Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Hinsdale Move

Len Klein
March 9, 2001

I felt sort of weird and bewildered as I watched everything we had been living with in our single bedroom, carried out of the apartment, down two flights of stairs, and out into a moving van. For as long as I could remember we had lived in that room, in the apartment we shared with Uncle Jack and Aunt Beatty. The Hinsdale Street apartment had four rooms in all, with the two bedrooms off the living room. It never seemed crowded to me, but Mom and Dad said that it was and that we needed more space. Of course, there was the baby. I have only vague memories of my mother coming home from the hospital with my new little brother, Arnie. We barely had room for him, so I guess we did have to move.

As the moving van pulled away, we were seated high up in the cab of the truck and I saw Heshy on the street. I felt so good to be free of him. Heshy had been my only friend and my arch enemy since the first time I was allowed to play outside. Sometimes we’d play nicely together and sometimes he’d start pushing and hitting me. I don’t recall hitting him back, and that may have been part of the continuing problem I had with him. Anyway, I really got to hate him, so when I saw him standing all alone by the curb as we left, I felt great and very relieved.

Riding in the cab of the van was a new and exciting experience all by itself; to be up so high and moving through strange streets, past kids I never met, and stores I never went into, filled me with wonder. The world was getting much bigger than it had been. Finally, we came to a house on Bristol Street, across from a very pebbly park, where we stopped and started to unload. Everything had to be hand carried up three flights to our new apartment. The moving man and my father were so big and strong and they knew just how to carry all the furniture up the stairs. I was very impressed.

After we settled in, my mother took me to the new school, one-seventy-five, to register me for Kindergarten, which I had not been able to complete at the Hinsdale Street school. Going to a strange new place was a little scary at first, but I think I got over it. Kindergarten in one-seventy-five was very different than it had been in my first school. There was no flag carrying, and no circle around the flag; I do remember that we would stand by our desks and recite the pledge of allegiance from there. My first thought was, “They don’t even know how to do it!” But, gradually I got the idea that this was just another way; there was also drawing and coloring, and walking single file around the room. The girls… well they just were not as interesting as the memory of the girl who carried the flag in my very first school experience.

On my new block I found immediately three new friends, Danny, Davie, and Lenny, and my play world expanded wonderfully. It was an exciting time and every day was three days long. There was time to go to school, time to play outside, and time to play in the house, and the boundaries for each set of activities were marked by meals and sleep. It was a good time.

398 Hinsdale Street
243 Bristol Street

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