Franklin Avenue Terrace

Two story white shingled buildings –
six apartments side by side.

Rejected families like an orphan left to fend for himself
learn to survive here.

The clothesline ran from the top of the kitchen window to the
pole at the end of the small patch of yard.

Management painted the clothesline pole –
silver every summer to cover the rust.

Judy and I raced to see who could get to the top first, when we heard the ice cream truck-
never on a hot summer day.

White paned windows with crank handles open on either
end and a latch lock on the inside. Window screens did not

keep flies out. A cement parking lot area between
buildings; grass and sidewalks to the front doors on the other side.

The playground with cement pool, swings,
picnic tables are three blocks away.

Children played in the lot, with old clothesline for jump ropes,
stones or glass used to make hopscotch.

At the end of the lot stood a streetlight like a siren
used to call children home before dark.

The streetlight was the home base when playing “kick the can” or “hide and seek”
like a guard tower in a prison camp.

That was 1965. Today the buildings are no longer white shingled.
Updated windows with shutters of brown and tan siding.

The silver poll used for a clothesline gone
street light replaced with shorter street lamps.

Broken down cars litter the cement parking lot like a junk yard,
children stay inside away from the crime.

The air is thick with fumes of wasted lives.
Police patrol the neighborhood like high school kids cruising their favorite strip.

Unfamiliar faces escorted out.
A rod-iron fence creates illusion of a gated community.

Warning; “Franklin Avenue Terrace –
No Trespassing – Enter At Your Own Risk.”

The spirit of my childhood ring in my ears, and the skeletons
of my past march across my mind like a Thanksgiving Day Parade.


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