From My Neighborhood Map

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.

neighborhood-map

8 thoughts on “From My Neighborhood Map

  1. Great small moment! I love that you ended the story just at the moment when you entered. I have been trying to convince my students that small moments do not need to continue until you go to bed. It must have been so scary!

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  2. We did this in class yesterday, although I gave the kids options. Some chose their neighborhood, some their house. One girl chose her trash can! She had more stories in there than I thought was possible.

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  3. A lot of nostalgia in your writing, Lynne. Being mindful can also be a key factor to increase creativity . Past, present and future. Experiences and vision come always together. Experimentation beyond scripts and safe happy path makes our lives much more interesting.

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