Sometimes the past meets the present. And although I hadn’t planned it that way, that’s what has happened. The condo I am renting now is in the same neighborhood my family first moved to in South Portland when I was 5.

Suddenly, childhood memories have come back to me, places look familiar and old photographs mean something.

Walking by Henley School, now condos, I can visualize the swingset out front. Just recently my former classmate Karen (Peterson) Green and I pored over some elementary school pictures.

One was of my second-grade class posed in front of the school door. Among those in the class were Janine Pettengill, who was a neighbor of mine on Harriet Street; Kerrie Malcolm, whose father used to take us to dance lessons at the Three Arts Studio in Portland; Connie Colello, who lived on Kittredge Street; and Kathy Dailey, who, if I recall correctly, lived in one of the Coast Guard houses.

Near Henley was our first-floor apartment on Harriet Street, where we lived for three years. When I drive by, I look at the front door, and I recall so vividly the day Sylvia Hodgkins, head cheerleader at South Portland High School, picked me up to take me to my first practice as the cheerleader mascot for my father’s football team.

I glance at a picture of my younger sister and me, in dresses made by my mother, standing on the lawn on the first day of school.

One day I stopped by, and the tenant graciously let me look at the inside of our old apartment. There was the hallway where my cousin Dickie, a salesman for Humpty Dumpty, slept overnight on a cot when he was on the road. The kitchen I remember for its ’50s table and chairs. And that it was the place where Tom Dugan, a friend of my father’s and a salesman as well, once left me a copy of “Alice in Wonderland” as a present.

I briefly walked through the dining room, where my sister and I, in identical fancy dresses, posed on the radiator for a newspaper photo at Christmas.

And I can see in the living room the TV in the corner where I watched “The Dave Astor Show,” featuring some of my father’s football players lip syncing to popular songs.

On the side lawn would be our Maine coon cat Joe, who was once mistaken for a lion by a young passer-by!

Now from my condo window, as I see parents walking their children to school, I can picture my mother walking my sister across Broadway on her way up the hill to Roosevelt School.

I remember the walk to catechism classes down Broadway to Holy Cross School, where I’m pictured in front of the door in my Confirmation robe. Now I notice the kids on the playground.

I like how the past meets the present. But will my present become my future? I’m not sure yet.

 


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