From the Bronx to Wichita Lineman

I remember the days when Sunday was church day. As kids the ritual would be to get all dressed up for mass and then take a walk at the Botanical Gardens or the Bronx Zoo. It was a break from school and focus on the nature surrounding our community. All of that slipped us by when families in droves exited the city life for the suburbs. Childhood friendships abruptly changed and lost connections became the new norm. It also meant going to public school for the first time and starting high school in the ninth grade at second semester. I remember not having a friend for a year and at a difficult teen age. That period of lack of friendships passed when Cindy invited me to her weekend party house bash. The parents went to Florida leaving trending Cindy to fend for herself. I believe that I was invited only because of my cool clothes that my parents purchased for me. No longer did my school wardrobe have to consist of a plaid skirt, white starched shirt and brown Oxford’s. I remember my mother taking me to Wanamaker’s at the Cross County Shopping Center and the Grand Concourse, Alexander’s. This was a really big event for me. I came home with a pair of brown leather boots, English rider style, orange long woolen skirt that buttoned down the front, a blue, black long skirt, turtle neck sweaters. And of course I did have my landlubber hip hugging denim jeans, striped and black bell bottoms. On my trip back to the Bronx, I met my sister for a shopping day and had purchased a pair of brown suede lace up boots and leather two-tone brown leather platform shoes. So I totally fit in with Cindy’s group that frequented the Bedford Village Green. The kids packed the house and it was overwhelming. A few of us squeezed into the kitchen half bath and this is where I met my best friend in high school, Susan and a boy named Todd. As we talked there was a huge calamity going on outside that bathroom door and kids started evacuating out onto the street. There was a major motorcycle accident and rumor quickly spread that it was a student from school. This party abruptly ended and the house emptied very fast as it had become quickly full. On Sunday, I sat in my small bedroom, looking out the window, gazing at the fall trees and dreamed of my friends at the Bronx, the park hangout and felt as if in a prison. I played on my record player over and over again a favorite Glen Campbell song, Wichita Lineman wondering why we ever left the Bronx.

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