“ Oh, For a Sidewalk!”


I grew up in a “privileged” neighborhood which forbid both stores and sidewalks. I guess they were considered déclassé at the time. I was enchanted with the possibilities of sidewalks when I visited my grandparents in Buffalo, New York. I could go down one to the main street and buy penny candy at a store. I could roller skate. But, best of all, I could take a stick of chalk, draw a hopscotch pattern and play with other kids using just a rock and the sidewalk.

I determined at age eleven that when I was grown I would either live completely in the country surrounded by animals or I would live somewhere with sidewalks. Since I was thirty, I have always lived in houses with sidewalks. I think the real estate broker thought I was a little odd when I insisted at only looking at such houses. She had other priorities, but we wanted walk-ability above all else.

I am amused to see that in the neighboring “privileged” town they are methodically building sidewalks where none existed. Apparently they have begun to value a safer place to walk than on the side of the road. Interestingly, they built bike lanes before they thought of pedestrian traffic. Because they are being developed in a patchwork way, they really don’t function very well yet. But perhaps some time in the future some kid will take a piece of chalk outside, draw a hopscotch pattern, toss a rock, and start hopping. I certainly hope so.


20 thoughts on ““ Oh, For a Sidewalk!”

  1. I wish we had sidewalks too. The pups and take our lives in our hands/paws every time we go for a walk. (And heaven help you if you step on certain lawns!). I envy you your beautiful pedestrian walkways!


  2. We have always lived in a house with sidewalks. I find it a bit irritating that some homeowners don’t maintain the sidewalk. I really makes suburbs look untidy if the sidewalk is dirty, full of weeks and sometimes not mowed either.


  3. Here in the UK we call them pavements and they’re everywhere. Back in the day, us kids used to go out to play in the street in our London borough (East London never was salubrious, but I understand it’s coming up in the world these days). I doubt anyone dares send the kids out to play in the street there now though (parts of it have been known as ‘Murder Mile’ in recent decades.)
    Having said that, I’m now living in a rural area where stretches of the road have no pavement and anyone walking from Pondersbridge to Whittlesey takes their life in their hands. (The same can be said for cyclists.) It certainly doesn’t signify a privileged neighbourhood on this side of the water.


    1. Isn’t it funny how it’s only in the suburb I think where no sidewalks indicate “privilege.” I lived in the country for a while and know what you mean. Just sad about kids being in danger going outside. That is true in some parts of our town too.


    1. They are low class like hanging your laundry out to dry which they also forbid. Now, though, they are allowing chickens because chickens are “in.”(The next town over that is.)


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