Monday, January 11, 2010

My love story part II

Strange that a small neighborhood of log cabins and beaches, connected by
dirt roads and trails felt more like a community
than "Monticello Estates" or 'The Reserve" ever did.

Before I continue, I should also explain the parallel environment that I spent my childhood in when I wasn't in Flint. Like many Michigan families, we had a cabin "up north" that we would visit from time to time. However, unlike most Michigan families, the kids in my family would spend every day of their summer at the family cottage. From the day after school got out in June, to the day before it started again in August, I would be on the lake in Saint Helen, Michigan. This place was so very different from both downtown Flint, and Swartz Creek. I could walk or bike wherever I wanted to go, I knew everyone in the neighborhood, and I never felt unsafe. It felt more like a community than any subdivision with some cute name back home.
Again, at the time, I really had no idea why I felt this way, strip malls, parking lots, office parks, and vehicular transportation seemed like the normal way to live. I knew they were aesthetically awful but I also didn't understand the effect that had on the way I felt when I was there. In my mind, my little woodsy neighborhood in Saint Helen was very much the exception and not the rule. Once the school year started back up again, we would trek back down to Genesee county and back to the other way of life. I would spend my free time playing simcity and only seeing my neighbors when we both happened to be getting the mail at the same time.
But what did I care if the planners didn't even bother putting sidewalks into my township? I had just passed my driving test and I was about to get a car! The ability to drive drastically changed my outlook. I was able to explore further and further away from my house, and for the first time South of Saint Helen, I
felt like I had some independence.

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