A tough commute home this morning. There was much traffic, and all of it was wet. I do not love city driving, and I dread it in snow and rain. There was also a great clot of cars stuck behind a school bus out here in Bellevue. We sat behind the bus for ten minutes as stragglers from the apartment these children lived in raced down the hill and stood in line in the rain. By the time the bus turned off its red warning lights, at least two dozen kids were on board. From one bank of hillside apartments.
I remember when children lived in houses with yards. I did. My father had his vegetable garden, as did our neighbors, whose Polish grandmother grew corn and squash. My neighborhood gang roamed the woods and the swamps. There were children everywhere, the girls competing to see who had the most colorful tights, and everyone playing with their Hula Hoops. This was the Fifties, a happy time to be a child. In my bedroom in our old salt box house someone had stenciled stars and moons on the ceiling. I kept turtles in a pen in our back yard.
How sad to see all these children with no back yard. Where did their houses go? Back to the bank? Or perhaps they never have lived in a house. They get to play in the apartment parking lot while their father tries to find a new job. Their mother works as a waitress at the Cracker Barrel. I do not see the optimism of the Fifties. We are all living on fiscal ice only an inch thick.
And lest anyone think this was just one apartment , I drove past another as I turned onto my street. And there they were again. More kids, their mothers with umbrellas, the kids with their backpacks.
The kids without a yard.