The Empty Lot

 

Photo Copyright: Dale Rogerson

Here we are again and this week we’re gathered on an empty activity field. We’ve come together to discuss our original stories for the week. This is the Friday Fictioneer’s group. Our hostess for the gathering is the talented and gracious author and artist, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. The challenge for each of us this week and every week is to write a story with no more than 100 words, not counting the title. It’s supposed to have a beginning, middle, end, and be inspired by the picture prompt for the week. This week’s prompt was provided by Dale Rogerson. Thanks, Dale. To read the other stories by group members, just click on the link below, then on the smiling frog. Next, follow the given direction.

4 October 2019

Genre: Memoir

Word Count: 100 Words

The Empty Lot by P.S. Joshi

 

I had a vacation coming, so decided to take a trip back and see the old neighborhood where I was born.

The house looked much the same with a few changes to the front porch and yard. The neighborhood arrangement, however, was very different.

After WWII, a bunch of small GI homes had been stuck in all available spaces.

The street past our house, no longer a dead-end, was now blacktopped and extended to meet the road below.
The empty lot for baseball down there was gone. An expressway cut through.

My memories were just that, not reality any longer.

62 thoughts on “The Empty Lot

  1. Dear Suzanne,

    The longer we live the more it’s like that. We live minutes from the neighborhood I grew up in. My grade school was torn down long ago and replaced by a tall office building. Freeways inhabit the land where farms I remember used to be.
    You told a poignant story and told it well.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Rochelle. It seemed most began to change just after WWII about 1947-1950. Things probably came to a standstill during the depression of the 1930s and continued during the war. Then a building boom took place and after it the baby boom. The school I started Kindergarten in is no longer a school and the Catholic school where I went to 3rd grade is no longer a school. I think the baby boom changed that. New and larger schools were built. The baby boom was a bit behind my class as we began Kindergarten in 1946. The high school where I graduated is now a middle school. Suburbs being built out there changed that. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In our heads places never change from when we last saw them like a time capsule. It’s quite emotional to back and be confronted with the changes. Everything changes with time, even our perception.

    Well done…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tannille. You’re right. What shocked me the most was finding out from a classmate about ten years ago how many in my high school class were no longer alive. I heard one man older than myself said there weren’t enough people left from his class to play a game of cards. You begin to wonder how many years you’ll outlive them. That may be morbid but it’s true. My son assures me I’m immortal and will live forever. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s rather head messing but understandable. Brings death closer to home. Doesn’t help that like places, people don’t change in our heads we see them like the last time we saw them.

        Haha your son is awesome!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Keith. It might be better not to go back but how many can resist. I’m a realist so it’s especially hard for me. I’m glad you liked the story. The last time I went back was to the neighborhood was to show my children where I was born and spent the next nine years of my life. We also stopped in to visit with an old neighbor who still lived there at the time. The last time I even went back to the city was for my mother’s funeral in the mid-1990s. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is sad, sometimes, to see the changes happening to your hometown. The way the places you loved to play as a child are now gone, replaced with ugly buildings, roads, warehouses, etc. And…. they call it progress. so sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bear. I know. Sometimes what is called progress is questionable. Where I lived things were just left undone until after WWII. The dead-end of our street looked like the workmen had just stopped one day and left it unfinished. By the time we moved in 1950 the expressway was being cut through as if being continued. My neighborhood was fortunate in that some neighborhoods in the direct path were bought by the city using eminent domain and everyone there had to move. —- Suzanne

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      • I lost all 96 acres of my farmland in south east Kentucky to “eminent domain”. Grrr…. It was my only inheritance that no one could steal from me…except the State, of course. Now, they’ve decimated the forest, rerouted the river, and built a multi-lane highway through what was my beautiful log home. Very very angry, still.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s truly a shame, Bear. Look at what builders have done to Mumbai, India. It was a series of islands. They filled in and filled in and filled in until there was no place for much of the water to run off. It now floods almost every year. People wade around in waist-deep dirty water. 😦 — Suzanne

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve heard that about Mumbai. Sorry, not sorry for them, after all, if you build on sand or in the floodplain, then you haven’t used much wisdom in building… they have to deal with the consequences.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry for the people who have to live there in Mumbai, not for the builders. It was greed for the builders. The people have to live in what’s provided for them. They move to big cities looking for work. There’s a problem finding jobs here. —- Suzanne

