I was doing some yardwork here at the Manse the other evening when a sound that brought back happy memories of long ago came skipping through the dusky stillness. It was the sound of children playing.
The children were up at the Queensborough Community Centre, our village’s former one-room schoolhouse, where there is a swing set on the grounds. It’s just uphill from the Manse, so the echoes of the kids’ shouts and laughter carried very clearly. It sounded like there were four or five of them, and they were obviously having a great time. And I was thrilled to hear them.
Because much as I love being back in Queensborough – the pretty little hamlet where I grew up – one thing I dearly miss from those growing-up years is the presence of a lot of kids. When my siblings Melanie, John and Ken and I were growing up here, way back in the 1960s and ‘70s, there were lots of kids living in Queensborough. We were never short of friends to play tag or hide and seek or softball with, to join in on a game of Monopoly or Sorry or Stock Ticker on rainy afternoons, to ride bikes with or go pop-bottle picking. And with all those kids around – the Baumhours, the Lalondes, the Parkses, the Gordons, the Whites, the Goughs, the Walkers, the Lewises, the Letendres, the Ramsays, the Canniffs, the Barciers, and so on and so on (including the Sedgwicks), our little village was pretty much always full of the sounds of kids at play.
I missed that when Raymond and I bought the Manse and started spending time here. Yes, there are some great young people around Queensborough, but many of them live on the outskirts rather than in the village itself; and also, many of them are of high-school age or older. In other words, less likely to be raucously playing outside together on an autumn evening.
But in a lovely bit of serendipity, two families with three fairly young children each have moved into houses in “downtown” Queensborough just within the last three weeks or so. I am reliably informed (by the kids, some whom I was thrilled to meet on Halloween) that the families hadn’t known each other before they moved here, but the two sets of kids seem to have hit it off smashingly. And so one hears them a lot as they explore the village and play games and just generally hang out and have fun together.
It reminds me so much of the happy old days of my childhood here. It is music to my ears.