(I get all these images from:)
Here are two important routes in my neighborhood:
1 - This route, in yellow, traces the path of what I will now call the Country Village Lane Classic, a kid-organized bike race of almost all the neighborhood kids. It seemed chaotic to me, so I chose not to participate as a racer, and served instead as lookout going into the final turn. There must have been 15-20 kids racing, and everyone seemed to come back in one piece. I don't recall who won, but I always remember it as one of those great neighborhood events.
2 - This route traces yet another one of our money-making schemes. We started out with a whole crowd of local kids, including Larry, Chris and myself, to make some money washing cars. The idea was that we would split among us all the money we made (imagine splitting $2 among about 8 kids). The further we went on our clockwise route, the fewer boys continued. Washing cars, we discovered, wasn't the easiest way to make money. It was hard, tiring work, and by the time we approached the final turn onto Country Village Lane, a revolt was afoot. As we washed our final car, we were only 3 wet and annoyed kids, ready to go home, and really not that much richer, either. Like the lemonade stand effort I've mentioned in a previous blog, our dreams of big money hadn't yet materialized.
Here's an important neighborhood route: to the toy store! We'd start out on our bike from my house (1) on the long adventure to our little neighborhood toy store (2, somewhere in this strip mall), where I bought most of my rubber-band powered gliders, candy, and assorted small toys. At 9 or 10, this was an expedition, and a pretty cool trip for my friends and I. The store was crammed to the ceiling with games and models, and we would spend every visit scouring the 2 or 3 aisles and building up wish lists in our heads to keep at the ready the next time we were in the vicinity with our parents. There's a lot of plotting that goes on in making sure you know what toys you want and how to let the world (your parents) know it. Kids aren't as impulsive as parents think. They scheme.