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King of the Street: A Story From My Childhood Road

Since the world has been under quarantine because of COVID-19, I’ve been struggling with finding productive things to do. Honestly, the past few days have been filled with long hours of sleep, Netflix, and coffee made from my Chemex. The first couple of days left me filled with emotions knowing I wouldn’t see my friends walk at graduation, knowing I wouldn’t work at the coffee shop I so dearly love, and the unknown of what will happen due to the virus. For the moment, I’m choosing to write a reflection on my childhood, specifically about the street I grew up on.


Yesterday I went on a walk up and down my street, something I haven’t done in years. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and all I could smell was fresh-cut grass and flowers, a sign that spring has sprung. As I was walking, all I could think about were the abundance of memories I have walking on my street. From late night ding-dong ditching, to hour-long phone conversations with ex-girlfriends, my street has seen it all.


The very first memory I have of walking on my street happened when I was around eight years old. My very good friend Andrew lived a few houses down, so I used to walk to his house regularly to hang out. We would walk up and down, for days on end, finding adventure in our neighbor’s backyards (sometimes without them knowing). I distinctly remember one day when my parents said we could walk to the gas station not too far away, but it required walking on the edge of the highway to get there. This was a monumental step in both of our childhoods. This day marked a step up in maturity, and from there on out we spent years walking and eventually riding our bikes to the gas station. Whenever I would have friends come over, walking to the gas station was like showing them an extension of my home. It was my gas station, and I treasured it whole-heartedly.


The unmentioned car wash attached to the gas station. It was the best place to ride your bike under.

Once Andrew and I got a little older, we started to explore neighborhoods beyond the gas station. It was almost as if each year we got older, we would go farther and farther beyond our neighborhood, eventually riding our bikes all over the area, even into another parish. We even started a little “gang”, just consisting of us two, and claimed the whole area as our own.


Probably my favorite memory involving my street has to be when one night, as I was lying in bed watching a clip of the Ellen show on my phone, I was suddenly disturbed when I hear a group of singing men outside my window. I immediately rolled out of bed, covered myself up (because I was nude), and ran to the other window to see who it was. Turns out, it was Andrew and his older brother with two other friends, one of whom was playing guitar. I quickly put some clothes on, ran outside, and met up with them. While we were laughing about the situation, we had the brilliant idea to go to other neighbor’s houses and do the same, only this time, we didn’t really know them well enough for it to be funny to them, but of course to us, it was comedy gold. So, off we went to the first house, the one right next to mine. We started singing at their front door, but I guess we weren’t loud enough, so I just decided to ring their doorbell and then ran off into the bushes. Of course, the older gentleman comes out super mad and went back inside. We thought it was hilarious, so what did we do? We hit seven more houses on down the line, not thinking that we had to walk back towards the houses we hit previously once we were finished. On the sixth house, we rang the bell, nothing happened, and then a blood curdling scream came from my friend’s older brother. We rush towards him, only to find him lying on the ground with a man standing over him with a pistol in hand. The man laughs, says “Bet y’all won’t do that again huh?” and we apologize and walk away.


The infamous street the day I went for a walk.

Well, you would think we would’ve stopped there, right? Wrong. We idiots weren’t done and decided to hit one more house. Only, when we ran away after I rang the bell, a red mustang pulls out of that house’s driveway, coming right towards us. All of us ran, besides my friend’s older brother, and we make it to my friend’s house where we sought refuge in the backyard. While we were running away, I kept yelling after my friend’s brother to hurry up, but I guess he just felt defeated. Eventually we see the car catch up to him, stop, and we could see they were having a conversation. This is really when the panic set in. After what seemed like forever, he comes back and tells us all about it. He first looks at me, clearly upset, and tells me he told them his name was Johnathan Cleghorn, where he (I) lived, and that it was all his (my) fault. I immediately start freaking out, telling him how mad I was, and then he precedes to tell me he was just joking, that he actually just told the man in the car that it was all of us, and that he was sorry. I felt relieved and headed back home feeling accomplished knowing that this would never come back to bite me. Well… I was wrong.


Once I came home, I went to bed, finished watching Ellen on my phone, when suddenly someone comes banging on my door. I threw my phone on the ground, pretended to be asleep, when my dad comes barging in and said, “Did you have fun ringing bells son?” I got up, acting as though I had been asleep, when my father begins to explain that we had gotten a call from multiple neighbors, saying they heard it was me that caused all the trouble. I got up, knowing that my friend’s brother really had told the guy in the car that his name was Johnathan Cleghorn. I called him after getting a hefty lecture and being grounded and asked him what he really said. “Hello? … Oh, yeah… Sorry dude.”


If my memory serves me well, that was the last time I ever ding-dong ditched, at least on my road.


Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already, check out my other posts! Maybe this quarantine will inspire me to write more, but who knows. Feel free to comment on this, I’d love to chat!


JC

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Well... did you have fun ringing bells, son?

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