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lore’. Yes, in the U.S. there hasn’t been a great appreciation of the old. Also, in some areas are “gentrified” and the people living there are priced out by people with more money buying flats in the remodeled buildings. —- Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Reena. I think most of us have seen a change where we live or have lived. The buildings on our street here in Pune are being torn down and “redeveloped” one at a time. The Society where I own a flat is going to undergo this soon and I’m going to benefit in a way as the new building will have one or two lifts. I’m going to have to move twice though and I don’t look forward to that one bit. —- Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Iain. Most of the people I knew have now moved on to Eternity and the buildings torn down or used for different purposes. Their likenesses are just pictures in old photos. I still enjoy looking at them and writing about them though. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sandra. I have a friend who has traveled back often to that city but I have no one still living there I’ve kept in close contact with now. I’m way over here in India and traveling is hard for me. I haven’t lived close to there since 1982. I’m glad you liked the story. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

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    • Thanks, C.E. I enjoy remembering but don’t live in the past. I couldn’t afford to. My children and work kept me up-to-date. I still don’t have a smartphone but may be forced to buy one. Living in the past is a luxury and I have to limit my memory time. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

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  4. Oh, you nailed it! I remember going back to an old neighborhood and, although the houses were still there, they all looked so small. Many trees had died. Only older people were out walking or sweeping their porch steps. The corner grocery store was boarded up. It just made me sad. Life goes on without us, for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Linda. Probably many younger people have either moved away to seek jobs or don’t live with parents and can’t afford homes of their own or to help out in the upkeep of the older homes. I suppose the trees that died are ones that have succumbed to diseases that have killed off certain types of trees like elms and buckeyes, and chestnuts. That is sad. —- Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, KZ. With me, the only house I’ve ever felt homesick about was the one where I was born. There were so many memories of all kinds associated with it and the childhood friends from that neighborhood. I’ve still stayed in contact with a couple of them. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

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  5. It can be difficult, to go back. It can also be important.
    I’ve seen a place of my childhood this past April – hadn’t seen it for at least thirty years. Some of it was uncannily unchanged. So much so that I had to do a double take. Some has, of course, been rearranged.
    It is a mix, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Plaridel. That’s certainly right. Little stays the same. I enjoy my memories and old pictures but can’t afford to spend a lot of time with them. I’m responsible for keeping up with things as I own property and employ people to help me. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Nostalgia has a strong rope, doesn’t it? My first home is just down the street… I can drive by it any time and see the little modifications that happen. None too drastic However, the surrounding area? Holy moly! That has changed!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dale. The last time I checked a real estate site online I didn’t notice big changes in the house where I was born but I know the neighborhood has grown and expanded with small newer homes built in most of the empty spaces and along a lengthened street. Nearby below an addition of the expressway was cut through. I haven’t even lived in that state since 1982. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ali. The last two times I went back was first to show our children where I was born and grew up, and then for my mother’s funeral. She’d been living with and near us and we took her ashes back to be buried next to my father. That was in the mid-1990s and the last trip back we took. —- Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Penny. I miss it the way it was but accept it’s changed. Including me, there were six girls who were friends from that neighborhood. There were older brothers but no boys our age. I still keep in touch with two of the other girls. I don’t feel grieved just nostalgic. One of us died of cancer in her early twenties. —- Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Andrea. That’s true. It’s especially important to write down names, especially family names before they escape us. I have some difficulty these days remembering the previous last names of relatives through marriage. I try to label photos and a family tree I have. I made the mistake of thinking I’d never forget. —- Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Time will do that. Sometimes, you don’t even have to wait long. I’ve lived here for about five years. The hilly field where I used to walk my dog at the end of the culdesac has been replaced by a new neighborhood. Just around the corner from that are three or four new culdesacs with more going up next to them. It makes me feel like your story. “When we first moved here…” It’s been five years. This house is only 10-15 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nobbin. I’m a reader of Agatha Christie. Even the little village where her character Miss Marple lived changed when new neighborhoods were added. The whole world is constantly changing. We notice it most when it’s where we live. πŸ™‚ — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

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