Monday, May 15, 2006

Neighbor Pal

I lived next door to Mark from the time he was born until he was about ten. Even though my family moved away, I still got updates on the happenings in his life from his mom to mine. Almost every memory I have as a child involves Mark and Kristen. I can remember trying to catch fireflies at night in a field next to our houses, swimming in their pool on hot summer days, eating pop sickles on the front steps scheming up our next great adventure. When we were supposed to be raking up leaves, we would build leaf forts and play for hours.

Halloween was one of our favorite "holidays". Our costumes were usually made from things we found in our attics and always required a lot of imagination! It took us forever to make it to all of the maybe 15 houses on our street since the houses were so far apart. The biggest part of the night would be to see who was brave enough to go up to the "spook house" (an old abandoned house). We were sure there were ghosts living there.

July 4th was also a favorite holiday. We would light sparklers and bottle rockets in the Greenwoods driveway, then go down to Saybrook Plaza for the big fireworks. Bruce would lift us kids up on top of the van so we would have a clear view.

We spent most of our summer days exploring the creek behind Mark's house on Munson Hill road. We would try to catch little crayfish and water spiders. Usually the killer mosquitos chased us up the hill before we could catch anything. One summer night we decided to camp out in the side yard like we had done so many times before. This time it was just me and Mark. I'm not sure where Kristen and LeeAnn(my sister) were this time. We set the tent up, got our sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, flashlights, some snacks, and a few games to play. Once it got dark we swore we heard a bear outside our tent! When we finally got brave enough to look, it was just Teako (sp?) the dog! Some time during the night it started to rain really hard. The tent started to sag almost to our faces, probably because we forgot a stake or two. Water also started seeping in the bottom of the tent. We must have set the tent in a low spot. At this point we made a mad dash the entire 30 feet to the enclosed porch next to the garage where we spent the rest of the night.

Winters were spent sledding down the hill hoping we didn't land in the creek, iceskating at on old pond behind our house, building snowmen, and one time we even tried to build an igloo!

The things I remember most about Mark are his sense of adventure and huge imagination. Tom Sawyer definitely comes to mind when I think of Mark's childhood. To Mark I say thank you for sharing your adventures and dreams with me ( and for sharing your toys! You always had the coolest toys). We could not have had a more perfect childhood. Memories of Mark will always stay with me when I think back to the great times we had on Munson Hill road.


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