Recently my younger daughter turned 13. As the kids get older, I remember more of my younger days–what I was doing, thinking, feeling at the ages my girls are now. Siena and Erin are growing up in a neighborhood similar to my old neighborhood in St Louis–do you think that’s why I chose Brookside as my home?
Growing up in University City, the homes were older ,the lots smaller, street corners sprinkled with locally owned stores. My siblings and I walked to and from school. We walked to the park–where we would just sit and talk, flirted with boys and hide in the bushes. On weekends we would walk a mile or so to “the Loop” on Delmar, where we would buy (vinyl) records at Streetside, stop in the ‘head shop’ and have a lunch of french fries with a hot fudge sundae at Dairy Queen. The Loop is still a thriving area in U City–the head shop, record store and DQ are long gone. Sometimes we would walk to Clayton and shop at Famous Barr–that building now an annex of Washington University. We felt safe, free, trusted by our parents–to be responsible and act properly in the shops as we were crusing the neighborhood.
Seems to be the same with my girls. When school gets out early–Siena and her friends meet in Brookside on 63rd Street. They shop at Beauty Express, browse through Stuff, eat at Jalepeno’s and buy smoothies at the Roasterie Cafe. They meet up with the boys…although somehow my daughter never says the boys will be there. They walk to the park and hang out, sometimes they ride bikes. Surely they are doing the same things I did at that age, in the same environment…with cell phones so they can check in. The circle of life.
Yes I do worry somewhat about the kids getting hit by a car, not using the crosswalks, someone offering them drugs or cigarettes. But at this age they must learn, on their own, to be aware and handle various situations alone–like I did. I want them to be self-reliant and alert, watching for traffic, for suspicious persons — and act accordingly. Our family loves the walkability of Brookside and that’s one aspect that makes this area so special.
And when my girls are adults, searching for a home, where will they want to live? I hope it’s in a neighborhood just like the one they grew up in.
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