The way that I describe my hometown to friends and colleagues who come from the range of highly populated urban cities to barely even having a town rural areas, is that where I am from is a super suburb. I live in a house along a row of houses amidst rows upon rows of houses. We have a quaint downtown with restaurants and boutiques, while the drive to the big city is only 20 minutes and you could say the same to get to any rural area too. Near my house are several parks as well as the town’s sole middle school.
Yet there are aspects to my environment that have changed since I was young and growing up. On my mind are mainly two. The first is the park by me. Behind my house is another row of houses and in front of those houses is a street and across that street is a huge park. This park includes multiple play structures, tennis courts, dog park equipment, a miniature “forest” (really just a large span of field and trees), and a field in which there is a large dip as if a natural pool. When my brother was young this dip was used during the winter as a skating rink where the local fire department would fill it with water and let it freeze over for people to enjoy but those days were long gone by the time I could have enjoyed it. You are also no longer to use it as a dog park, but the stuff is still there. Anyway. Since it is so close to my house we used to be able to see it from the back room windows. Then the little house behind it was torn down, which gave us an even better view to my mom’s delight who loved being able to check up on us from the kitchen if we were there, but shortly after the destruction a newer, bigger house was built. So big, in fact, that our view was obscured completely. My mom was not happy about this change. I wasn’t either. The new house isn’t even beautiful or adding anything to the neighborhood. It is a modern development with a higher class family and a small yippy dog.
The second change to my environment is again related to modern homes being built. When I was growing up our elementary school was a few short blocks away that we could easily walk or scooter over. After completing fourth grade, however, they tore it down. I was forced to abandon my small scale homey school I’d known my entire life and transfer to an elementary school we had to drive to and be submerged with my class as well as a whole other class from another school being torn down. Not only this, but after tearing down my school all that has replaced it has been more ugly, modern looking houses that add nothing to the old beauty of the neighborhood. This school was like home to many, and not only did it provide that small school safety, but it was also home to two playgrounds and a large span of grassy field and trees galore. Now all of that has been run and paved over. All that stands in the space where my childhood lies now are houses, driveways, and loss.