One of the reasons my grandparent’s house was so close to the neighbors is because they didn’t have a driveway. I vaguely remember my Aunt Marge living right next to them and they parked their car on the grass in front of the house rather than park on the street.
The house I grew up in had a driveway of sorts. It was two rows of concrete wide enough for the wheels with a strip of grass in the middle. There was room next to it for a wider strip of grass and a smaller sidewalk that connected from the sidewalk in the front of the house all the way to the back door.
The car never got parked farther than the back door. My step-father was building a fiberglass boat and it sat on it’s trailer in the yard for years. I don’t remember if or when it ever saw water but it was a fixture in the yard and sat on the solid concrete in front of the unused garage.
Since I cut the grass (with a push mower) that yard always seemed immense to me. I know now that it was a perspective thing. After all, I was a lot smaller at the time and everything looked bigger. The house seemed big, but it wasn’t. The rooms were actually tiny compared to what we live in today.
I loved to play catch, but had no one to play catch with. When I visited my grandparents there was a building to throw at, but at home I used my imagination to create someone to throw the ball to me. I would position myself in front of the house opposite ours (on THEIR grass strip) and throw my rubber ball up and onto the roof so it would come back to me on an angle and I would have to make a saving catch before it crashed into the neighbor’s house behind me.
Two older Polish ladies lived in that house and didn’t seem very bothered when I missed that spectacular catch and it banged into the siding. I never broke any windows, but I hit that house a lot. I also lost a few balls in their gutter due to errant throws.
But I was playing complete games in my head. I threw the ball up there so many times I had the angles figured out pretty well. Occasionally, I would throw it over the roof and it landed somewhere in the next neighbors yard. There was some old guy living there who never cut his grass, so finding the ball was always a challenge, but I usually did and went right back to the game.
Was I bored as a child? I suppose so, but I was literally told to “go outside and play” and not allowed in the house. I had to come up with ways to amuse myself. Eventually, I would make real friends and discover the magic of the school yard. My days of playing catch with the roof was over. That roof never complained and was never too busy to play. Now that I think about it, that roof was a pretty good friend and I’m thankful for all the days it took the time to provide me with one amazing imaginary catch after another.