Memories Blacktopped

With all of the hubbub around the strange story of an Australian guy passed out on his lawn caught on Google Maps: Street View I thought I would take a journey down memory lane and visit the street where I grew up on Staten Island, New York. What I found, ala Google Street View, was sort-of amazing. Three of the five houses I lived in on Forest Avenue had been blacktopped over for parking lots.. not sure what this place pictured above is.. I think one of those cars is parked on my sandbox.. the other two houses had been razed for new condominiums.

As I traveled this virtual span of about 3 miles or so I was in awe of how few buildings had survived.. our local Methodist church was still there.. it looked like they were making major repairs on PS 22, my elementary school, and it seemed that Edwin Markham Junior High School 51 had expanded.. other than those few landmarks I did recognize just a few houses - my friend Tommy's house was one of the few still standing.

Isn't it interesting how time flies and yet seems to stand still? I have vivid memories of my backyard.. it was wooded back then.. I remember taking walks with my dog Shep on those sidewalks.. sidewalks that I shoveled snow from in the winter.. and of course hours upon hours of memories playing all manner of street sports on the side streets.. which by the way are now through streets and not dead-end ones.

I enjoyed the visit even though it saddened me to see all of the blacktop. Guess Thomas Wolfe was right when he said "You can't go home again".

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