This post is part 7 in a 15 week series sponsored by Mommy's Piggy Tales that encourages women to record their youth.
All settled into our new house, just blocks away from our church and school, I became quite social. My parents always allowed me to have friends for sleepovers, but living out in the country put a cramp on the frequency which I desired. Now living right in town allowed me to have friends over after school and on weeknights and even after church. My parents became more social, too. We started having more dinner companions, and even kept missionaries at our house. I might have missed our old house, but I loved our new place.
I remember being able to ride my bike to school. I loved this new freedom! But as my parents began to expect me to ride to school each day, I started to see it as a chore and began to miss the daily drive, even as it only took minutes to get there. My ever over-active imagination pictured a boogie man on every corner and I specifically remember being certain that a stranger was following me to school one morning. When I reported it to my parents, they rolled their eyes and assured me that no one was out to get me, but I wasn't convinced.
Our new house was across the street from a 20-acre park that our church owned and used for sports events for the school. I loved not having houses across from us and I loved being able to walk across the street to soccer and baseball games. There was also a small playground that my friends and I frequented and at the back of the park was a chain link fence that had been cut and a portion pulled back that made a perfect entrance to an overgrown area that bordered an old, abandoned rail road track. We often imagined outlaws lived in that area, and we spent hours exploring and often finding hidden treasures. Once, we actually did see some teenagers drive back there late at night and another car came to meet them. My parents were certain that there was a drug deal going on, so being the responsible neighborhood-watch kind of people that they were, called the police. They showed up, only after the offending vehicles had left and promised us they would patrol the area more heavily. This only heightened my fear that a boogie man was lurking in the shadows.
Around this time my mother started working for a ministry that had their offices at our church. I remember cherishing the ability to see my mom right after school and being able to roam the church halls with my best friend, Stephanie. Steph's dad was the business manager at the church and she spent most afternoons entertaining herself and her brother in the enormous, mostly empty church while she waited for him to be done with work. But before my mom's job change, I wasn't allowed to roam the halls with her, as students weren't typically allowed in the church. So when my mom became employed there, it opened up at least an hour of BFF time with Stephanie as we played in the nursery and snuck around the basement, finding secret passages I never new existed.
My 5th grade year was also the first year that my oldest brother, Kevin, was away at college. Even though we never got along at home, I missed him terribly and looked forward to his visiting on occasional weekends. My 5th grade teacher even commented on my report card that I spent a lot of time talking about my brother. This was a huge shock to my parents and to Kevin, I'm sure, and I'm still not sure what caused me to be so homesick for him, but it definitely marked a change in our relationship.
That period in my life is filled with very pleasant memories. Nothing huge and exciting happened that I can recall, but just positive changes that made my already comfortable life even more easy. God was very good to our family, providing blessings beyond what any of us deserved.