish Community Center across from my elementary school. On Fridays, I attended evening services. Most of the time, my father picked me up during the winter months when it grew dark and cold quite early.
One December evening, I stood and waited for a small eternity. These were the days before cell phones, so I couldn’t even call my mom to let her know that Dad had not appeared. I trotted to Thouron Avenue to peer down the main street in both directions. Nothing. Then I trotted back again to the side entrance of the synagogue. I grew cold and frightened as I realized Dad was not coming. He had forgotten me.
I took off down Gilbert Street, shivering at the strange shadows and the sounds of barking dogs. The side street was dark and unfriendly. Mt. Airy was a Jewish neighborhood, so the houses did not shine with the twinkling lights of the Christmas holiday that was fast approaching. I was panting loudly as I continued to jog across Durham Street without stopping to look for cars. I sprinted down my street, up the steps, and onto the stoop of our house. When Mom opened the door, I rushed into her arms, sniffling and sobbing. I could hardly speak, but I was safe at home.